Woman with eyes closed

Tips to shrink large pores

Two of the most persistent and difficult skin problems to treat are blackheads and enlarged pores. Most skincare products or treatments do provide a temporary improvement, but they only make your skin problems worse in the long run. Here you can read some tips on how to treat blackheads and enlarged pores effectively and with a lasting result.

What causes enlarged pores?

When your sebaceous glands produce excessive sebum that mixes with the dead skin cells in your pores, your pores can become blocked. The sebum cannot discharge freely from the pores, resulting in your pores becoming wider and more clearly visible. This can also cause blackheads.

What you should and should not do

  • Stop using skincare products that block your pores or that make your skin produce excessive sebum, such as oily creams with a very creamy texture (on an oily skin) or makeup products containing dehydrating and irritating ingredients, such as alcohol and fragrances.
  • Only use mild, water-soluble facial cleansers and never use solid bars of soap. The ingredients used to give soap its solid form can block pores and unbalance the skin’s protective barrier.
  • Use an exfoliant with salicylic acid (BHA) in gel, liquid or lotion form, without any irritating ingredients. It will enable you to remove excess skin cells from the surface of the skin as well as in the pores. Sebum can then no longer accumulate and the pore will return to its normal size.
  • Absorb the excess sebum. Clay face masks absorb sebum and have a positive effect. Also try an oil-absorbing product to wear with your makeup, such as Paula’s Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish with Microsponge Technology. This will absorb any excessive sebum throughout the day.
  • Improving your cell rejuvenation will also make your pores function better. Products – some of which require a prescription – containing cell-communicating retinoids or retinol (=vitamin A) work well. They exist for every skin type and can be used separately or in combination with a BHA exfoliant.
  • Use products that are rich in antioxidants, for example one of our serums, to help your skin protect itself from harmful outside influences. With an oilier skin, choose a product in gel or liquid form.
  • Look for products containing niacinamide. Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) stands out because of its versatility for almost any kind of skincare concern. It can help to visibly minimise enlarged pores, tighten lax pores, improve uneven skin tone, soften fine lines and wrinkles, diminish dullness, and strengthen a weakened surface.
  • Protect your skin from sunlight every day! UV rays in sunlight damage your skin cells so they don’t function as well as they should. This distorts the pores, so that it is more difficult to discharge the sebum and they become enlarged.

Give these tips a try

If the specific recommendations and products above do not produce the desired result, then give these more general tips a try:

  • Remove blackheads using a comedone extractor. By gently pressing it down, you limit the damage to your skin and pores. If you do not remove blackheads, the pressure and swelling will increase and your pores will – sometimes permanently – enlarge and/or spots will appear.
  • Go to a professional beauty specialist. They will be able to remove the blackheads without damaging your skin.
  • Consider a professional cosmetic treatment: A high-concentration AHA or BHA mask, microdermabrasion or laser treatment can visibly improve blackheads and milia for all skin types. Take note: these treatments only work on the skin surface and do not improve the condition of the pores. A good daily skincare routine is important as well.
  • Select your makeup with care and clean your skin thoroughly before going to bed. Thick, heavy makeup used to mask red blemishes or uneven skin tones blocks the pores.

Related products

All skin types
All skin types
Combination skin
Combination skin, Oily skin
Oily skin

Customer Service

Do you need help? Get in touch with our skincare experts for free and personal skincare advice. It's our mission to help you achieve your skincare goals!


Sign up for our newsletter to receive exclusive offers and expert skincare advice