You Asked, We Answered: How To Deal With Huge Pores

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Acne usually gets all the attention when it comes to maddening skin care issues, but there’s another complexion problem that drives women nuts: large pores. Those suckers can pop up from oily skin, sun damage, aging, or simply because you inherited them from your folks. But as Karina G. from Chicago knows, treating them can be tricky.

She asks, "I’m 26, but I feel like my large pores make me look a decade older. When I hit up the beauty counter, I'm so overwhelmed by the options. What exactly should I look for?”

I know choosing the right treatment is a daunting task when you’re staring at endless displays of lotions and creams, so to make your next trip to the mall less traumatic, I got some advice from New York City-based dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton. And, I’ve figured out a few quick cover-up tricks of my own.
Web2Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment, $38, available at Sephora; Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, $13.99, available at Drugstore.com; Murad Pore Reform Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo, $49.50, available at Murad.
How to minimize ‘em at home
When shopping for products, look for peels, face scrubs, and masks that contain an alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA for short) like glycolic acid, or a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) like the more well-known acne fighter, salicylic acid. These ingredients help amp up cell turnover and keep pores gunk-free. “Pore-clearing strips are also useful. When the pores are clogged, they appear larger,” says Dr. Ingleton. She suggests using products with AHAs and BHAs three times a week max to avoid irritation. Try Murad Pore Reform Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo. If you're doing strips, just do it once a week. I like Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips.

For a DIY remedy, apply plain yogurt all over your face and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it off, then apply moisturizer as usual. “Lactic acid and probiotics [within the yogurt] temporarily help to shrink the pores,” Dr. Ingleton explains.

How to minimize 'em at the doctor’s office
If you’ve tried everything, and your pores still won’t budge, go see a derm. You might need a peel with a higher concentration of acid, or a professional treatment like photodynamic therapy.

How it works: A photosensitizing agent called levulonic acid is applied to your skin, then your face is exposed to blue light for up to an hour, depending on your skin tone. The treatment will set you back about $350 and you can get it once a month until you get the results you want. “Photodynamic therapy works best for people whose pores are caused by sun damage," says Dr. Ingleton.

How to cover ‘em up
Since shine can make pores look even larger, I find it helps to stick with lightweight, oil-free facial moisturizers. And before you put on your makeup, apply a mattifying primer that’ll fill in your pores, like Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Treatment. Rub it onto your t-zone or wherever you need it for a smoother, fresher face.

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