Besides acne, oily skin and large pores are two of the most common skin complaints. While they don’t have negative effects on your health, they can be flat out annoying. Large pores can be unsightly, and oily skin can be uncomfortably greasy. These problems are frustrating, but thankfully, there are products and steps you can take to minimize their effects on your appearance.

What Are 'Large Pores' and How Can You Get Rid of Them?

Before getting into the best products for oily skin and large pores, there is one important concept to understand.

While you might read about products that “shrink pores, or get rid of large pores” the reality is you can’t actually do anything to change the size.

Pore size is determined primarily by genetics, and they don’t open and close.

But, You Can Minimize Pores Appearance

While you can’t change the size, you do have the ability to minimize the appearance of large pores by keeping them clean.

Pores become less noticeable when you develop a cleansing routine that targets pore-clogging debris.

Here's how you can minimize the appearance of large pores:

1. Cleanse Your Skin Regularly

Cleansing the skin will remove any pore-clogging debris on the surface of the skin, such as dirt, bacteria, sunscreen, or makeup. To keep the surface area clean and prevent pores from clogging further, it is recommended that you cleanse your skin twice a day.

2. Incorporate an Exfoliant

Exfoliating helps remove debris that is in the pores. When it comes to reducing the appearance of pores, chemical exfoliation is key. The best chemical exfoliating ingredient to use to get deep into the pores is salicylic acid, which is a BHA.

BHAs are able to penetrate deep into the pores, dislodging any debris that is clogging them up. Once this debris is removed from the pores, they will be much less noticeable. BHAs are oil-soluble, so they are also suitable for people with oily skin.

You can apply a BHA product once a day, although it may be necessary to use it every other day if dryness occurs.

The Importance of Not Stripping Oily Skin

Another thing to address is the temptation to use harsh products to counteract oily skin.

People with oily skin often feel like they need to “strip” all the oil from their face.

This means they may try to wash their face more than twice a day, use products with a high concentration of active ingredients, or use products (like a BHA) too much.

FYI - Some Oil is OK

While the temptation is understandable, these practices can actually do more harm than good.

When the skin is stripped of its natural oils, it is prompted to trigger an increase of oil production – which just makes matters worse.

On the same token, while you might think you can skip out on moisturizing, a facial lotion is key.

Even when oily, your skin still needs hydration to balance oil production and condition the skin. They key is finding a lightweight facial lotion. You’ll read about two great options below.

7 Best Products for Oily Skin and Large Pores

Now that we have an understanding of how to get rid of the appearance of large pores and oily skin, we can get into the top products you should add to your medicine cabinet. These are the 7 best products for oily skin and large pores.

1. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser (Face Wash)

Best Products for Oily Skin and Large Pores

By keeping your pores clean, you significantly reduce their 'large appearance'

This cleanser contains three essential ceramides (1,3, and 6-II) and hyaluronic acid, which provide a moisturizing and gentle cleanse. It also has niacinamide, which is anti-inflammatory and calms the skin. The fragrance-free cleanser effectively sweeps away any pore-clogging debris on the surface of the skin, without drying or irritating. This cleanser is particularly useful for oily skin, as it is gentle and won’t strip the skin of its natural moisture – which will only promote an overproduction of sebum.

How to Use: Wet your face with lukewarm water. Dispense about a dime-size amount of product onto your fingers. Use circular motions to gently massage the product into your face for about 30 seconds. Rinse off with lukewarm water, and gently pat dry with a towel. Use twice daily.

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2. Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser (Face Wash)

Cetaphil-Gentle-Cleanser for Oily Skin

A more gentle option is the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. This is more suitable for those with normal to oily skin.

Cetaphil is a dermatologist recommended skincare brand, and the Gentle Cleanser is another excellent cleansing product for oily skin. The cleanser has a creamy, non-foaming consistency that effectively removes debris from the face. It conditions while cleansing, so it doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils. Additionally, it is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic.

How to Use: Wet your face with lukewarm water. Dispense about a dime-size amount of product onto your fingers. Use circular motions to gently massage the product into your face for about 30 seconds. Rinse off with lukewarm water, and gently pat dry with a towel. Use twice daily.

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3. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (Exfoliant)

Paulas Choice 2% BHA is perfect for oily skin and large pores

2% BHA is the second step at reducing the appearance of large pores. By keeping your pores clean, you dramatically reduce their appearance

This is one of the most popular chemical exfoliating products available on the market, and is one of the best products for oily skin and large pores. It is incredibly effective when it comes to getting deep into the pores to break up debris, but it is also gentle on the skin. On top of making pores appear smaller, this product can minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. It has a lightweight texture that absorbs into the skin quickly.

How to Use: This should be applied on clean, dry skin. Soak a cotton ball or round, and sweep the product across any area where large pores are an issue. This product can be used all over the face (avoiding the eye area). Do not wash off the product. Use once a day, but cut down use if dryness occurs.

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4. Paula’s Choice Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA (Exfoliant)

Paula’s Choice Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA (Exfoliant) 

Paula's Choice 4% Advanced is preferred for stubborn blackheads and large pores

If you need a product with a bit more of a punch, this is the stronger sister-product of Paula’s Choice 2% BHA. It works similarly to the above product, unclogging to reveal pores that appear smaller. Since it has a stronger concentration, it is more likely to cause some irritation or dryness, so use with caution. Start with every other day application, and then build up to daily use if your skin tolerates it.

How to Use: This should be applied on clean, dry skin. Soak a cotton ball or round, and sweep the product across any area where large pores are an issue. This product can be used all over the face (avoiding the eye area). Do not wash off the product. Use once a day, but cut down use if dryness occurs.

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5. CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (Moisturizer)

CeraVe-PM-Facial-Moisturizing-Lotion

Because you'll be cleansing and exfoliating away excess oil, you'll want to replace moisture with a light weight gel moisturizer. This will not clog pores or cause oily skin.

People with oily skin still need to apply a moisturizer to restore moisture that is lost during cleansing and from using potentially drying products, like a BHA. This drugstore find is one of the best products for oily skin and large pores. It is oil-free, non-comedogenic, and lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about it clogging pores or feeling too greasy. It is formulated with niacinamide, which calms the skin, as well as ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which lock in hydration. While it is marketed towards night use, it can be used day or night – just be sure to use a sunscreen during the day.

How to Use: After cleansing and applying a serum (like a BHA product), dispense a pump into your fingers. Gently massage the product into your skin.

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6. Paula’s Choice Invisible Finish Gel (Moisturizer)

Paulas-Choice-Skin-Balancing-Invisible-Finish-Gel-copy

Another option is Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Gel. This will restore needed moisture, and not cause clogged pores or breakouts.

This moisturizer from Paula’s Choice is another effective option to add moisture back to the skin. The ultra-light formula is hydrating but won’t feel greasy on oily skin. It contains calming niacinamide, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants that protect the skin and minimize the signs of aging. This moisturizer is fragrance-free, and won’t irritate the skin. Like the CeraVe moisturizer, it can be used day or night, as long as it is paired with a SPF during the day.

How to Use: After cleansing and applying a serum (like a BHA product), dispense a pea-size amount into your fingers. Gently massage the product into your skin.

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7. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay (Face Mask)

Aztec-Secret-Indian-Healing-Clay

Clay masks can be utilized 1-2x weekly for additional maintenance. They certainly are not required.

Clay masks are some of the best products for oily skin and large pores, as they absorb excess oil and dissolve impurities in the skin. This clay mask gets deep into pores to draw out any pore-blocking clogs. It is made with 100 percent calcium bentonite clay, and doesn’t have any additives or fragrances. It is recommended that you mix it with apple cider vinegar, which has an exfoliating effect, but you can mix it with water, as well.

How to Use: After mixing with your liquid of choice, apply a thin layer of the mixture all over your clean, dry face (or just to affected areas). Leave it on for 5-15 minutes. Wash away with lukewarm water. This mask can be used 1-2 times per week.

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The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 'getting rid of large pores. However, you can minimize your pores appearance by using the right products.

Those products include: gentle cleanser, exfoliating BHA products, and lightweight moisturizers.