Valerie Monroe
Photo: Patrik Andersson
Q: I've tried everything to get rid of the large pores on my face—a pore minimizer, steaming, massaging—but nothing helps. Is there anything that really works?

A: That depends on what you mean by "get rid of." If you have large pores, they're not going to disappear; you're never going to have skin that looks poreless without makeup. But retinoids like Retin-A or Differin and lotions containing alpha hydroxy or salicylic acid can help shrink the opening of the pores (actually, oil glands), says David H. McDaniel, MD, assistant professor of clinical dermatology and plastic surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Some lasers can permanently reduce pore size, too. McDaniel recommends the Fraxel re:store for both light and dark complexions. You'll need three to five treatments at around $500 each, and there's a one- to three-day downtime.

Keep in mind: To make pores appear smaller, start with an oil-free, water-resistant foundation that delivers a matte finish, says makeup artist Laura Geller. Set the foundation with a tinted or sheer powder.

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