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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a triple-board-certified dermatologist with over 100 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Open Pores Treatment - When Size Really Matters!

Updated: Jun 2

Are you constantly worried about the size of your pores every time you look in the mirror? Are you looking for some viable open pores treatment options? If so, then you've come to the right place. This post explores the various causes of open pores and how you can make them less noticeable.

Open Pores on Face

Open pores, for all means and purposes, are nothing but a dilatation of the pilosebaceous units on your face. These pilosebaceous units are the openings of hair follicles on your face connected to the duct of sebaceous glands.

What Causes Large Pores

Enlarged pores are a genetic trait, and for most of us, their appearance is just as inevitable as aging itself. As we age, the collagen in our skin gradually decreases. While this collagen is at its peak in our 20s, more than 40% of collagen is lost in the next 4 decades of life. In fact, compared to women, men tend to have intrinsically larger pores.

But there are a few modifiable lifestyle factors that contribute to open pores.

  • Smoking is the most important external factor responsible for the untimely appearance of these unsightly pits on the face.

  • Wearing heavy makeup for hours at an end is a common contributory factor that suffocates your skin.

  • Relentless sun exposure without appropriate sun blocking is also an important factor.

In short, open pores are inevitable, but the right skin care practices can definitely help in delaying their appearance.

Open Pores Treatment Options: How to Minimize Pores on Face

Look for products that say 'non-comedogenic'

The word “non-comedogenic” simply means that the product you apply to your skin will not clog your pilosebaceous units. Whenever a pore clogs, it expands, making its appearance more noticeable.

In order to avoid the clogging of pores, be on the lookout for terms like 'non-comedogenic', 'oil-free', or 'won't clog your pores' on the label. In short, if your label doesn't scream pore-friendly, it's not!

If you are looking for moisturizer recommendations, you can also refer to my article on the best dermatologist-recommended moisturizers for oily skin.

Cleanse your worries away

I cannot emphasize this enough, but the best and cheapest skincare routine that you can adopt is simply washing your face with a gentle cleanser twice a day.

People with dilated pores tend to have oily skin and greatly benefit from salicylic acid. The salicylic acid face wash is something that would kill two birds with one stone. It not only keeps your pores crystal clear but also tackles the problem of excessive sebum production. Another good substitute is a Benzoyl Peroxide face wash. Truderma facewash and Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash are the two products that I have found useful.

Salicylic or Glycolic Acid-based pads like the QRx Acne control pads are also an excellent option when you are on the go!

Retinol to Rescue

Retinol serum

Retinol has perhaps been one of the most talked about skincare active for the better half of the last decade, and for good reason. This versatile molecule not just targets signs of aging and dark spots, but is also a potent anti-acne and pore-firming agent. People with large pores benefit from products containing retinol or retinyl palmitate. It is best to use retinol at night. Although, after you wash your face, I would strongly recommend that you wait for at least 30 minutes before applying retinol. Here are my two favorite retinol serums CeraVe Retinol Serum and Sesderma Retiage Antiaging Facial Serum.

If you are pregnant or lactating, don't use any products containing retinol.


SPF 30 Sunscreen

I scream, you scream, we all scream for sunscreen! As a dermatologist, sunblocking is the one unsolicited skincare advice that I keep spreading like confetti. People with dilated pores must, however, say a big NO to silicone or cream-based sunscreen and use an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen gel instead.

For more sunscreen recommendations, you can read my article on dermatologist recommended sunscreens for oil skin, dry skin and others.

Professional treatments

Despite the availability of such a wide range of ingredients in pore-targeting products, open pores are notorious for being resistant to most therapies.

Under such circumstances, you might consider seeking your dermatologist for professional skin care procedures,

You might benefit from in-clinic procedures like

  • Micro-needling using a derma roller,

  • Microdermabrasion,

  • HydraFacial, and

  • Laser toning

In short, pores might be pesky but not invincible! Although the size of pores can't be magically reduced, with the right skin care their appearance can be minimized.


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