Face masks for minimising pores

Enlarged and clogged pores can be a cause of great insecurity and lack of confidence; however, the condition — which is very common and caused by numerous factors — has several treatments. One of the most effective ways to minimise pores is through the use of face masks.

On this page, we'll explain what causes enlarged pores and how face masks can be included in your skincare routine.

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What are pores?

Pores are tiny openings in the skin, in which oil and sweat reach the surface from their respective glands below. There are two different types of pores:

  • Oil pores
  • Sweat pores

Oil Pores

Oil pores are also known as our hair follicles, and can be large enough to be seen. The hair follicles allow the oil generated by the oil glands to reach the surface, lubricating the skin. Sebum, the skin's natural oil, plays an important role in keeping the skin moisturised and healthy. Oil pores are the most likely to become enlarged or clogged.

Sweat pores

Sweat pores are very tiny and are rarely seen by the naked eye. These pores also play a vital role, as they allow sweat to travel from the sweat glands to the skin's surface. Sweat assists in maintaining our body temperature through temperature regulation.

What causes enlarged pores?

enlarged pores

An example of enlarged pores on the cheeks

The causes of enlarged pores can vary for each individual. The following are some common causes of enlarged pores:

Genetics — Sometimes larger pores simply run in the family. If a person’s parents have enlarged pores it is likely that the child will ‘inherit’ them.

Ageing — Enlarged pores are often part of the natural ageing process.

Sun damage — UV rays from the sun weaken the collagen that supports pores and keeps them tight, increasing the size of pores.

Increased sebum production — Sebum is an oily, light yellow substance that is secreted by the sebaceous glands that help keep the skin and hair moisturised. Excess sebum production can cause oily skin, which often mixes with other substances such as dead skin, causing a clog. Clogged pores most commonly occur when oil, dirt or dead skin cells start to build up. When a pore becomes clogged, this makes it difficult for the oil to flow freely, which causes the pore to become enlarged.

Makeup & skin care — Common causes of dead skin and dirt are not removing makeup properly and having an ineffective skin care regimen. Failing to clean the skin properly and allowing dead skin to accumulate in the pores is a common cause of blackheads.

Where are enlarged pores most commonly found?

  • Nose
  • Cheeks
  • Forehead

Enlarged pores tend to be found more commonly on the nose. This is due to the large sebaceous glands beneath the skin in this area. This increases the oiliness of the skin on the nose, making it more likely for pores to become enlarged.

enlarged nose pores

Enlarged pores on the nose

Enlarged pores are also likely to occur around the cheeks and forehead. This is due to these areas being a common area for makeup application and the build-up of dead skin cells.

How do face masks for pores work?

Facemasks work on pores by tightening the skin and unclogging anything that is causing enlarged pores.

Clay face masks are particularly useful for minimising pores, as clay clings to dirt, oil and other impurities, and can literally suck them out of your pores. When you apply drying clay masks, they also soak up the skin’s natural oils while they dry. This ultimately minimises the appearance of pores.

Face masks for pores are effective alongside maintaining an effective skin care routine. You can use clay face masks once or twice per week, but not on the same days that you exfoliate.

The antibacterial properties of activated charcoal can also help lift bacteria from the pores.Charcoalhas a gritty texture, so it can gently loosen deeply ingrained dirt particles while absorbing excess oil.

The best skin care routine for minimising pores

It is important to regulate sebum production and oil production. If you have oily skin, try and avoid products that are too emollient, as this can lead to clogged pores. You should also avoid over-scrubbing with harsh scrubs and stiff bristles, as this can sometimes create more dead skin cells that block pores. You can make your pores look smaller and prevent clogged pores by washing your face regularly. You should also follow a daily and weekly face-cleaning regime that consists of the following:

  • Use a gentle cleanser twice a day. Cleansers are vital in keeping the pores clean. Gentle cleansers such as the Garnier Micellar Rose Water Cleanser effectively cleanses without leaving the skin dry. Ensure your cleanser is formulated to clean away dirt and makeup. You should cleanse the skin twice a day, once in the morning and again at night.
  • Exfoliate at least once a week. Try and use a face scrub twice to three times a week- once a week if your skin is particularly sensitive. If you can, find a product that contains salicylic acid, as this ingredient is an extremely effective exfoliant.
  • Use a toner twice a day. Using a toner such as the Loreal Paris Fine Flowers Toner helps to close up your clean pores after cleansing and restore your skin to the correct pH level. Products containing glycolic acid such as the Inkey List Glycolic Acid 10% Liquid Toner also help remove dead and dehydrated skin cells from the surface. If you are using a toner with glycolic acid, we recommend starting with one application every other night and increasing to one daily if desired.
  • Use a moisturiser twice a day for balanced hydration. If you leave your skin to get dry, it can respond by producing excessive amounts of oil that can clog your pores. For minimising large pores, choose a moisturiser that is light and doesn’t contain excessive oil, such as the MooGoo Soothing Moisturiser. Moisturiser provides the hydration your skin needs, and provides a healthy glow.
  • Use a face mask once a week. Apply a face mask once a week to remove excess dirt and unclog pores. Before applying a face mask, ensuring your face is clean and moisturised. Don't use a face mask on the same day that you exfoliate.

The best face masks to clean out pores

Here are some of the face masks we recommend for cleaning out and minimising pores:

Best clay face masks for clogged pores

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Clay Mask 100ml

  • Unclogs pores
  • Controls shine and cleanses deep impurities
  • Absorbs sebum and impurities
  • Prevents future causes of blackheads

Price: €17.55

L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Detox Mask 50ml

  • Draws out impurities
  • Enriched with black charcoal
  • Relaxing fragrance

Price: €12

L'Oreal Paris Pure-Clay Purity Mask 50ml

  • Kaolin and bentonite clay to absorb oils
  • Tested on sensitive skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben-free

The Inkey List Kaolin Clay Mask 50ml

  • Kaolin and smectite clay to remove impurities and unclog pores
  • Non-drying
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Paraben-free, fragrance-free and cruelty-free
kaolin clay

Price: €7.50

L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Glow Mask 50ml

  • Enriched with Red Algae extract
  • Creamy texture
  • Illuminating formula
  • Exfoliating mask
  • Contains beads
  • Relaxing fragrance
loreal glow

Price: €11.99

Best peel-off masks for clogged pores

7th Heaven Cucumber Peel Off Mask

  • For normal, oily and t-zone skin types
  • Easy to use
  • Contains Cucumber extracts
  • Gently peels away dead skin cells

Price: €2.15

Garnier Moisture Bomb Green Tea Hydrating Face Sheet Mask

  • Super-hydrating
  • Re-balancing mask that intensely hydrates, helps mattify skin and pores appear less visible

Price: €4.50

Best charcoal face masks for clogged pores

Vichy Clarifying Detox Charcoal Mask

  • Deep pore cleansing from toxins, dirt and pollution
  • Results in just 5 minutes
  • Mineralizing thermal water leaves the skin feeling invigorated

Price: €18.00

Garnier Pure Active Intensive 3 in 1 Charcoal Anti-Blackhead Wash

  • Wash, scrub & mask
  • Visibly reduces the appearance of blackheads
  • Purifying Formula
  • Removes dirt & impurities
  • Unclogs pores
  • Reduces shine

Price: €8.00

Facemasks for Pores - FAQs

Is applying a face mask everyday bad?

Whilst face masks are good for your skin, it is not recommended to use them every day. This creates risks such as drying the skin out or creating irritation.

Is hot water good for pores?

Whilst lukewarm water is good for your pores, hot water can inflame your face. It is recommended that you use lukewarm water when washing your face, as it can help ensure that your facial cleanser gets the into the pores and balances your natural skin oils.

Should you try and hide large pores with make up?

Hiding large pores with irritating makeup can often lead to further clogged pores and problem skin, such as blackheads. We recommend avoiding excess makeup if you have enlarged pores and being diligent with a good skin care routine. If you have enlarged pores that aren’t minimised through the use of face masks and the right skin care routine, we recommend talking to a McCabes Pharmacy skin adviser about makeup options.

What are the best face masks for pores and blackheads?

Many face masks that minimise pores are also effective at getting rid of blackheads. You can read more about using facemasks for removing blackheads here.

Should you squeeze nose pores?

Squeezing pores can sometimes cause irritation and hyperpigmentation. We recommend reducing the size of pores through effective exfoliation and face masks. If you are concerned about the appearance of your pores, we recommend talking to a McCabes Pharmacy skin adviser.

Do pore strips make pores bigger?

Pore strips are designed to unclog pores and tighten pores when used continually. They will not make your pores bigger, however will bring any dirt or unwanted particles to the surface of the skin.

Are you experiencing skin redness? Read how you can use face masks for skin redness here.