Simple pore appearance reduction for a guy?
June 2, 2021 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Due to getting new contacts, it’s come to my attention that while I wake up to the sight of my girlfriend’s immaculate and smooth face, she wakes up to seeing my pores everywhere. Are there a few simple routines or products (male or neutral as far as scents) I can do to help the situation?
posted by ftm to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant. Wash your face and then use a cotton square with a few generous splashes of this. Amazing. link
posted by nathaole at 7:18 PM on June 2, 2021 [10 favorites]

You might start with a professional facial ... that will give immediate results and then you can get started with your new routine.
posted by cyndigo at 7:27 PM on June 2, 2021 [8 favorites]

A witch hazel toner on a cottonball once a day for trouble spots should help. I like Dickinson’s at the moment, but there are tons of options. Also, do a final rinse with cool to cold water on your face after washing. The cooler water will tighten those pores.
posted by cartoonella at 8:28 PM on June 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding using an acid toner, this one from the The Ordinary is a good, basic one. Washing your face with cleanser and a silicone scrubbie pad like this can also help excavate pores so that the pores shrink back. For more congested pores, using products that contain salicylic acid can go deeper into the pores to clean them out. Finally, use good sunscreen formulated for the face every day.

The steps should be:
Cleanse skin with scrubbie
Apply toner all over (avoiding eyes) by splashing a few drops into your palm and then spread on your face (I prefer this to using a cotton pad to waste less product)
Apply SPF for daytime
Apply moisturizer, especially at night
posted by quince at 8:46 PM on June 2, 2021

I would save yourself a lot of guesswork and see a dermatologist to find the most effective way to do this, to be honest. It’s easy to end up wasting a bunch of money on products that are not suited to your skin or don’t do what you need them to. I have had decent luck with doing online appointments through SkyMD, but that will depend on where in the world you are.
posted by corey flood at 9:49 PM on June 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

I don't notice this sort of thing. But there was this ONE person who I was like, wow, your face is amazing. And that person frequently washed their face with plain water.
posted by aniola at 10:09 PM on June 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

Definitly go to a dermatologist. Each persons skin is wildly different and getting specific products or creams for you will be best. If they have an esthetician attached they can give you a facial and discuss. It took me 3 months and 3 facials to calm my skin down and for my pores not to be just crazy open. I think it’s partly genetic my mom had huge pores. I’m willing to spend time and money not to have pores like that.
posted by pairofshades at 11:12 PM on June 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

I had this big honkin' blackhead, on my cheek. Over the years I tried to get that gem freed up, squeezed it, choked it -- thing did. not. move. I got sick of it last year, went to dermatologist to have him get it out. He says "Oh, no, that's not a blackhead, that's a grindlespoodler." So now I'm like "Jesus h christ, doc, what's a grindlespoodler?" He says "It's's a big honkin' blackhead. Problems is that we can't budge it from out here, I've gotta hack the thing out." and that is what we settled upon, took all of 45 seconds once the skin was numbed; he told me it'd leave no scar at all, and I'm forced to assume he lies to other patients, also -- I've now a small divot dug out. Looks lots better than a deep, large blackhead (grindlespoodler) for sure.

This whole things set me to noticing my face. I had bad acne when I was a kid but that's most all flatted out, the scars lot noticeable. But: I could not help but notice these big pores on my nose. Internet searches told me that it could be resolved using those strips on my nose for 10-12 minutes after I'm out of the shower, maybe twice a week. Success. I don't think that the pores are smaller but rather that they're less full. After reading this thread I know I'll get me some cleaner with salicylic acid and also some with witch hazel.

My experiences with those strips show me that this is a process, not an event. Going to take some time. But I've got time. I'm interested in seeing if these pores actually close, should I keep this up, which I damn sure intend to. Seems also the consensus in here that I'm going to spend some time in a dermatologists office, also. Fun fun fun!
posted by dancestoblue at 11:45 PM on June 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

I use Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild to wash my face daily. I pretty much stopped getting zits once I did. I am not sure if this addresses your need, but thought I’d share.
posted by bruinfan at 5:01 AM on June 3, 2021

Agreed on cleansing then toning with BHA at night, sunscreen every morning, but build up to the BHA starting with every other day. I like the ordinary's alpha lipoic acid, I don't really understand what it does but I use it in place of BHA once a week and it gives me airbrushed smooth skin.
posted by lafemma at 6:20 AM on June 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I started using a pink clay mask once a week or so when I was experiencing some perioral dermatitis, and as a side effect I've noticed that the pores on the sides of my nose consistently look smaller after I use the mask.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:41 AM on June 3, 2021

You can't shrink pores, you can however make them less noticeable. Exfoliation helps them appear smaller the Paulas Choice BHA recommended above is great. Start using it every other day and see how your skin reacts, once you can use it every day no problem add in a moisturizer. Cera Ve make a great no nonsense one that has in everything you need at a good price.

Also throw a facial suncreen into your routine as the sun makes pretty much any facial skin problem worse.
posted by wwax at 7:45 AM on June 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'll second quince's recommendation of picking up The Ordinary's glycolic acid.

I started using that (along with their AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling peel) last year and it made noticeable improvements to my skin texture and appearance. These are more affordable options than Paula's Choice, though equally effective. (I've used PCs products myself but became more economy-minded as I went deeper into consistent skincare).

The thing about skincare is that you have to stay on it and at it -- daily. In the morning and in the evening. Make it a habit like brushing your teeth.

And then of course you need mineral-based sunscreen. I've tried dozens but the best is by an ayurvedic skincare line in New York. Incredible.

Finally, as several folks mentioned above start with a visit to a dermatologist, so you have that out of the way. That will also give you peace of mind. (Although, personally, I wouldn't purchase any of the high-priced products they might try and sell you. The Ordinary offers similar at way more affordable price points).
posted by zenpop at 8:23 AM on June 3, 2021

I would go with the gold standard of skincare, retinoids. Retinoids are anti-aging, treat clogged pores (which makes pores appear larger), acne, scarring, boosts collagen (helps to minimize appearance of pores) and so much more. Here is an extended explanation of retinoids from a dermatologist.

There are plenty of OTC retinoids from inexpensive to pricey. The Ordinary has a few, I would suggest starting with a milder one first.
posted by nanook at 9:07 AM on June 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you go the retinol route just grab neutrogena night wrinkle cream it’s at target, Walgreens etc
BHA paulas choice is great
Yes to cucumber cleanser every morning and night. Also a target item.

It’s really that simple. I’ve been doing it for a week and wow!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:07 PM on June 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Also, if you ever look at the dark dots on your nose and say, "Wow, I've got a lot of blackheads on my nose," chances are that what you have actually are sebaceous filaments. A sebaceous follicle is a hair, usually on the nose, that is connected to an oil gland underneath; a tube called a filament builds up around the hair as oil and dead skin cells accumulate.

Jude Chao (aka Fiddy Snails of the skin care blog Fifty Shades of Snails) has developed a simple and affordable routine to clear out the sebaceous filaments. If you have sebaceous filaments and you're just starting to take care of your skin, this routine could probably be a weekly thing for you; later on, you could drop down to once a month or every six weeks.

The original routine was one-size-fits-all, but Fiddy has updated it and earlier this year released three slightly different versions (all in one blog post), one each for oily, normal and dry/sensitive skin.

Here are the basics:

Apply a 2%-2.5% salicylic acid lotion to your nose and let it sit there for 30 minutes. (Neutrogena Naturals Acne Spot Treatment is inexpensive and has the right pH to work. Same for Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment.)

Without rinsing off the lotion, apply a clay mask according to the directions on the mask packaging.

When the mask is dry, rinse it off with lukewarm water and then apply to your face a thin layer of oil that doesn't make you break out. (I have combination/oily skin and safflower oil from the grocery store works for me.)

After 20 minutes, massage the clogged part of your face gently for 1-2 minutes. You may feel the clogs start coming out. Even if you don't, your pores will still look smaller.

Rinse off the oil with a gentle gel cleanser. (I use Trader Joe's Nourish All-In-One Facial Cleanser.)
posted by virago at 10:28 PM on June 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Everything I know about taking care of my face I learned from Hyram.

Highly recommend, he has a 101 video series that will help you figure out your skin type (important), a basic skin care routine based on your skin type, and he has videos about products that are good but still affordable. Little bit of a time investment to get started but well worth it IMO. Until watching his videos I have been blindly buying products that didn't work and I am now much more informed and have a routine that works for me :)
posted by switcheroo at 10:20 AM on June 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

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