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Why Your Pores Are So Big (And How To Make Them Smaller)

close-up woman skin
Photo Credit: Getty

Let’s talk about pores. You know, those tiny openings on your skin holes that seem to be keeping you from flawless, smooth skin. Like everything else on your skin, pores have an important function to maintain a healthy skin barrier. However, they can be pretty annoying when they get bigger and more visible on your skin. 

[SEE ALSO: How To Minimize Oily Skin In The Summer]

But, they don’t have to be the bane of your beauty regimen. We’ve pulled together some key reasons why your pores seem so big and how to get them down to size.

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Before we even get into how to get rid of them, let’s break down what purpose your pores serve. Your pores are openings of hair follicles on the skin surface. A sebaceous gland is located inside each hair follicle, which produces a mixture of fats and lipids called sebum. This sebum builds up inside the follicle and exits through the pore to help protect the skin.

Now let’s get into it!

Blocked Pores

Although sebum production is a healthy process that keeps the skin moist, it also carries skin cells that are constantly dying inside of the follicle and can block the pore on their way out. Those blocked, or occluded, pores then stretch and appear larger. Pores can also get clogged with makeup, sweat, and some skincare ingredients. 

When buying skincare products and makeup try to avoid pore-clogging (comedogenic) ingredients. Some of these are olive oil, coconut oil, dimethicone, isopropyl myristate, and isopropyl palmitate.  It’s also very important to wash your face after a workout to remove sweat and bacteria. Most important of all, ALWAYS clean your face at night, even if you’re tired and you just want to pass out. Cleaning your face at night will keep your pores clean and free of makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and dead cells.

Skin Aging

There is scientific evidence that correlates skin elasticity with changes in the size of facial pores. This means that as we age, our skin loses elasticity and pores increase in size and become larger and elongated. One study even shows that aging pores eventually connect to form long cavities that appear as wrinkles. I bet you didn’t know this!

So the best way to prevent this is to protect your skin against everything that can break down collagen and elastin. These two proteins are responsible for skin elasticity and firmness. 

Try limiting sun exposure and cigarette smoke. Always protect your skin with sunscreen and look for skincare products that will enhance skin cell renewal such as retinoids, hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, or mandelic acid), and antioxidants (especially Vitamin C and E). Both retinoids and hydroxy acids will stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, while antioxidants prevent oxidative damage to skin proteins.

Gender & Genetics

Unfortunately, there are things we can’t change – gender and genetic predispositions. However, changes in your skincare routine and lifestyle can help you prevent pores from enlarging, keeping them small and undetectable.

Gabriela Manrique

Gabriela Manrique is a biotechnology engineer with a Master’s degree in Translational Cosmetics and Dermatological Sciences that loves to write about the science behind beauty and skincare products. She’s here to help you find out which products and procedures are worth buying and trying!

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