The best treatments for open pores

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Visibly enlarged pores are usually caused by having an oily skin type, although pores can look larger with age. Most open pore treatments aim to keep skin clean, preventing visibly blocked and enlarged pores, spots and blackheads. Gentle, efficient everyday maintenance solutions are the best open pore treatments for most people. These are not only affordable but encourage you to work with your skin type for long-term results.

Cleanse and Hydrate

Choose a daily treatment cleanser that gives a deep clean, without stripping the skin. Dehydration from harsh products makes open pores more visible, especially when exacerbated by age, sun exposure or smoking. Use a wash with a gentle soap base. Make-up wearers should remove all make-up before bed to keep pores clean. Use a product formulated to deep cleanse oily skin and remove make-up without stripping it. Follow daily cleansing with an oil-free hydrating moisturiser.


Exfoliation prevents blackheads and smooths bumpy, enlarged pores. Common exfoliating ingredients are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), including glycolic and salicylic acid. Glycolic acid smooths the top layer of the skin and salicylic acid sinks deeper, unplugging pores to make them less visible.

If you suffer from acne or sensitive skin, use an exfoliant containing enzymes or AHAs, rather than a scrub, which could scratch skin and spread bacteria. Products containing retinol speed up cell turnover, so effectively exfoliate the skin from within. This is often found in anti-ageing products because it also lessens the look of wrinkles. Retinol should never be used during pregnancy.


Clay masks soak up excess oil, cleaning open pores so they look smaller. Use a clay mask as a once-a-week toner for the skin. For a home-facial feel, do an exfoliating mask the day before, so skin is clean and supple. This gives the clay access to soak up the most oil and debris from pores. Clay is also found in some wash-off cleansers for oily skin.

Daily Pore Treatments

Pore treatments no longer contain alcohol but now come in a comfortable cream formula, being designed to wear alone or under make-up. Products contain salicylic acid plus mattifying agents that soak up excess oil. As well as providing an instant smoothness, used over time the product improves the overall texture of skin, as it works all day to keep pores clean.


Microdermabrasion is an extreme-exfoliation treatment. If you have persistent problems with open pores and bumpy skin, microdermabrasion will make your skin smoother. You can now buy cheaper microdermabrasion kits to do at home but you must patch-test these products and only use them in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. Microdermabrasion has many applications, minimising wrinkles and dry patches as much as open pores, so it is ideal for those with mature skin yet visibly enlarged pores.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment is an expensive but more permanent method of reducing the appearance of enlarged pores. However, it is more commonly found as laser resurfacing, for those with open pores but also bad acne scarring. Laser treatment for open pores is performed at private clinics and medi-spas, and works by pulsing light directly on to the skin to restructure it. Those undergoing laser treatment need to avoid sun exposure and use a high-factor SPF in order to prevent skin damage.

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