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How to Treat Facial Pores According to Your Skin Type

Pores can seem pretty straightforward: They’re either clogged or clear, large or small. Easy, right? Not exactly. Not all pores are created equal — in fact, facial pores can come in all shapes and sizes, and therefore need to be tended to in different ways depending on your skin type. They need to be treated with targeted ingredients and dedicated skincare for pores in order to stay tight, clear, and as close to invisible as possible. Whether you’re looking for dry face skincare products or are dealing with breakouts, NYC-based dermatologist, Hadley King, MD, walks us through the various skin types and how to effectively treat each pore below.

If you have dry skin:

While those with drier skin often deal with flaking and sometimes itchiness, they tend to have smaller facial pores than other skin types. Of course, moisturizing is key when it comes to hydrating parched skin, but Dr. King also recommends using alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) on dry skin, too. “Gentle use of AHAs can help to chemically exfoliate the outermost layers of skin, leaving the surface looking polished,” says Dr. King. “Over time, AHAs can increase collagen and thicken the skin.” You can find them in our Strawberry Smooth BHA+AHA Salicylic Serum, which pairs AHAs with beta hydroxy acid, or BHA, to gently unclog and refine pores. While it also contains hyaluronic acid and allantoin to keep skin calm, you can also pair it with a serum for dry skin like Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum. It has a whopping five molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump skin from within.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin:

Those with oily and acne-prone skin often have larger pores with active oil glands. For that reason, oily-skin facial pores have a tendency to become clogged. Opt for salicylic acid, or BHA, which you can often find in a face wash for acne, as well as other BHA products. “Salicylic acid is an excellent comedolytic, as it’s oil-soluble and able to penetrate into pores to exfoliate and remove excess sebum,” says Dr. King. They basically take out clogs both before and after they form.

Start with a gentle BHA toner like Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner, which pairs the ingredient with poly hydroxy acids (a gentle cousin of AHAs). Then, follow it up with a BHA serum, like Strawberry Smooth BHA+AHA Salicylic Serum — which is formulated to be a pore-clearing option for most skin textures and types. It contains a 10% Clarity Acid Complex, which is a strategic blend of 2% salicylic acid alongside mandelic acid, azelaic acid, succinic acid, and the namesake strawberry. Not only does this combination refine pores and clear breakouts, but it actively calms skin, too — leaving skin comfortable and pores, unclogged.

Additionally, “topical retinoids also help because they increase cell turnover and decrease the tendency of dead skin cells to clump together and clog up pores,” she says. It might sound intense, but retinol and BHA are a great option for oily skin types.

If you have aging skin:

You might think — since our skin gets drier as we age, that pores in aging skin would appear smaller — but according to Dr. King, that’s not the case. “As our skin ages, collagen and elastin decrease, and laxity increases,” says Dr. King. “This can make pores appear larger because they’re not as well supported by the framework of collagen and elastin.” Translation: They sag.

To treat sagging pores, Dr. King recommends trying AHAs, topical retinoids, and of course, sunscreen. “Alpha hydroxy acids gently exfoliate the outer layer of skin and, over time, can help to stimulate collagen and make the skin thicker,” she explains. Also, consider a firming serum like the Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum. It harnesses the power of peptides — chains of amino acids that function as messengers between cells — to support collagen and elastin production and, as a result, provide that framework Dr. King mentioned. In doing this, the formula can help improve the look of sagging pores, too.

If you have combination skin:

Those with combination skin usually experience oiliness in the T-zone, where facial pores are therefore often the largest. Dr. King recommends treating combo skin similar to how you’d treat pores on oily and acne-prone skin — salicylic acid toner for the oily T-zone area, and topical retinoids for the whole face, as tolerated. Salicylic acid and retinoids can work together to exfoliate dead skin cells while stimulating collagen production for less visible pores.

Also, look for formulas that offer both moisture (for dry areas) and gentle exfoliation (for that oily T-zone): You can find hydrating hyaluronic acid and watermelon — which quickly plump up cell walls — paired with AHAs in the Watermelon Glow Night Treatment. Follow it up with a moisturizer specifically formulated for combination and dry skin like Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream, which pairs hydrating hyaluronic acid with ice willowherb (which helps regulate oil production). The result: Healthy, balanced skin.

To get the nitty-gritty on your pores, keep reading:

Glow Recipe

Strawberry Smooth BHA+AHA Salicylic Serum


Glow Recipe

Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner


Glow Recipe

Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum


Glow Recipe

Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment


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