The Best Pore Minimizers for a Smoother, Clearer Complexion (2024)

Blurred is the buzzword du jour for covetable skin, and the best pore minimizer treatments are more in demand than ever—not that pores are the enemy. “Nothing can, or should, erase your pores,” stresses Dr. Whitney Bowe, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty. “When patients present with typical-looking pores and ask me to ‘erase’ them, I reassure them that pores are normal and then I suggest they throw away their magnifying mirror!” However, “Some people are prone to more visible, pronounced pores, and it can significantly affect their confidence,” she allows. Bowe explains that several factors—ranging from genetics to the natural aging process and oil production linked to hormones—can cause the appearance of enlarged pores. “Once you understand what causes your pores to appear large, you can then strategically introduce skin-care products that will work together, in a complementary fashion, to minimize their appearance of pores,” she says. Ahead, a look at the most effective ones, from a debris-dissolving pre-cleanse to a pore-smoothing SPF and retinol-infused serum that experts say works overtime to reduce sebum production, speed cellular turnover, and stimulate collagen.

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In This Article

  • What is a pore minimizer?
  • What to look for in a pore minimizer?
  • What actually reduces the size of pores?
  • How can I shrink my nose pores fast?
  • Meet the experts

SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF

SkinCeuticals

Silymarin CF

  • Why we love it: SkinCueticals’ oil-free formulation is a staple in Vogue shopping writer Kiana Murden’s routine. “As an oily-skin girl, SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF is perfect for me,” Murden says. “It uses L-ascorbic acid, silymarin, ferulic acid, and salicylic acid to reduce excess oil production, refine pores, and protect against free-radical damage.”
  • Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, silymarin, ferulic acid, salicylic acid
  • Size: 1 fl oz
  • Skin Type: Oily, combination, blemish-prone

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

  • Why we love it: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is formulated with salicylic acid, a potent BHA that’s clinically proven to reduce pore size. It also contains green tea to soothe irritation, and methylpropanediol, a synthetic ingredient that hydrates the skin and facilitates the product’s absorption. Vogue shopping writer Laura Jackson has seen overnight success with the skincare staple, previously noting: “[This] is a fixture in my nighttime beauty routine. It helps reduce my blemishes, smooths my skin’s surface, and leaves me feeling clean and glowy well into the next day.”
  • Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid (2%), green tea, methylpropanediol
  • Size: 4 oz.
  • Skin Type: All

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

CeraVe

Resurfacing Retinol Cream

  • Why we love it: Free of fragrance and pore-clogging ingredients, CeraVe’s retinol serum is useful for anyone with acne-prone skin. It’s infused with encapsulated retinol, which is gentle enough for sensitive skin; but like any form of retinol, it speeds up cell turnover to shrink the appearance of pores so make sure to apply it in the evening. The serum also has licorice root extract to target post-acne marks, while niacinamide and ceramides keep the skin balanced and soothed.
  • Key Ingredients: Encapsulated retinol, licorice root extract, niacinamide, ceramides
  • Size: 1 fl oz
  • Skin Type: Acne-prone

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross

Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel

  • Why we love it: Peels are highly effective at removing dead skin cells, thus keeping the pores unclogged and tightening their appearance. Dr. Dennis Gross’s easy-to-use system, formulated by the renowned dermatologist himself, involves two steps using treatment pads infused with AHAs and BHAs. “AHAs exfoliate the skin's surface, while BHAs penetrate deeper into pores, removing excess oil and debris,” Lindsay Holdorf, Dermstore’s resident esthetician explains. “This dual-action exfoliation unclogs pores and refines their appearance, resulting in smoother, clearer skin with minimized pores over time.”
  • Key Ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, resveratrol, green tea extract
  • Size: Each box contains 30 treatments with 0.07 fl oz per step
  • Skin Type: All

Mediheal Photo-Enzyme Peeling Pad

  • Why we love it: Derived from salicylic acid, lipo-hydroxy acids (or LHAs) are another ingredient to consider for a pore-minimizing routine—particularly for sensitive skin types, as they penetrate the skin more slowly than salicylic acid and therefor work more gently. Mediheal’s Photo-Enzyme Peeling Pad combines LHA with natural papaya enzyme, which dissolves dead skin cells. “These pads gently exfoliate, soothe inflammation, control oil production, and refine skin texture, resulting in minimized pores and improved overall skin clarity,” says Holdorf.
  • Key Ingredients: Natural papaya enzyme, LHA
  • Size: Each box contains 90 peeling pads
  • Skin Type: Combination, acne-prone

La Roche Posay Effaclar Face Serum With Salicylic Acid

La Roche-Posay

Effaclar Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment

  • Why we love it: La Roche-Posay’s lightweight treatment contains a triple-acid complex that reduces the appearance of pores in two weeks. How does it achieve this lightning-fast feat? “Its blend of salicylic acid (BHA) and lipohydroxy acid (LHA) exfoliate the skin and penetrate deeply into pores to remove oil, dead skin cells, and debris,” Holdorf explains. “By unclogging pores and promoting cell turnover, this treatment refines the appearance of pores, resulting in smoother, clearer skin over time.” Allergy-tested and non-comedogenic, the serum is also infused with niacinamide and thermal water to prevent irritation.
  • Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lipo-hydroxy acid, niacinamide, La Roche Posay thermal water
  • Size: 1.0 fl oz
  • Skin Type: All

CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Blackhead Power Liquid

  • Why we love it: TikTok-famous CosRx, a K-beauty brand, went viral last year for its Snail Mucin Essence, which uses its namesake ingredient to deliver that “glass skin” effect. In its Blackhead Power Liquid formulation, the brand takes on pore-minimizing once again, this time calling on betaine salicylate acid, niacinamide, and willow bark water to get the job done. “This minimizes pores due to its high concentration of beta hydroxy acid (BHA), specifically salicylic acid,” Holdorf explains. “BHA penetrates deep into the pores, effectively dissolving excess oil, dead skin cells, and other impurities that can contribute to enlarged pores and blackheads.”
  • Key Ingredients: BHA, niacinamide, willow bark water
  • Size: 3.38 fl oz
  • Skin Type: Acne-prone, oily

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

  • Why we love it: “Niacinamide has so many uses—anyone can benefit from adding it to their daily routine,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ashley Magovern previously told Vogue. To wit: the vitamin B3 derivative works powerfully to regulate sebum production and relieve pore congestion. The Ordinary’s oil control serum, formulated with oil-taming zinc and a high concentration of niacinamide, can visibly boost skin’s brightness and smoothness in eight weeks. It’s also a key part of Olivia Rodrigo’s skin-care regime.
  • Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, Zinc PCA
  • Size: 1 oz
  • Skin Type: Oily

Caudalie Vinergetic C+ Instant Detox Mask

Caudalie

Vinergetic C+ Instant Detox Mask

  • Why we love it: The TikTok cohort adores instant results, which may explain why Caudalie’s pink-clay mask is so buzzy. Infused with pink clay, which has kaolin and bentonite to sop up excess oil, the mask also contains pore-tightening caffeine. After wearing the clay concoction for 10 minutes and rinsing it off, users notice smaller pores and a radiance boost—and they have the glowing TikTok posts to prove it.
  • Key Ingredients: Pink clay
  • Size: 2.5 fl oz
  • Skin Type: Oily

Skin Design London Retexturising Serum

Skin Design London

Retexturising Serum

  • Why we love it: The gold standard in anti-aging ingredients, retinol speeds cell turnover to keep the pores unclogged and the skin looking smooth and fresh. Skin Design London added a retinol complex to its Retexturising Serum, which also contains lactic and glycolic acids, niacinamide, and soothing botanical ingredients like olive squalane and arnica extracts. “These ingredients work synergistically to exfoliate the skin, unclog pores, regulate sebum production, and promote cell turnover, resulting in smoother, clearer skin with reduced pore visibility,” says Holdorf. “Additionally, antioxidants help protect the skin and support its overall health for long-term pore refinement.” Skin Design London was founded by London facialist Fatma Shaheen, whose clients include Naomi Campbell and Suki Waterhouse.
  • Key Ingredients: Retinol complex, lactic and glycolic acid, botanicals
  • Size: 1 fl oz
  • Skin Type: All

Tatcha Silken Pore-Perfecting Sunscreen

Tatcha

Silken Pore-Perfecting Sunscreen

  • Why we love it: Sunscreens are notoriously prone to pore-clogging, owing to their reliance on oils that convert UV light into heat. Tatcha’s SPF 35 presents a non-comedogenic alternative, using Japanese wild rose to minimize the appearance of pores. Meanwhile, loquat leaf extract floods the skin with antioxidants and soothes irritation. The weightless, silky feel of the formulation makes it an even more tempting form of beach-day armor, and it can also be used as an everyday makeup primer.
  • Key Ingredients: Japanese wild rose, loquat leaf extract
  • Size: 2 fl oz
  • Skin Type: All

Tata Harper Clarifying Moisturizer

Tata Harper

Clarifying Moisturizer

  • Why we love it: Tata Harper’s farm-to-face skincare collection is known for its botanical formulations, which deliver fast-acting results without chemical aid. In the Clarifying Moisturizer, salix alba (or white willow) takes center stage. The gentle source of salicylic acid effectively exfoliates the skin, unclogs the pores, and dissolves acne-causing bacteria. Its pore-minimizing powers are buttressed by other ingredients in the moisturizer, including aloe vera and witch hazel. “These ingredients work synergistically to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and tighten the skin, resulting in a clearer complexion with minimized pore visibility,” says Holdorf. “Additionally, hydrating components like hyaluronic acid and glycerin help to plump the skin, further diminishing the appearance of pores.”
  • Key Ingredients: Salix alba, chlorella prebiotic, antioxidant lemon myrtle, oat ceramides
  • Size: 1.7 oz
  • Skin Type: Blemish-prone

La Mer The Resurfacing Treatment

La Mer

The Resurfacing Treatment

  • Why we love it: With its one-two punch of AHAs and BHAs, La Mer’s Resurfacing Treatment stimulates cell turnover for a smoother, glowing complexion with less visible pores. “Antioxidants like Miracle Broth [a proprietary blend of sea kelp, vitamins, and minerals] protect the skin from environmental damage, while hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin help to improve skin texture and reduce pore visibility,” Holdorf says.
  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid
  • Size: 3.4 oz
  • Skin Type: Oily

Dermalogica Precleanse

Dermalogica

Precleanse

  • Why we love it: As the first step in a double-cleanse, Dermalogica’s classic oil cleanser readily dissolves makeup, sunscreen, and debris, without clogging the pores. Its olive and kukui oils actually clean the pores out, helping the cleanser absorb more readily in the second step. I’ve been using this as a nighttime staple for years—not only because it melts off makeup in a flash, but because its lavender scent gives me a little dose of aromatherapy around bedtime.
  • Key Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil, lavender oil, sunflower oil
  • Size: 5.1 oz
  • Skin Type: All

PCA Skin Pore Refining Treatment

PCA Skin

Pore Refining Treatment

  • Why we love it: Formulated with mandelic acid, the enzyme papain, and rice powder and pumice, PCA Skin’s treatment makes the skin glow by exfoliating it in three different ways: chemical, enzymatic, and physical. When used one to three times a week after cleansing, the treatment absorbs excess oil in the pores, giving skin that blurred look Gen Z craves.
  • Key Ingredients: Mandelic acid, papain, rice powder and pumice
  • Size: 2.1 oz
  • Skin Type: Oily

What is a pore minimizer?

First, the basics. “Pore minimizers are products or procedures that can minimize the appearance of pores, and some are more impactful than others,” Bowe says. Pores take on a stretched-out or enlarged appearance when they’re clogged with oil and debris, and the best pore minimizers can remove this obstacle to smooth, even skin. “Some skincare products can reduce sebum production, controlling the oil that builds up within the pores, while others can help dissolve and remove the debris that’s clogging the pores,” Bowe notes.

How quickly do these topical solutions work? “While some products can work as quickly as overnight to minimize the appearance of pores, if you want to actually change the structure of your pores, you can consider incorporating [in-office] procedures,” Bowe says. (More on those specific procedures below.)

What to look for in a pore minimizer

“Effective pore minimizers typically contain exfoliating ingredients like AHAs or BHAs, retinoids, niacinamide, and antioxidants to address the underlying causes of enlarged pores and improve skin texture,” says Holdorf. Here’s a closer look at these key ingredients for minimizing the appearance of pores:

The Best Pore Minimizers for a Smoother, Clearer Complexion (2024)
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