The appearance of large pores is usually caused by overactive sebaceous (oil) glands. This causes the pores to expand to accommodate the excess sebum production. Factors that contribute to enlarged pores include age, male sex, acne, chronic sun exposure and genetic predisposition.
Although there are no effective creams that can shrink pores, using a topical niacinamide can help to inhibit oil flow, decreasing their appearance. Alpha and Beta hydroxy acids and Vitamin A analogues (such as retinol and retinaldehyde) can also help minimise large pores by keeping them clear of debris. Microdermabrasion, chemical peels and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be helpful in reducing the appearance of enlarged pores and there is now evidence to show that both ablative and non-ablative (fractional) laser can reorganise and stimulate collagen, thereby actually reducing pore size. Multiple treatments are required and side effects can occur, but the results can be very good.
Toners are traditionally associated with shrinking pores, but there is nothing scientifically proven to reduce the size of a pore. The tight feeling that toners cause is actually related to the depletion of the skin’s essential oils by astringent ingredients such as alcohol.