For many people, their biggest skin issue is pore size. Loads of women out there are looking for ways to shrink their pores permanently. But can it be done? We find out…

What affects pore size?

For the most part, pore size is determined by genetics. Your DNA will provide you with your pore size along with your hair colour, skin colour, height and everything that goes along with it.

Read more: How to prevent pigmentation?

In general, dry and fair skins tend to have smaller pores, and darker and oilier skin types tend to have larger pores.

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While there is very little you can do about the pore size you were dealt, there are some treatment options that can improve their appearance – and yes, some will even shrink your pores permanently. But first, let’s look at the causes of enlarged pores.

Is your skincare routine making your pores bigger?

There are some other factors that influence your pore size. Age is one of them – some people get enlarged pores as they grow older. Sun damage also causes enlarged pores as it degenerates the collagen and elastin that provide structural support. Not keeping your skin clean can also lead to congestion, which ‘stretches’ your pores and makes them appear larger and more uneven.

The best ways to shrink your pores


A course of laser treatments is said to be one of the most effective and long-term solutions for decreasing pore size. Lasers like the Fraxel laser smooth out the upper layers of the skin, and then increase collagen production. Increased collagen production leads to plumper, more volumised skin, which in turn leaves less room for pores.

Read more: 7 surprising reasons you have dark circles under your eyes

Retinols and retinoids

Vitamin A works on two levels – it has a gentle exfoliating action which smooths the skin, and it encourages collagen production which plumps the skin. Introducing vitamin-A containing skincare products into your beauty routine is one of the best ways to shrink your pores.

Oral retinol treatments (aka accutane treatments) shrink the sebaceous glands, which in turn does shrink the pores – but they can go back to their regular size when treatment is stopped.

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Regular salicylic acid peels keep your pores clean, which in turn enables them to be elastic (aka as tight as they possibly can be). Salicylic acid is also great for oily skin and breakouts.

[H3] The basics

Don’t ever neglect your basic skincare routine – cleanse properly, treat and moisturise your skin twice a day. Ignore strong, alcohol-filled toners that promise you the world. Wear SPF50 every single day. Your pores will thank you!

If you’re after a quick pore-shrinking fix, try this


A gently enzymatic or alpha hydroxyl acid exfoliation can do wonders for tired-looking skin. Often it’s oxidised sebum that’s making your pores look huge – getting rid of it will make a big difference

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Double mask

Use a clay mask followed by a plumping moisture mask for super clean, super radiant skin – and visibly tighter pores.


Apply a silicone based primer to plump up your skin before your apply your make-up – it makes all the difference if you have large pores or any type of uneven skin texture