How to Shrink Your Pores for Better-Looking Skin

Joelle Klein

by | Read time: 4 minutes

With numerous Zoom calls and more time spent at home, we’re likely spending more time looking at ourselves and noticing our imperfections. Unfortunately, small things such as large pores can have an impact on our appearance.

The first thing you should know about your pores is that there is no way to close them. In fact, pores are important, so don’t want to get rid of them. They transport sebum, which is oil, to our skin to help keep it lubricated. Otherwise, our skin would dry out.

But, that’s not to say there aren’t many things we can do to make them look smaller, which can make our skin look better and younger. Who doesn’t want better-looking skin?

Woman in Spa Attire Learning How to Shrink Pores Applying Facial Mask in Front of Mirror | Why we have larger pores

Having large pores is mostly a genetic issue. While some people have brown eyes, others have blue. Some people have straight hair and others curly. It’s the same with our pores.

Age changes our skin in so many ways, and pore size is no different. As we get older, our skin loses its firmness, which makes pores look larger. Additionally, Jessa Blades, a New York City-based natural beauty expert, makeup artist and herbalist, says that diet, climate and skin type affect our pores’ size.

“Different skin types react differently to different climates,” says Blades. She explains that people with oily skin tend to have large pores, and living in a humid climate can exacerbate that issue. People with dry skin, on the other hand, may benefit from a humid climate.

And, lastly, clogged pores = large pores. If dirt, bacteria, and debris build up in your pores, they must stretch out to accommodate the grit. Cleansing your face regularly can help keep your skin and pores clean.

How to shrink pores

Since you can’t change your genetics or age and are most likely are not going to change your climate to have smaller pores, your best bet to make them look smaller is to effectively and regularly de-clog them. Here are the best ways to do it.


“Clay is a great ingredient for detoxing pores,” says Blades. She recommends using a clay mask only on the problem areas. Clay works by pulling out the oils and debris from the skin. While it helps clean pores, it can also dry the skin. Dabbing a little on your nose or any other large pore area once or twice a week will help keep your pores clean and small.


Exfoliating, gently, once or twice a week, per the American Academy of Dermatology, can help slough off dead skin cells that can clog your pores. Bonus, using a gentle exfoliator can also leave your skin looking brighter and more even.


Blades is a big fan of slathering raw honey on your face. She recommends mixing raw honey with plain, full-fat yogurt or just using it on its own. With the honey yogurt mask, Blade says, you get gentle exfoliation and moisture benefits with the honey and the calming and refreshing benefit of the lactic acid from the yogurt. Or, just spread some honey on your face and leave it there for 15 to 20 minutes. “It’s amazing how a honey mask alone can really help,” says Blades.


Just in case you need one more reason to use sunscreen when you leave your house, here it is. Excess sun exposure delivers a double whammy to your pores. It dries your skin out, making pores look bigger and ages your skin, making it less firm.  Blades recommends using nontoxic sunblock to spare your face of pore-clogging chemicals.

Cleanse twice a day

As mentioned above, clogged pores = larger pores. Using a gentle cleanser appropriate for your skin type, warm water, and gentle strokes to apply cleanser and rinse it off. It’s especially important to wash your face at night and remove makeup. Pat dry without harsh rubbing or tugging.

Balance your skincare routine

Blades says the key to smaller pores, and better-looking skin, is to keep your skin not only clean but also balanced. Don’t use harsh exfoliators and cleansers that strip your skin of all its natural oils. If your skin gets too dry, it will start to overproduce oil to make up for the dryness. Even if you have oily skin, be sure to use a moisturizer to keep your skin moist and prevent excessive dryness.

Less is more

When we don’t like what we see in the mirror, we tend to cover it up with makeup. Blades says that it may sound counterintuitive but that less makeup is better than more when it comes to breaking the cycle of clogging pores.

Quick fix

You may have heard that splashing cold water on your face or rubbing it with an ice cube results in smaller pores. Well, it’s true. It’s a short-term fix, but it’s true. If you want to get ready for your close-up or look your best for a night out, go ahead and splash your face with cold water before applying moisturizer and makeup.

Blades last bit of advice is to avoid magnifying mirrors. “Don’t look that close!” she warns. “You want to see yourself as the world sees you. It’s important to remember that when thinking about what is possible for our skin.”