By Kathryn Walsh

A magnifying mirror can be both a blessing and a curse. It's great for plucking purposes and for admiring yourself up close, but taking a good long look at your skin is more painful than it is satisfying when you don't like what the mirror reveals. Some people are just genetically predisposed to have large pores. Finding the right products won't make them disappear, but it can make a big difference.

Mixed Race woman splashing water on face
credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/GettyImages
What Really Works on Large Pores?

Understanding Your Large Pores

Because pore size is determined more by genetics and skin type than anything else, dramatically shrinking them isn't a viable option. A thorough skincare regimen may help minimize large pores, however. Each pore is an opening for a hair follicle. Dead skin cells, oil, dirt and products collect in the pores and make them appear large and noticeable, especially when the clog is dark. Regularly clearing out that gunk helps make them look smaller.

Keeping Pores Clear

So how do you keep your pores free and clear? Exfoliate the skin regularly to break up any blockages. Look for a gentle exfoliating cleanser to use each day (or every few days, if you have sensitive skin), which should contain some type of grit that scrubs the clogs out of the pores. Alternately, add a chemical exfoliator to your skincare collection. These products contain ingredients like salicylic and lactic acids, which dissolve clogs in the pores. They're harsher than gritty exfoliators but tend to be more effective.

Try DIY Pore Treatments

Store-bought products laden with chemicals can dramatically improve the appearance of large pores, but they're not your only options. An egg-white mask is a favorite of many people with large pores, who say that this mask tightens the skin. Simply beat an egg white until it's frothy, spread it across the skin until it dries (around 10 minutes) and rinse it off. It's not a permanent solution but may "shrink" the pores before a big night out.

Another beloved home remedy is a paste made of baking soda and water. It works as a natural exfoliator. Gently rub the mixture onto clean skin and rinse it away. Even spending a few minutes steaming your face by leaning over a bowl of hot water (with a towel over your head to trap the steam) may help reduce the appearance of pores, when it's done before exfoliating. Steam should help loosen anything trapped in the pores.

Applying Makeup Over Large Pores

Some women who are troubled by large pores actually make the problem worse by caking on tons of makeup. Not only will the product eventually settle in the pores, making them more noticeable, but it will contribute to clogs. Start by applying a noncomedogenic primer, which gives the skin an even base but won't clog pores. Apply matte foundation with a sponge or brush instead of your fingers. Avoid luminous foundation, which may make pores more noticeable.

Taking your makeup off correctly is just as important as putting it on correctly. Use a cleanser made to remove makeup, and rub a wet cotton round across the skin to make sure that all product is removed. If any makeup appears on the round, wash again or use a gentle exfoliator.