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Because Pothole Pore-Pocked is No Way to Go Through Life

By Amalah

ohmygod! MYFACE!
Ok, riddle me this batman. I seem to have GINORMOUS pores around my nose and chin that collect dirt and such. I use a face wash, toner and a water based moisturizer but I still seem to have these craters on my face. Any help shrinking these bad boys?
Thanks so much!
The Laundry Broad

(I’m feeling a mite poorly today, so I chose an easy one. One that will pretty much let me list a heapload of products without a heapload of commentary. Shoot me.)
Okay, so here is your new skincare regimen. You’re welcome!
Face wash: Something mild and clarifying, like Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple. Use this twice a day, morning and night. Chuck your toner, since this stuff takes care of your skin’s PH balance.
clinique.jpgFace treatment: Twice a week, use Clinique’s Pore Minimizer Thermal-Active Skin Refiner (jeez, what a name) after washing your face. This stuff heats up on contact and polishes your pores. Test it first if your skin is super-sensitive and DON’T do what I did once, when I thought, “Hey! This stuff is totally awesome! I bet it would be even MORE totally awesome if I used it every day!” Yeah. I’m a dumbass. Listen to the package and stick with twice-a-week usage.
Moisturizer: Keep using whatever you’re using on your cheeks or wherever you don’t have the pore problem. Then use Philosophy’s Hope in a Bottle moisturizer OR Clinique’s Pore Minimizer Refining Lotion on your troubled spots.
Concealer: Depending on your makeup preferences, there are a couple products you can use to further reduce the visibility of your pores. If you use foundation, TRUST ME, buy some primer. It’ll improve your foundation’s coverage by like, a zillion percent. Guaranteed! (Give or take a billion percent.)
I use the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, but both Clinique and Philosophy make primers specifically for ginormous pores. If you’ve got a Sephora or a department store that carries the lines, go sans makeup and try out Clinique’s Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector and Philosophy’s The Supernatural Poreless, Flawless Tinted SPF 15 (cosmetics companies, I beg of you, lay off these crazy names!). The Supernatural is (obviously) tinted, a bonus if you’re more of the tinted moisturizer or powder type.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Amanda

    December 8, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Long-time lurker, first-time poster… Can I just also add – salicylic acid! I, too, have the craters-for-pores, but a beta hydroxy acid – like salycilic acid – can actually penetrate all the oil and dirt that get stuck in there and help slough it off.
    Check out Paula Begoun’s “Battle Plan for Getting Rid of Blackheads” — she’s got great advice. Her beta hydroxy is a good one; I use it every other night. I also use the Biore pore strips once a week, just to get the surface dirt out.

  • queenann

    December 8, 2006 at 11:41 am

    May I also suggest a clay mask? My personal favorite is Burt’s Bees Pore-Refining Mask with french green clay. From my StyleHive post: This product (formerly known as Burt’s Bees Green Goddess Herbal Spa Clay Mask) clears my MAJORLY clogged pores gently and effectively. Since I have very sensitive skin I usually only leave it on for a little while, and/or mix it with my sensitive skin toner instead of water. I feel refreshed and clean after this mask- not raw or stripped. Excellent product!

  • slynnro

    December 8, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    I have tried and used all of the above products, and I like them all, but my dermatologist recently directed me to a product that has Changed My Life. Seriously. MD Forte Cleansing Lotion III. If your face is extra oily or breakout-y in addition to big pores, this is the stuff. Cleared my skin up completely in a week and not a breakout since. I also recently started using DDF Glycolic toner (available at Sephora), and while it smells like a skunk (literally) my skin has never been smoother, pores never smaller. And I can’t say enough good about the Smashbox stuff. Makes skin sooooooooo smooth.

  • robin m

    December 9, 2006 at 8:27 pm – it’s awesome. And cheaper than almost anything else.

  • Sara

    January 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Dr. Brandt “Pores No More.” It’s fantastic. Use it after primer, before foundation, or in lieu of foundation.