Enlarged Pores

Enlarged pores, also known as open pores, are a common skin concern that can also be scars from acne or repeated extraction trauma (see acne scars). The presence of enlarged pores cause an uneven/rough skin texture and uneven skin tone appearance. Enlarged pores are usually due to two factors: 1) overproduction of sebum (oil) and 2) loss of collagen leading to skin laxity. (See below image)

  1. Enlarged pores are commonly seen on the nose, paranasal (areas next to the nose), chin and glabella (central lower forehead area). If the pores have oxidized sebum, they are commonly called “blackheads” due to the black color sebum changes after reacting with air. (See below image)

  2. If the pores have non-oxidized sebum, they can be called “whiteheads”. These sebum containing pores can occasionally develop into acne lesions. (See below image)

  3. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to enlarged pores, and may experience them from a young age while some can be caused by factors such as aging, sun damage, or prolonged exposure to certain chemicals or irritants.


Treatment Options:

  1. Topical treatments: Topical treatments such as retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids, and salicylic acid can help to reduce sebum production and unclog pores thus improving the appearance of enlarged pores.
  2. Laser therapy: Various types of laser therapy can help to stimulate collagen production, tighten the skin, and reduce sebum production which can improve the appearance of enlarged pores.
  3. Microneedle Radiofrequency (RF): Microneedle RF involves small needles very quickly penetrating the skin perpendicularly and emitting RF energy to stimulate collagen and reduce sebum production before exiting the skin. (This is different from roller-type microneedle devices)
  4. Hydro-Microdermabrasion: This can help to exfoliate the skin, remove sebum via suction and thus temporarily improve the appearance of enlarged pores.
  5. Enlarged pores can be challenging to treat, and the results of treatment may vary depending on the severity and type of enlarged pores. If the enlarged pores are combined with various types of scars (from acne or extraction), this can make the treatment and prognosis more complex.