Reader question: How to make pores look less visible

Hi Ms Liz! What causes open pores and how do you treat them? :) I mean what are the remedies. Thanks! - Mikee

Hi Mikee, I'm not a dermatologist so I can't answer this with any authority. But hey, there's Google! First, what are pores? These tiny holes allow our skin to sweat and therefore maintain our body temperature. They also serve as channels for sebum to pass through to the surface of our skin; this oil lubricates our body and hair, keeping them supple and elastic.

The size of our pores is determined by the width of our hair follicles. If you have thick hair strands then you are most likely to have bigger pores. Not really a genius realization but now it makes sense why I don't have visible pores - my hair is very fine! Anyway, this also means that big pores are just in your DNA. You can't shrink them or make them disappear permanently.

Facial pores can look enlarged, however, if you don't clean them properly. Oil and dead skin cells can accumulate inside pores which may then stretch the skin and make the holes look more obvious. A good cleansing regimen will help remove these blackheads, so get a facial once a month or a mud mask once a week to root out stubborn pore blockages! Use a toner that will sweep all the dirt away after washing your face (I love the Etude House Wonder Pore toner) to prevent build-up.

Some people would recommend exfoliating, but frankly I'm not really into that. I notice that my face gets oilier and drier! There are gentler ways to remove dead skin and oil from the face. I love clay masks (Etude House Wonder Pore again, as well as the Formula 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask). The kaolin clay in these masks absorb impurities inside the skin and also help cut down oil on the face. Since you would only use them once a week, they won't make the skin as dry as a daily or tri-weekly scrub.

I also use a daily facial wash with clay in it. I'm a huge fan of the Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser - it really helped me get rid of blackheads!

Now, while pores can't be erased permanently (short of cosmetic surgery I suppose), you can use temporary fillers to make them less visible. Silicone primers and fillers have fine particles that can get into those pores, like how asphalt would get into cracks in a road. A good foundation and concealer can also help conceal pores. Smoothing powders like the Majolica Majorca Pressed Pore Cover Powder can also help.


Z-Pore is a great pore filler but GoodSkin Labs unfortunately pulled out from the Philippines. You can try the NYX Pore Filler, it sounds similar to Z-Pore. You can pre-order one from Digital Traincase.

So there you go. Hope this helps even a little bit! Guys, if you have more tips on how to lessen the appearance of big pores, do share them in the comments!