Dermatologist-Reviewed Articles

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Pores Look Big

woman with big pores

While some products can temporarily hide or diminish those prominent pores, they don’t offer a permanent pore makeover. In reality, pore size, oil production and skin type are mostly determined by your genetic legacy. However, knowing a few of the main culprits behind those visible pores might help you choose your skin care routines and products with more care.

1. Acne

Pores are far from static entities, especially if they have to wage a constant battle against acne and inflammation. Old skin cells, excess oil and bacteria can lodge inside of pores, causing visible blackheads or whiteheads. These uncomfortable lesions also tend to cause pores to expand and sag over time. In addition, overactive oil glands at the base of your pores not only increase the likelihood of acne, but also leave behind a sheen that makes pores seem more prominent, especially as skin ages.

2. Harsh Extractions

Years of uncomfortable blackheads or inflamed whiteheads might have led to the questionable picking, popping and extracting of those pesky pimples. Unless a trained professional performed the extraction, rough treatment of inflamed pores often leaves behind visible scarring and the seeming appearance of enlarged pores. Applying pore strips more than a couple of times a week can also encourage the sebaceous gland to go into overdrive, leaving behind an oily and open appearance.

3. Oil Production

The gland at the base of each pore produces a natural oil, called sebum, which protects and moisturizes the skin and hair. While sebum plays an essential role in healthy skin, some people struggle with overactive sebaceous glands. These problem glands lead to oily skin, acne-prone areas and the appearance of larger pores. As skin ages, that oily sheen can also highlight any visible pores or unevenness on your face.

4. Sun Damage

Sun damage remains a looming and ever-present challenge in the world of skin care. Regular exposure to UV rays allows free radicals to wreak havoc on skin cells and decrease the levels of collagen and elastin. Without these two magical ingredients, the cells around the edges of pores can sag ever so slightly, leaving behind the effect of more visible pores as skin ages.

5. Genetics

You can thank your family tree for those pesky, visible pores around your nose or forehead. Lots of toners and facial treatments claim to shrink the appearance of pores, but you can’t permanently change their shape. That’s because the size and appearance of your pores is genetically determined. However, regular cleansing, exfoliation and moisturizing can encourage smoother skin and decrease the prominent appearance of your pores.

This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.

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