Female model with smooth skin against a floral background

Many people would like to improve the appearance of their skin by reducing large skin pores. Feeling uncomfortable or self conscious about one’s skin due to large pores is a common complaint heard by dermatologists today. In order to reduce the appearance of large skin pores, it is important to understand why we have pores and their function in our body. This article will explore the purpose of pores, the reasons why they may appear enlarged, and how to minimize their appearance.

A pore is simply a hole in the skin that extends through several layers of skin, and terminates in a small opening on the skin’s surface. Each hair follicle has a pore, but pores can also exist in non-hairy areas of the body. The human body has over 5 million hairs, but the pores that tend to be cosmetically bothersome are usually found on the face, and are not associated with hair. The pores of our skin exist for several very important reasons. They help protect our skin from wind and cold, they flush toxins out of our skin, help with temperature regulation, and aid in moisturizing our skin. There are, however, healthy ways of reducing the appearance of pores.

Acne can occur on the face, neck, chest and back. Acne can occur for a number of reasons. Common causes are the changes in hormone levels that occur during puberty, birth control intake, and pregnancy. Other causes are certain medications such as corticosteroids and lithium. Most acne subsides by the age of twenty-five, however some individuals may struggle with acne in their twenties, thirties, forties and beyond. While most acne symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter drugs, severe forms of acne can be seemingly resistant to these forms of treatment. For these tough cases of acne, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank can prescribe more potent medications such as Isotretinoin.

Whether an individual’s acne has been mild, moderate or severe, evidence is usually left in the form of scars. Acne scarring occurs as a response to damage in the skin’s epidermis and dermis. The dermis is made up of collagen and elastin that connect in a mesh-like pattern. When damage occurs, the body’s response is to repair the damage. Fibroblasts are cells that repair the damage and produce new collagen and elastin. However, the new collagen and elastin that forms do not assume the same pattern that existed before. This results in inconsistencies in the skin’s texture and tone.

Pores may appear enlarged for a number of reasons, including gender, genetic predisposition, age, sun exposure, and oil production. Oil, dirt, and dead skin cells tend to collect around pores, causing the opening to appear larger. Additionally, oil, dirt, and dead skin cells can block the pore, resulting in acne. When we touch, push, or pop acne on our skin, the pore can become physically damaged and stretched. Exposure to the sun thickens the skin, particularly the rim of the pore, again increasing the physical prominence of the pore. As we age, our skin loses elasticity, thus causing pores to appear larger.

There are many ways to reduce the appearance of pores, starting with home methods. Regular washing of your skin is vital to its health; however, it is important that you use a mild cleanser so that your skin doesn’t become too dry. When the skin becomes overly dry, the body responds by creating more oil to compensate, thus exasperating the problem. Protecting your skin from sun exposure by using a daily moisturizer with SPF will help prevent the rims of your pores from becoming tough and enlarged. Gentle exfoliating scrubs are recommended once or twice a week. Your dermatologist may also recommend that you use topical treatments containing retinoids, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxyl acid, or benzoyl peroxides after cleansing to minimize the appearance of pores.

If these methods are not providing the results you desire, you can discuss further treatment options with your dermatologist. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are used for reducing the appearance of facial pores*. Newer treatments and methods are also being used. From his office, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank offers a Clear and Brilliant treatment to rejuvenate skin, and reduce the appearance of large pores. Isolaz™ is a fast and pain free treatment that results in tighter skin, and thus minimizes the appearance of skin pores*. Photodynamic therapy, a laser treatment, may also be a suitable option for you. Fraxel Restore Dual® and Fraxel Repair® devices offer a range of resurfacing options to help reduce the appearance of large pores. After examining your skin, Dr. Frank will be able to recommend a treatment approach that will work best for you.