How to Shrink Your Pores

Dr. Steve Jepson shares four ways to shrink your pores.

One of the questions that I am commonly asked, especially by women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, is “How do I shrink my pores?” Many of these women will spend hours in front of their magnifying mirror fretting over them, and often will waste their money on the latest purported pore-reducing gizmo at the drug store.

Before I answer that question lets define what pores are. Pores are tiny openings in your skin that allow the sweat glands and oil glands access to your skin’s surface. At the bottom of the pore sit the oil gland. Then a microscopic “tunnel” rises to the surface of your skin. The opening of that “tunnel” is the visible part of the pore.

Why can they look so big? Maybe your pores didn’t always look as large as they do now, but with time your pores can become more visible.. Oil, sweat, dirt, makeup, dead skin, all can accumulate inside that tiny opening and essentially stretch it into a bigger opening.
So how do you shrink them? Here are four suggestions:

1. Cleanse and Exfoliate – You need to keep your pores clean. More specifically, you need to keep your pores “cleaned out”. If you pores are getting bigger, then you are not effectively cleaning out the oil, sweat, dirt, makeup, and dead skin. Get this debris out of the “tunnel” and it will shrink back down to its normal size.
You need to use an effective cleanser and ideally wash your face twice daily. Soap is too harsh for twice daily use. It will dry and irritate your skin. Use a gentle cleanser specifically designed for facial skin. The PDG Infusing Cleanser available at my office is an ideal choice.

But using a cleanser alone generally isn’t enough. You need to regularly exfoliate your skin as well. Think of exfoliation as the second cleansing step, and the step that provides your pores with a deeper more penetrating cleaning. My preferred exfoliaters are the alpha and beta-hydroxy acids including salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acid. Acids are so-called because they dissolve things. Skin acids are safe to put on your skin, but they are very effective at “dissolving” the “stuff” in your pores that you don’t want. Follow your cleansing step with a mild salicylic wash once a day. Or use a low concentration glycolic acid gel a few nights each week. These will give your pores the deep clean they currently aren’t getting. If you need guidance choosing the right exfoliating product, call my office and my staff would be happy to help you (801-281-0022). More skin care information and specific product recommendations can also be found at or in my book 7 Ways To Look Younger Without Undergoing “The Knife”

2. Home Devices? – There are a lot of devices for sale in department stores that purport to help shrink your pores. I believe most of them are a waste of your money. Follow the cleansing and exfoliating recommendations above and your pores will improve more effectively than they would by using most of these devices. The single exception is the Clarisonic Brush. Its sonic technology literally shakes some of the hard to get debris out of your pores, and many of my clients have found it very effective. It’s available at Nordstrom and “other fine department stores” or through various online merchandisers. And while not technically a “device”, Biore Strips are also a useful and inexpensive method to help keep the pores clean in the nose area (where they are always the largest anyway).

3. Visit an Esthetician – I recommend that you visit an esthetician on a regular basis. An esthetician will help you maintain your skin’s health. Regular facials will help keep your pores clean, healthy, and smaller. Estheticians can also perform more aggressive pore-reducing exfoliating treatments than you can perform yourself at home – including microdermabrasion and mild chemical peels. These will help maintain good pore health. Our medical master esthetician, Mistee Montanye, is currently running several specials for Studio 5 viewers. Call our office for more details.

4. Get a Laser Treatment – Lasers are the most aggressive and the fastest method for reducing pore size. Laser treatments are performed at doctor’s offices specializing in aesthetic medicine. Different lasers have different effects on the pores. Some offer aggressive exfoliation and cleansing, while others use their heat to actually shrink the wall of the pore. I have three different laser systems at my office that can help in various ways with your pores, and we are currently offering February specials that range anywhere from 20%-50% off these treatments.

For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact:

Dr. Steven Jepson M.D.

154 E Myrtle Ave (5065 S) #102 in Murray


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