The best pore minimizer
Pores are a natural feature of the skin, but they may appear larger than usual when containing excess oil or bacteria buildup. Genetics can also play a part in the appearance of pores. While it's impossible to reduce the size of your pores permanently, it is possible to reduce their appearance using a pore minimizer. Pore minimizers do this by deeply cleansing the skin and removing dirt, oil, and bacteria buildup. They also tighten the skin's outer layer, making pores appear smaller.
Read our buying guide to find a pore minimizer that's right for your skin. Our top choice is Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam -- it's effective and full of skin-friendly ingredients.
Considerations when choosing pore minimizers
Those with oily skin tend to have larger pores, but the issue is not uncommon among a variety of skin types. Choosing the right product for your skin is vital to prevent irritation and further skin-related problems. We suggest that people with oily skin, for instance, steer clear of oil-containing products.
Pore minimizers are available in a variety of formulas and formats, including serums, masks, cleansers, strips, and creams -- and they all work in different ways. Pore strips, for instance, are made to extract blackheads from the skin, which reduces the appearance of pores, whereas masks and serums -- applied before bed -- go to work on pores while you sleep. Cleansers with pore-minimizing qualities are ultra-convenient for those not interested in cultivating an extensive beauty routine.
Here are some active ingredients commonly found in pore minimizer products, along with those that should be avoided:
Aloe vera: A soothing ingredient that calms the skin and helps reduce irritation.
Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA): Both are exfoliants and reduce the look of pores by clearing them of dead skin cells and other impurities. BHAs are the better choice for those with sensitive skin as they tend to be gentler than AHAs.
Benzoyl peroxide: A common ingredient found in acne cleansers that has antibacterial properties. However, it is incredibly drying, making it an unsuitable choice for anyone with dry skin.
Green tea: An anti-aging ingredient that also helps treat acne and unclog pores.
Vitamin E: An ingredient known for its scar-healing abilities that also moisturizes the skin.
Retinol: An anti-aging product that's a form of vitamin A.
Parabens: Preservatives found in many beauty products. Parabens have a controversial reputation.
Sodium lauryl sulfates (SLS): A harsh ingredient that tends to dry out the skin.
Talc: There's evidence that this ingredient is potentially cancer-causing. It has been banned from use in cosmetics in certain countries.
Other strategies for limiting the appearance of pores
In addition to using a dedicated pore minimizer product, here are other ways to blur the appearance of pores:
Wash your face regularly. Cleanse morning and night to rid the skin of dead cells, bacteria, and buildup.
Remove all your makeup at the end of the day. Use a makeup remover or micellar water to get rid of all your makeup before washing your face.
Apply sunscreen. Rain or shine, summer or winter, wear sunscreen to help limit the appearance of pores and protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
Don't apply a product without testing it first. Patch test a pore minimizer before applying it to your whole face to check whether it causes a reaction.
Use a primer when applying makeup. A primer helps to further blur pores and reduce their appearance.
You can pay between $10 to well over $40 for a pore minimizer. It's best to compare pore minimizer ingredients instead of cost, as the price isn't always indicative of quality.
Q. How fast will I notice results when using a pore minimizer?
A. It depends on the type of product. A pore minimizing primer, for instance, is designed to instantly smooth out and blur the appearance of pores and other textural irregularities. Some pore minimizers deliver results gradually over time.
Q. Does a pore minimizer physically reduce the size of pores?
A. No. Unfortunately, the size of your pores is genetically determined. There's no way to physically change their size. Pore minimizers tighten the skin and remove dirt to reduce the appearance of pores.
Pore minimizers we recommend
Best of the best: Skinfood's Egg White Pore Foam
Our take: Gentle, natural cleanser for daily use designed to limit the appearance of pores over time.
What we like: Formula is filled with skin-friendly ingredients like egg white protein and vitamins. Egg whites also help to tighten the skin.
What we dislike: Scent is not great.
Best bang for your buck: Anjou's Blackhead Remover Pore Strips
Our take: Targeted pore cleansing strips formulated with medicated ingredients to deliver visible results.
What we like: Easy to apply. Strips contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Quick results. Affordable price point.
What we dislike: Strips have a strong medicinal smell.
Our take: A fragrance-free pore minimizing serum from a reputable skincare brand.
What we like: Effectively smooths out skin. Users remark that the serum really limits the appearance of pores. It doesn't contain oil, so it's suitable for oily skin types. Lightweight enough for use under makeup.
What we dislike: It takes a while to notice visible results.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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