As you collect candles on your birthday cake, your pores can become more pronounced. While you can't shrink them permanently, you can make them look a whole lot better.
Identify your skin type: If you have an oily complexion and that oil gets trapped inside your pores, it oxidizes and becomes dark, creating blackheads. Using serums and creams marked "pore minimizing" once a day can help. These formulas contain mild exfoliants that will dry out pores over time.
Try: Perricone MD Intensive Pore Treatment, $75; sephora.com; or Vichy Noraderm Night Cream, $24.50; vichyusa.com.
Get a smooth start: Makeup primer will fill in tiny holes, making skin look dramatically more even. Finish by dusting on a powder founTdation; it won't settle in pores and can help absorb excess oil.
Try: CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer, $15.99; drugstores; and BareMinerals Ready SPF 20 Foundation, $29; bareescentuals.com.
Nix tiny hairs: Just like oxidized oil, dark follicles can call attention to pores. "If you have black dots on the side of your nose and they
don't clear up with treatment, they may be hairs rather than blackheads," says Ranella Hirsch, M.D. Pore strips are surprisingly good at removing them.
Try: Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, $7.99; drugstores.
Toss your magnifying mirror: "No one's skin looks attractive in one of those—and the truth is it doesn't need to," Hirsch says. "Others see the whole picture, not small flaws." Extreme mirrors encourage picking that can lead to redness and scarring.
Revamp your anti-aging regimen: Age and sun damage also play a role, because both time and UV rays break down the collagen and elastin structures in the skin that prop up pore walls. "They begin to stretch and sag, making pores look larger," Hirsch says. First, be sure you're protecting skin rain or shine with SPF 30, then add a serum or cream that contains retinol (which boosts collagen and elastin production) to your daily routine.
Try: Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle
Serum, $18.99; drugstores.