Can skin care products really shrink your pores?

I have been seeing products that are called ‘pore minimizer’, promising ladies like myself, visions of an ideal face with no visible pores and oily skin. But look closely and most of them are really primers of some sort and not some kind of treatment product. Some brands even go as bold as to claim their products are primers but offers some treatment to your skin when applied. What audacity!

Can you minimize pores?
Had I not started on reading labels on my products I would never have guessed it was just a marketing ploy on most company’s part. You can’t minimize your pores forever; in fact, you can’t even change the size of your pores. But what you can do, is take care and improve your skin and in turn, make your pores look more invisible than when you did not.

What are pores?
Pores are what helps us perspire to maintain our core temperature, and the sebum production is to naturally moisturize our face. However, due to many factors, the oil secretion part tends to go awry and produce either too much or too little oil.

Why are some people’s pores larger than others?
When the pores appear larger, it is usually a build up of dirt sitting in your pores, not only making it look more obvious, but enlarging your pores. For some, genetics play a role in their large pores. But genes can only do so much. The other contributing factors to large pores are: lack of exfoliating, aging, sun exposure, and a hectic or stressed lifestyle.

Do pore-shrinking products work?
If you are referring to ‘pore minimizing’ products, I’d say no, it doesn’t work. But if you’re talking about products that boost the skin’s elasticity and collagen, then by all means stock all the products you want. While there’s no products that can minimize pores per se, there are skin care products that will boost the skin’s renewal rate. It would also help for you to exfoliate regularly if your skin leans towards the oily side.

Skincare tips to prevent future damages
Apart from using the right skin care and exfoliating, sun protection is very important for those overly obsessed about having a pore-less complexion. Sun exposure may damage your skin and allow dead skin cells to clutter and surround your pores, and thus, over-pronouncing their presence on your face.

Homemade remedies to improve the look of your pores
A regular homemade mask would do the trick as well. Papayas are known for their exfoliating qualities, mash one up and put the paste on your face for 15 minutes or so and it will smoothen and gently exfoliate your skin. Another recipe would be to mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of manuka honey and apply to face as a mask for 15 minutes.

Personally, I use all of the mentioned solutions above, but I remind myself not to be obsessed over having a flawless and pore-less face because that is almost impossible to achieve and it all depends on your genes. I think, due to our large media exposure with pictures of celebrities and models with flawless skin (mostly using Photoshop), people tend to think that that kind of skin is achievable and is the only way of looking beautiful. It doesn’t help when products are being advertised to ‘bring out the beautiful you’ through their ‘pore minimizing’ products in most departmental stores. Bottom line – take care of your skin based on your skin type and not be overly obsessed over your pores.


  1. Carrie says:

    Aha!! I knew that there’s no “magical product” that could minimize pores~ I have been really tempted so many times to get pore shrinking products but luckily I’d always research on product reviews and most of them aren’t as effective as expected!! Good to see you are blogging this issue which is defnitely helping me to save my money ?

  2. Socialite Dreams says:

    very informative, good piece! i like this
    Socialite Dreams last post is: Buttercup – Green Powerpuff Girl and Series Wrapup

  3. Lanie says:

    hi sesame,
    your post is quite timely.. I have very large pores (when I was younger I usually go for facials almost every other week).. but now I seldom go.. so I usually have severe breakouts of blackheads/whiteheads (even if I cleanse using Dr. Bronners soap)… Ive been using the daily yogurt (mixed with either honey or fruit pulps).. as a pre-cleanse prior to my usual cleanser.. then the DIY vitamin C serum and DIY vitamin E oil based moisturiser (based on your and viv’s recipe).. for only 2 weeks and I can see the difference (pores becoming a bit smaller now)… and not as clogged anymore.. -==> glad to have known this so I dont have to go for painful facial extractions or expensive (and probably toxic) diamond peels or exfoliators.. thanks to all natural bloggers like you for the inspiration..

  4. jyoan says:

    This is a very good article! I 200% agree with it. I have always found it irritating that companies tout a truckload of silicones as pore minimizer. They are more like pore cloggers. And yes, they do work temporarily to make the pores appear invisible. But once washed off, the pore are visible again. The worst of the worst part is that silicones are hard to wash out. And the continual clogging worsens skin condition. Yet many are not aware of it but continue buying silicone, and don’t take care to remove these silicone moisturizers/treatment creams properly just because it is not coloured cosmetics. People get more worried about say BB cream because there is colour. But pore minimizers are colourless
    Bandits that will steal your good skin from you.
    jyoan last post is: Dilmah Seasonal Flush Very Special Rare Tea

  5. jyoan says:

    For some reason, it seems that people with normal/combination to oily skin can take such natural remedies better. The moment I hear lemon and Vit C I get scared. They are more irritants than soothing calming agents for sensitive skin. I would probably itch and scratch till red with blood if I use such active ingredients.

    Just feel so sad that my skin can’t even take oils and rough stuff like sugar and oats.
    jyoan last post is: Dilmah Seasonal Flush Very Special Rare Tea

  6. Cassie says:

    Agreed.. I’ve even got a girlfriend who refuse to wear makeup without this certain product by a certain brand that has been advertised as a treatment product for pores. She believes she’s helping to minimize her pores! :S
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  7. Cassie says:

    Thank you! ?
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  8. Sesame says:

    Hi Lanie: glad the DIY remedies are helping your skin. The thing about facial is if it includes steaming, then likely, your pores will be enlarged. Steaming often isn’t great for our pores. You might want to try using grapeseed oil…it helps to sort of tighten the pores over time.

    Btw, this article is written by Cassie. ?

  9. Audris says:

    I inwardly roll my eyes when the new facial places I try claim to be able to do so with their 1001 treatments. The Silk Whitia sheet masks do give the look of smaller pores for a while right after usage. I reckon it’s the moisture within the skin that’s given an additional boost. But after a way, ze pores revert to looking like spores. Cést la vie!
    Audris last post is: Of HTC One-X and Urban Sunsets

  10. Cassie says:

    Researching on products before buying pays off! ?
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  11. Cassie says:

    Heh Heh, glad you’re one of the smarter consumers! ?
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  12. stella says:

    only laser surgery will shrink them permanently–until your skin starts sagging due to aging, assuming nothing else happens in between

    i’ve oily/combi skin with large pores, which are probably exaggerated due to improper care in my teenage years and i find that the only way to keep my pores looking decent is to keep them clean, moisturize well, and a toning mask once or twice a week

  13. Jess Day says:

    Researching on products before buying really helps especially when there are people like you who continue to write about them. The consumers are more informed about these skin products. Getting obsessed about having perfect skin will just make you stressful and besides you can always use Photoshop if you want your photos to look absolutely flawless lol. Anyway, try using 100% pure Moroccan oil or argon oil in your skin, nails, and hair to keep them healthy. It might just work on you.

  14. Swati says:

    I did a post on open pores just a couple of days back ?
    strictly speaking, pores can only be temporarily tightened and that works with entire tightening of the skin….for me, tomato and ice cubes work…ice cubes being cold constrict and tighten the entire skin but these are all temporary. I am not concerned with flawless smooth complexion but one thing which hit me in your post was that if the pores appear larger, there is lot of dirt sitting inside. well, my pores are definitely appearing larger these days but I do exfoliate well. may be its just that I am not able to get good sleep.
    also, some people have larger pores and I did read somewhere that sometimes pores increase in size with age!!!
    Swati last post is: Patanjali Divya Kantilep {Product Review}

  15. Amanda says:

    Self-education is important to taking good care of skin. And I know long before that our pores can’t be minimized just because you apply a particular product to your face (sigh…). And one thing I notice on my face is that the size of my pores seems to become larger with my increasing age.
    Amanda last post is: 3 Unsightly Moments That Can Ruin Your Skin

  16. Cassie says:

    Yes, one of my few regrets about skin care is how I often pick at my face when I was in my teens! So now I try my best to make up for lost times by cleaning my face regularly. Sigh..
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  17. Cassie says:

    Many people seem to forget that most, if not all, pictures in the media have been through photoshop, don’t they!
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  18. Cassie says:

    Unfortunately, it’s true that with age pores may sometimes increase in size due to the lack of elasticity in the skin walls and causing them to sort of sag/droop. The horror!! ?
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  19. Cassie says:

    I’m not looking forward to looking at my pores when I’m around 50.. ?
    Cassie last post is: How I improved my eczema

  20. Lanie says:

    Hi Sesame,

    Yes, just realized it after posting my reply ?
    thanks for the suggestion on grapeseed oil.. will try it too..
    Lanie last post is: Support Breast Cancer patients opting for holistic care

  21. Lanie says:

    hi sesame,

    you may never know it.. but you could probably be helping a lot of women to prevent cancer by being vigilant in knowing what are the harmful ingredients in personal products.. I have been blogging for more than 2 years now.. hoping to warn as many women as possible about the dangers of environmental toxins present in our personal care products. A good diet and healthly lifestyle is always being touted as cancer prevention.. when it is actually more than just diet.. we must also be aware of environmental toxins.. and be smart in avoiding them.. you are reaching a far wider cross section of women that I could have ever reached (my blog attracts those families who already have cancer).. you are attracting literally everyone..

    keep up the good work! keep educating the masses in your own unique way!

    1. environmental toxins that are carcinogenic (e.g. personal care products, detergents)
    2. timing of exposure to toxins (puberty and when the baby is still in the womb) is when vigilance should be at its highest

    These are things that no oncologist, radiologist or general practitioner will teach you.. to prevent cancer for yourself and your loved ones..

    Ladies, be extra vigilant when you are pregnant and when your daughters are hitting puberty.. as you know girls become more self conscious when they hit puberty and will easily be a favorite target of companies selling beauty products, that in the long term will do them long term harm.. while enjoying its short term benefits..

    better a face with a few spots.. than getting breast cancer later on..whatever we put on our skin is immediately absorbed into our blood stream.. so whatever a pregnant mom puts on her skin.. is also absorbed by the unborn baby through the bloodstream that they both share
    Lanie last post is: Support Breast Cancer patients opting for holistic care

  22. Sesame says:

    Hi Lanie, thanks for your encouraging words. To be honest, I’ve never really blogged from a health perspective but I realized that with those who are sick or were sick, these ingredients become important. But I like the idea of holistic beauty and not slathering unnecessary stuff. It’s still a learning process for me too.

  23. Swati says:

    oh my gosh!!!I am scared ?
    Swati last post is: Sunscreen Regulations in India {Sunscreen}

  24. Lanie says:

    uhmm by the way, my post above is also for Cassie and Vivi and all the natural beauty bloggers.. I guess even if you are posting it from a natural beauty perspective.. you are also touching the health issues as well.. keep it up ladies..

    thanks to all of you ladies..! you are touching on more than just the issue of large pores.. than you could ever have known… ?
    Lanie last post is: Support Breast Cancer patients opting for holistic care

  25. June says:

    Try a paste of 1Tbsp baking soda and water. Leave to dry, then moisten and scrub, rinse off. Amazing for acne/pimples and yes, it does reduce pore size ?

  26. Jubilation says:

    True. I notive my skin is ‘almost’ flawless after taking a bath, but my pores will back to normal state in no time, so I guess a good moisturizing system is the answer to improve my skin appearance. Most of the products that claim “reduce the size of pores” or “pore minimize” are contain dimethicone, and this ingredient is no good for the skin, and esp the pores. After using some of these products, I notice my skin is even more oily. Eating less spicy foods, staying in cool environment, using sun screen and moisturizing products are better ways to help the pores ‘behave’:)

  27. Styledirt says:

    Thank you for the advice, June!
    Styledirt last post is: TREND: BURBERRY BROWN EYE MAKE-UP

  28. Pierrine says:

    Women is more defensive on skin aging in which do more things on cosmetics as skin care. Pores is one common skin problems of all ages in which tried to fight whatever it takes. Thus, there are natural remedy that can be noticeable.
    Pierrine last post is:

  29. sujit says:

    use patanjali’s divya kantilep.u will minimise your pores@ 30% after a month.use regularly

  30. N.D. Zilmar says:

    I have a Pores On my face. Let me know the, it can minimize for lifetime?? or not…???

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