Gone are days when we relied on sticky nose strips, hoping to remove blackheads and shrink pores miraculously. Those strips can irritate your skin, and as hard as you try, pores don’t actually disappear. But have no worries. Our list of best pore minimizing serums offer much more realistic promises to decrease the appearance of large pores and improve skin’s structure for better texture. By fighting the factors that make pores look more prominent, these serums help shrink pores look and prevent their congestion in the first place.
What’s the best pore-minimizing serum for large pores?
The best serums for large pores should exfoliate the skin and clear pores, as well as balance oil production. While pores help keep the body cool and skin protected by secreting oils and releasing sweat, they can easily get clogged when accumulating an excess of sebum and dead cells. Hence, exfoliating skin and clearing pores with these pore-minimizing serums is the foundation of a flawless complexion.
Here’s the gist: to combat dead cells buildup, you need chemical exfoliants like AHA and BHA. They exfoliate the skin, breaking down buildup and oil that becomes trapped. Products with clays and charcoal also help draw out impurities and dry up excess oil, which is great if you’re an oily skin type. The best pore tightening serums also include antibacterial agents, like willow bark extract, aiding in reducing inflammation.
Other causes of enlarged pores are structural; sun damage, aging, and skin picking can weaken the collagen that keeps pores tight. You can use astringents (salicylic acid, witch hazel) as their cooling effect strengthens skin’s keratin, shrinking pores and reducing oil. For a more long-term solution, retinol is fantastic as it increases cell turnover, sheds away dead skin, and boosts collagen.
You should also keep in mind the difference between a tiny pore and a wider, deeper one. Large pores have more to do with a buildup of sebum and bacteria, and they actually look larger when they’re clogged. On the other hand, cleansed pores always appear smaller.
Without further ado, these are the best pore-minimizing serums to shrink the look of your large pores.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting & Refining Serum
There is no shortage of potent actives in this serum chocked full of AHA and BHA for improved cellular turnover plus antioxidant adipic acid to fill in fine lines and pores. Dennis Gross’s serum uses an ingredient unique from all the other best pore minimizing serums on the list — Agarikon mushroom extract. This extract firms skin, diminishing the appearance of pores and reducing shine. Another little-known addition, farnesol, is a fatty alcohol and antimicrobial with skin tightening properties. These skin-firming ingredients will do more than tighten your pores; they provide anti-aging benefits too!
Caudalie Vinopure Pore Minimizing Serum
Caudalie maintains a strong cult status amongst the French-pharmacy devotees for a good reason; they wield no-nonsense clean ingredients to the best effect. This vegan serum targets acneic skin with tried and true salicylic acid to clean out pores and niacinamide to reduce oil and improve elasticity. The added benefit of the brand’s signature grape seed polyphenols makes this one of the best serums for large pores, as its astringent properties tighten and shrink pores look.
Peter Thomas Roth Even Smoother Glycolic Retinol Resurfacing Serum
A killer fusion of resurfacing ingredients, this nightly serum with 15% glycolic acid and 1.5% retinol promises to help clear up large pores while improving skin tone and texture. This serum tops the list for its inclusion of high-potency acid and for being distinctive out of the best serums for large pores by adding retinol. A natural collagen builder, the time-released retinol helps rebuild your skin’s structure along with the included collagen, tightening pores, and refreshing skin. This hot-list of actives also has niacinamide to even skin tone and help control excess oil, to top off an already great formula.
DERMAdoctor Picture Porefect Pore Minimizer
DERMAdoctor Picture Porefect Pore Minimizer is one of the very best serums for enlarged pores because it packs a whole host of oil-controlling and pore-clearing ingredients to purge, mattify and purify congested skin. A cocktail of acids (glycolic, lactic, and citric acids) slough off the buildup of dead cells, retinol tighten pores, and willow bark, with its astringent power, shrink their appearance. Everything is packed in a non-irritating lightweight formula that absorbs quickly for a non-heavy feel, leaving skin bouncy and mattified.
Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum
Juice Beauty offers an organic and natural solution for the best pore-minimizing serums. It combines natural salicylic acid from willow bark, lemon, and apple fruit acids to combat acne and decongest pores. Containing a plethora of vitamins B5, C, E, and CoQ10, these antioxidants help to renew skin and smooth the complexion. This product goes on sticky but quickly dries to a soft touch, less irritating than other stripping acne products. The plumping action of organic aloe, green, and white tea helps further to lessen the appearance of the already smaller-looking cleansed pores.
Dr. Jart+ Pore Remedy PHA Exfoliating Serum
Many of the other best pore minimizing serums on the list use concentrated formulations for dramatic results, but Dr. Jart uses 7% polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) to deliver a delicate exfoliation for more sensitive skin types. This daily decongesting exfoliant softens its impact with soothing anti-inflammatory panthenol and macadamia seed oil to hydrate skin. With a great minty scent and a thin watery texture, it’s light and great for daily use.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
For those nights when you want to target blackheads and congested pores, this ever-so-popular brand offers a tag-teaming duo of AHA and BHA. If you haven’t heard of Drunk Elephant’s line, this is a great place to start. Offering a blend of glycolic, tartaric, citric, and salicylic acids, this serum is perfect for improving texture and intensely resurfacing troubled skin. No slouch. You’ll feel the tingle as the actives get to work. The patented blend of AHAs exfoliates rough old skin for a smoother complexion, while oil-soluble salicylic acid dissolves clogged sebum from pores, working to shrink their appearance.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary brings you a potent congestion fighting combo at a very reasonable price point. Containing a very generous amount of niacinamide, more than most other products, the higher concentration better targets enlarged pores. Some love it for the purging effect, removing those clogs from deep within the pores. This might be from the mild exfoliation of niacinamide boosting cellular turnover. Others love the acne-fighting impact of the included zinc PCA, which helps normalize sebum and prevent acne-causing bacteria.
Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Serum
For silkier skin that boasts a more even tone and texture, reach for Estée Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Serum. This serum uses a creamy base to deliver nordihydroguaiaretic acid and several plants and algae extracts that control sebum production and remove buildup from pores. It effectively cleans out pores, and its hydrating formula fills them back in for a rapidly smoother complexion.
Brandt Skincare Pores No More Mattifying Hydrator
Oily skin types all know that feeling about halfway through the day when skin gets super oily and highlights every pore. With this lightweight mattifying gel, your skin gets all the benefits of oil-controlling smart sponge polysaccharide and blurring powders in a form factor that’s great under makeup or bare-faced. The serum actively combats large pores with astringents, like the other best pore minimizing serums on the list, using blue iris and willow bark to tighten skin. This gel even contains a silica sponge to reinforce pores structure, making this a daily rider for many beauty lovers.