As you age, genetics, sun exposure and stress cause skin to lose collagen and elasticity, making the walls of pores stretch and widen. But you can undo the damage with these hard-working products and tips. A younger-looking you is waiting.
Washing your face twice a day helps clear dirt and oil from pores so they appear smaller. Use a gentle, soap-free cleanser (soap can leave behind a residue that blocks pores), ideally with zinc as its key ingredient, to balance your skin's oil production.
Cetaphil Dermacontrol Foam Wash, $10.99;
When skin is moisturized, it looks more even and large pores are less noticeable. Your best approach: Swipe on a lightweight, noncomedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores) pore-minimizing cream in the morning and at night. Or opt for a lotion that contains lentil seed extract, which refines pores by stimulating collagen production.
L'Oréal Paris Youth Code Texture Perfector Day/Night Cream, $24.99;
As cell turnover slows down due to aging, skin often needs a little help ridding itself of the dead skin cells that settle into your pores. To smooth and exfoliate, apply a cleanser, scrub, lotion or mask with salicylic acid. But beware: This powerful ingredient can be drying, so use it only once a week.
Aubrey Organics Clarifying Therapy Clay Mask, $12.95;
Apply primer before foundation to help fill in holes (and fine lines!). Wear SPF 30 or higher every day to protect skin. Too much sun breaks down collagen, causing skin to look less supple. Don't squeeze or pick blackheads. This allows oils and bacteria from fingers to enter pores—which can create more spots. Drink more water. Sugary drinks can cause a surge in insulin, producing excess sebum that fills and clogs pores.
SOURCES: Bryan Barron, coauthor, . Mitch Chasin, MD, dermatologist and founder/medical director, Reflections Center for Skin and Body, Bridgewater, NJ. Marina Peredo, MD, dermatologist and founder/director, Spatique, Smithtown, NY. Petra Strand, makeup artist and creator, Pixi Beauty.