- ● Pores represent the openings of ducts carrying sweat and oil or sebum from deeper layers of the skin on to the surface.
- ● Enlarged pores vary in their occurrence across ethnicities and age. They are common in both men and women.
- ● Facial pores become prominent with age.
- ● Pores may be almost invisible to the naked eye in the early stages but can enlarge later due to skin damage, age, hormones, genetics and changes in sebaceous function.
- ● Skin pores are of different sizes, ranging between 5–10 μm and 40–80 μm in diameter.
What Are Open Pores?
‘Open pores’ is a misnomer for enlarged pores. The open pores on the skin allow it to ‘breathe’ by enabling the secretion of sebum onto the surface.
The occurrence of large pores on the face is due to the abundance of sebaceous glands specifically, in the ‘t-zone’. Large pores are common in people with oily or combination skin types (due to excess sebum production). The genetics, ethnicity, age, sex, and skin condition determine the presence, size, and distribution of pores.
Below are some images of different types of open pores:
What Causes Large Pores On The Face?
Several internal and external factors influence the size and occurrence of the pores, including the following:
- Excessive Sebum – Hair follicles are tubular in structure. Excessive secretion and flow of sebum causes the enlargement of hair follicle openings and makes pores appear large.
- Increased Hair Follicle Volume – In thicker hair follicles, the diameter of the follicular opening (that forms pore) is higher. As the tubule dilates to allow the flow of oil, it looks larger.
- Genetics And Heredity – Genetic predisposition and ethnicity influence the size of facial pores.
- Ageing And Sun Exposure – Ageing and photo-damage alter the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin thereby, diminishing the skin’s tensile strength and elasticity respectively. This influences the integrity of various structures around the follicles and makes the pores appear crater-like. Therefore, large pores are a common feature among older adults.
- Chronic Acne – Pores in acne-affected skin, clog and develop open comedones. Moreover, inflammatory acne weakens sebum glands and follicle openings and enlarges the pores.
- Hormonal Changes – Hormones may influence the functioning of the sebaceous glands inducing the excessive sebum production, which may, in turn, cause the appearance of enlarged open pores.
- Severe Skin Conditions And Nutritional Deficiency – Chronic radiodermatitis and vitamin A deficiency are other uncommon causes implicated for open pores.
How To Diagnose Facial Pores?
A dermatologist will first perform a visual assessment of the affected facial region. He or she will determine the severity of the condition based on the following criteria:
- Pore size
- Pore locations
- Pore density
- Percentage of skin surface affected
Post-evaluation, the dermatologist will provide a detailed explanation of your skin condition and its root cause. Based on this, he or she will advise you on how to reduce pores on the face through topical applications, oral medications or procedural treatments.
Are You At Risk?
If along with large facial pores, you experience skin infections or acne, you should consult a dermatologist immediately. Keep in mind that:
- Large facial pores are benign, cause no pigmentation, and are not related to other skin afflictions. They are not a medical concern.
- Significant increases in pore size, distribution or density must be brought to the attention of a dermatologist. He/she can ensure the condition doesn’t cause or exacerbate aesthetic concerns.
How To Prevent The Appearance Of Large Pores On The Face?
A regular skincare routine can shrink or reduce the appearance of open pores on the face. Your skincare regime should include the following steps:
- Clean – Using a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser twice daily helps to unclog pores.
- Protect – Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30+ every day to prevent skin laxity due to photo-damage.
- Nourish – Use moisturisers designed for oily skin types. Also use collagen-boosting products, such as retinol.
- Treat – Consult a certified dermatologist to treat acne and sagging skin with oral, topical and procedural treatments to prevent them from increasing pore size.
Recommended Tip – Use only non-comedogenic skincare products and makeup.
Though it is the first line of action for most people, avoid using any products that have not been approved by your dermatologist, and especially stay away from experimenting with home remedies. Much of kitchen wisdom is generalised and does not take into account the individual’s skin type and the underlying cause of the open pores. Using home remedies may increase your risk of suffering from an allergic reaction.
Skin Treatments For Large Open Pores
Enlarged facial pores are challenging to treat due to their multifactorial aetiology. Interventions usually address associative factors, such as excessive sebum production and cutaneous ageing.
Typically, dermatologists use a combination of topical, oral and procedural treatments for reducing open pores. These may include the use of topical and oral retinoids, oral antiandrogens, chemical peels, lasers and micro-needling radiofrequency depending upon the cause and extent of involvement:
- Topical Therapies – This modality includes the topical applications of Tretinoin, topical nicotinamide, Vitamin C, or AHAs.
- Oral Therapies – Your dermatologist may prescribe oral medications such as oral retinoids (Isotretinoin), antiandrogens (spironolactone) and oral contraceptives based on the underlying cause.
- Laser Toning – Dermatologists use Q-Switched YAG laser and fractionated erbium YAG laser to boost the collagen production and mitigate acne scars and open pores. A 2011 study revealed that Q-switched lasers visibly reduce the appearance of pores when used along with photo-activated topical solutions.
- Fractional Micro Needling Radiofrequency – Doctors may use tiny needles to release radiofrequency energy and create thermal zones in the deeper part of the skin. This induces collagen and elastin production and thereby results in the reduction of open pores.
- Chemical Peels – Salicylic acid peels and glycolic acid peels help in the controlled exfoliation of the dead cells, reduce excess sebum production and aid subsequent skin renewal, thus reducing the appearance of enlarged pores.
- Comedone Extraction – Dermatologists use special tools to extricate open comedones (blackheads) and closed comedones (whiteheads) to prevent clogging and subsequent widening of pores.
If you are wondering how to close the open pores on your face; you can do your bit by keeping the skin clean and sun-safe. That said, no treatment can remove pores from your face completely or permanently. However, advanced dermatological procedures can reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and give you a smoother, more radiant skin texture.
If open pores pose an aesthetic concern for you, consult a dermatologist immediately to find out a suitable treatment plan today!