Large facial pores are a common cosmetic concern for many people. While the size of our pores is largely genetic and out of our control, evidence suggests that there are a number of skincare ingredients that can reduce pore size. So what are the best serums for reducing pore size?
What Are The Main Causes of Large Pores?
The term ‘facial pore’ refers to the pilosebaceous follicles that contain the hair follicle, oil gland, and a number of other structures.
There are a number of different factors that contribute to the enlargement of facial pores, but the main causes are:
- Excessive sebum production
- Reduced collagen and elastin
Some evidence has demonstrated that there is a positive correlation between the amount of oil production and the size of pores. In other words, the more oil the oil glands produce, the larger the pores appear.
There is also a negative correlation between collagen and elastin levels and pore size. Basically, the lower the collagen and elastin levels are, the larger the size of the pores.
How Can You Reduce Pore Size?
In order to reduce pore size, we need to target these underlying causes. Therefore, effective pore reducing treatments are those that:
- Reduce sebum production
- Increase levels of collagen and elastin in the skin
Importantly, treatments need to be non-comedogenic – meaning that they do not clog pores.
For full and detailed information on what skin care ingredients have evidence to support their pore reducing effects, check out: Can You Shrink Pores? The Evidence Says Yes!
But to summarize, a number of skincare ingredients can reduce pores by either reducing sebum production or boosting collagen and elastin levels. These include:
- Jasmonic Acid/LR2412
- Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
- Beta-Hydroxy Acids
- Vitamin C
- Green Tea
- Alpha Lipoic Acid + DMAE
- Clay Face Masks
- Oil Cleansers
- Hyaluronic Acid (possibly)
So what are the best serums for reducing pore size?
The Best Serums For Reducing Pore Size
TruSkin Tea Tree Clear Skin Super Serum
Pore Size Reducing Ingredients: 20% vitamin C, 3.5% niacinamide, 2.5% retinol, 5.0% hyaluronic acid, 2% salicylic acid.
Jam packed full of pore reducing ingredients, this super serum from Amazon’s bestselling TruSkin brand can also help clear up break-outs and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C has a large amount of research backing its ability to boost collagen levels in the skin. In fact, the human body needs vitamin C in order to produce collagen.
Niacinamide and retinol both boost collagen and elastin levels in the skin as well as reducing sebum production. Another sebum-reducing ingredient, salicylic acid, is particularly effective at reducing pore size when combined with niacinamide. In addition, it is oil soluble and easily penetrates pores to exert its effects.
Evidence suggests that intradermal injections of hyaluronic acid can reduce sebum production. There isn’t much evidence to suggest that topical hyaluronic acid can reduce pore size, however, it can boost skin hydration which can cause a temporary ‘plumping’ effect and make pores appear smaller.
Furthermore, TruSkin offer a money-back-guarantee if you haven’t seen results within 3-months!
If you’re looking for a time-efficient skin care product to add to your routine, this multiple-ingredient serum may be the one for you!
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant
Ok, so this is more liquid than serum. However, it’s great for unclogging and diminishing large pores with 82% of users surveyed experiencing smaller pores with regular use.
Salicylic acid is one of the few skincare ingredients that can readily penetrate pores in order to unclog them and reduce sebum production. In addition to salicylic acid, this skin perfecting liquid also contains green tea to help soothe and calm skin. As well as being a potent antioxidant, evidence also suggests that green tea can help decrease sebum production and reduce blackheads.
If you’re looking to add something simple but effective into your routine, this may well be the product for you.
This liquid exfoliant works best for oily skin types. If you have normal/combination skin then the gel version may be a better suit.
Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules
An innovative new take on the usual retinol night serums, this one comes in capsule form for optimal freshness and potency. In fact, capsulated retinol may be up to 76% more potent than unencapsulated retinol.
These serum capsules can visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, improve skin radiance, and reduce hyperpigmentation as well as minimizing the appearance of pores.
Retinol targets both of the main causes of enlarged pores by boosting collagen production and reducing sebum production. In addition, these serum capsules contain ceramides which help protect the skins moisture barrier and improve hydration levels. This is particularly beneficial in combination with retinol due to the irritation that products containing retinol can often cause. Furthermore, improved skin hydration can reduce the appearance of pores – although this improvement is usually temporary.
If you’re looking for a pore minimizing serum with excellent anti-aging benefits then this may be the product for you – especially if you enjoy a little bit of luxury from your skincare!
Replenix RetinolForte Treatment Serum
Replenix offers this retinol serum with added green tea polyphenols, caffeine, and hyaluronic acid. The addition of green tea polyphenols and hyaluronic acid help reduce the irritation from retinol as well as reduce sebum production.
This serum has a patented micro polymer delivery system to protect potency as well as providing an instant and time-released delivery of all-trans-retinol to the skin. In addition, it is available in 6 different strengths which means you can up the retinol dosage in accordance with how your skin tolerates retinol.
If you’re looking to gradually build up the strength of your retinol serum, this may be the product for you!
L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Texture Perfector Serum
Here’s an example of a great pore reducing serum that won’t break the bank. L’Oreal’s texture perfector serum contains LR2412, also known as jasmonic acid, a molecule that is involved in plant wound repair and tissue regeneration. LR2412 has demonstrated the ability to reduce pore size, boost collagen, and increase skin hydration.
Apparently, 70% of women surveyed reported tightened, less visible pores after one week of use.
Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum
An overnight serum with 4% glycolic acid and pore refining ingredient ‘Pore Away’. Glycolic acid is particularly good at increasing collagen, improving the quality of elastic fibers, and shrinking pores for a smoother complexion.
At 4% concentration, this isn’t the strongest glycolic acid serum out there but it’s ideal for those new to acids. A big negative to this product, however, is the poorly designed dispensing pump that rarely works. You will most likely have to use a q-tip to dispense the serum.
The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%
For those who are a bit more accustomed to acids, this peeling solution by budget skincare brand The Ordinary combines the pore refining effects of alpha and beta hydroxyl acids – a.k.a. glycolic acid and salicylic acid. This is a strong treatment serum, NOT a leave-on serum. It is best used once or twice a week to exfoliate skin and reduce pore size.
This product is left on the skin for a maximum of 10 minutes before being rinsed off with warm water. However, you may want to start off with 3-4 minutes before washing off in order to build up a tolerance.
The Best Serums For Reducing Pore Size: Summary
The best serums for reducing pore size are those that contain ingredients that can reduce sebum production and boost collagen production. In addition, increasing skin hydration may provide a temporary reduction in pore size.
Ingredients such as vitamin C, AHAs, and jasmonic acid can reduce pore size by boosting collagen levels, while green tea and salicylic acid can reduce pore size by reducing sebum production. Niacinamide and Retinoids can reduce pore size by boosting collagen production AND reducing sebum production at the same time!
Have you had any success reducing the size of your pores with any of these ingredients? We’d love you to share your pore-minimizing experiences in the comments section!
Laura is a skincare addict and sunscreen enthusiast with more than 10 years of experience working in healthcare and over 5 years of experience working as a nurse. She has experience in plastic and reconstructive surgery, dermatology, and aesthetics and has received training in laser treatments. Laura is currently working in healthcare education and writes for ScienceBecomesHer in her spare time. Read More.