Fun facts first: Your body is covered in approximately five million pores million pores (I swear that’s not an exaggeration), and your face alone is home to about 20,000 of them. The truth is that you need all these teeny divots to release oil and sweat and to maintain healthy skin. They’re part of being a real live human—which is why there’s no getting rid of them. Most of the time, this isn’t an issue. But if your skin is naturally oily or acne-prone or has suffered UV damage, chances are, some of those 20,000 are looking a little less tiny due to excess oil, inflammation, or a lack of collagen. If yours are driving you nuts, check out these three cost-conscious ways to shrink them down to their OG size and get smooth skin in the process.
USE AN ACID TONER
Specifically, one with salicylic acid. It’s oil-soluble, which is a fancy way of saying it can work its way deep into your pores and dissolve the stuff (sebum and dead skin cells) lodged inside, says NYC dermatologist Howard Sobel, MD, founder of Sobel Skin. “When you remove that gunk, it prevents pores from stretching and looking larger.” The best part? There are a ton of inexpensive salicylic acid toners out there try Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner. Just dab a little on a cotton pad and swipe it on.
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GRAB A RETINOID
You know it’s an acne -fighting powerhouse, but it’s also clutch for minimizing the look of your pores. Retinoids increase cell turnover (your skin’s natural renewal process) and boost the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for smoothness and firmness, explains Dr. Sobel. Translation: This stuff helps prevent dead skin from building up and plugging pores, and supports the foundation of each pore, preventing it from sagging and stretching. Don’t sleep on this ingredient. Try Eva Naturals Retinol Serum.
TRY A PRO LASER TREATMENT
Willing to spend some more? Hit up your derm for a Clear + Brilliant treatment. It’s a resurfacing laser that exfoliates the top layer of dead skin cells and helps boost collagen production. Most appointments take around 20 minutes and cost between $400 and $600—and you might need up to six separate treatments. But they work. About a week or two after each lasering, your pores will start to appear smaller and your skin will be smoother overall.