can you shrink pores?

PORES. What are they, how do they get bigger, how do I shrink them? Pores are always a hot topic in the beauty world, but unfortunately, the internet is full of untrue or misleading information about them.

what are pores, really?

First off, the body has two kinds of pores - oil pores and sweat pores. Oil pores, which are what we’ll be focusing on in this article, are essentially the opening of your hair follicles. Within each pore is a sebaceous gland, which produces a naturally waxy, oily substance called sebum. It’s often the buildup of sebum, dead skin cells, and dirt in these pores that can trigger breakouts. 

Hair follicles or oil pores allow oil and sebum to come to the surface of your skin. Despite what you may have heard, some sebum and oil is actually necessary to healthy skin, in order to lubricate it and keep it moisturized and protected. 

The second type of pore is known as a sweat pore. These pores are extremely small and almost impossible to see. Those concerned with the size and visibility of their pores are usually referring to their oil pores, not their sweat pores.

can I change the size of my pores?

Contrary to popular belief, you can NOT change the size of your pores. Your pore size is determined by genetics, and no product or routine has the power to change that. UGGH, we know.

Though skincare products can't change the size of your pores, there are certain techniques and products that can help reduce their appearance (when you see products promising to "shrink" the size of your pores, the potential to shrink their appearance is what they’re really selling).

what makes pores appear larger?

Many factors come into play here. If your skin naturally produces excessive sebum, your pores may appear enlarged. If your pores lack elasticity and are unable to hold themselves tight, they may appear enlarged. If you’re not cleansing properly, oil, dirt, debris, and makeup can clog your pores, making them appear enlarged and sometimes causing breakouts.

Often, pores on the forehead and nose specifically are more noticeable. This is because the sebaceous glands in these areas tend to be bigger, therefore producing more oil, and making the pore appear larger.

how do I reduce the appearance of my pores?

use a cleansing oil and if you need to, double cleanse

A great way to reduce the appearance of your pores is to cleanse thoroughly. The more dead skin cells, dirt, and sebum you have stuck in your pores, the larger they’re going to look! It’s important to deeply (yet gently!) clear your pores every day in order to keep them from looking enlarged.

In a recent blog post, we talked about how subclinical acne (little colorless bumps that usually appear on the forehead) are simply clogged, congested pores. They're the result of your skin not being able to “breathe” properly!

Following a good cleansing routine can help you decongest your pores. We recommend starting with our oil to milk cleanser or facial cleansing oil because oil dissolves oil - this can be helpful and sometimes even essential to the process of unclogging pores and also breaks down sunscreen and makeup. Following up with a water-soluble cleanser like our AHA jelly cleanser is a great way to double cleanse.

All of our cleansers are also super gentle; this is important because harsh cleansers can dry your skin out, causing it to respond by producing MORE oil, as your body will try and make up for what you're stripping away.

Cleansing twice in a row with a gentle cleansers will help clarify your pores and remove dead skin cells. 

exfoliate regularly (but gently!)

Another essential? Exfoliating. Regularly using a gentle physical exfoliator or chemical exfoliator, like our turmeric illuminating solution, can help unblock your pores, reducing their appearance and allowing serums, moisturizers, and other treatments to soak in more deeply and efficiently.

Chemical exfoliators use alpha and/or beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and/or BHAs).  There are many types of AHAs and BHAs. We use mandelic acid and glycolic acid in turmeric illuminating solution, both of which are gentle AHAs suitable for sensitive skin. The most common BHA used in skincare is salicylic acid, which you can find in our postbiotic acne serum. Chemical exfoliants help unblock pores by polishing the surface of your skin. But just be careful - over-exfoliation with a chemical exfoliant can cause severe dryness, sensitivity, and even chemical burns!

use a toner

Toning is also extremely important! It acts as the final cleansing step, removing all leftover dirt from your pores. It also helps to balance out your skin's pH levels, which in turn, can help to balance sebum and reduce blockages. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, try our raspberry micellar toner - its acidity will help gently clarify your skin, eliminate excess oil, and diminish the look of pores.

purify and treat

A gentle, purifying mask like our sea kale clay mask can help detox your pores, reducing their appearance. We like to treat ourselves to a little mask time once a week!

We also recommend our pore refining concentrate and our texture smoothing cream. These products both center around skin-loving celery seed extracts, which help refine the look of pores by actually supporting the structures in the skin that hold them tight. By fortifying these structures, you’ll promote firmness and elasticity in the skin and prevent pores from sagging open and appearing enlarged.

In summary, the bad news is that you can’t actually permanently decrease the size of your pores. However, by following these steps and keeping your skin as clean and balanced as possible, you’ll be able to reduce the appearance of pores for skin that looks smoother and softer.

we hope you found these tips helpful! as always, if you have any questions, DM us on Instagram or email us at!

-the cocokind team