How to Shrink Pore Size

Stefani Kappel dermatologist newport beach

Pores and blackheads are a result of excess oil production. As the sebaceous glands produce oil, the skin’s pores expand to accommodate it. Tiny hairs called vellus hairs or “peach fuzz” are associated with these little hair follicles.

These tiny hairs exit the skin thru the follicle opening which we call the “Follicular Ostia” or “pore”. The sebaceous glands produce oil and sebum which collect in the follicular opening and can expand the pore size as it sits there and builds up. If it is not removed, it causes decreased elasticity and stretches the pore which makes the pores look larger.

When debris including dead skin cells, oil, sebum, keratin and make up accumulate in the pore, 3 things can happen:

1. It can be removed and the pores will close and shrink down giving a porcelain skin look.

2. It will remain in the pore and the top part of the debris or “junk” in the follicle which is exposed to the surface will oxidize and turn black. This is what we call a blackhead or “open comedone.”

3. The debris becomes trapped and forms pus and inflammation. It harbors p.acnes bacteria which creates a whitehead or what dermatologists call a “closed comedone“.

There are many ways to clean the pores and reduce pore size and blackheads.

  1. Mechanical Scrub: This scrub or polish uses a physical exfoliator.
  2. Chemical Exfoliant: This exfoliant will dissolve the debris and reduce the pore size i.e Glycolic Acid
  3. Facials: I am a fan of Hydrafacials, they use steam to loosen up the debris and then do extractions. This will reduce congestion in the long term.
  4. Lasers: A Clear and Brilliant laser is great for cellular turnover and will shrink pore size. You should plan to get 2-3 in order to see maximum results, one month apart.
  5. Chemical Peel: There are a lot of great options- 3 step peel, Vita Peel, Glycolic Acid Peel.

I recommend using a mechanical and chemical exfoliant as part of your daily routine in order to keep pores clean day-to-day. A few times a year you should invest in a facial, laser treatment or chemical peel in order to do a deep clean.