What are pores?
Openings in the skin that carry sweat and oil to the surface of the skin

What causes enlarged pores?
Excess oil production
Sun damage

What treatments are available for enlarged pores?
Alpha and beta hydroxy acids
Chemical peels

While pores are a totally normal part of human skin, some people have large pores. This can be due to a multitude of factors, and help is available. Read on to find more, but remember – the goal is not to eliminate pores completely, but to reduce them to a more average size. 

What are pores? 

Pores are the small openings in your skin that carry sweat and oil to the surface of the skin from sweat glands and oil glands located just under the surface of the skin. Everybody has pores, but they can vary in size. Pores tend to be larger on the nose and the cheeks. 

Why do I have enlarged pores?

Enlarged pores can be due to increased sebum (oil) production, age, sun damage, genetics, and the use of comedogenic products. As we age and with sun damage, we lose collagen and elastin in the skin. These proteins help to support pores, so when they decrease, the pores appear more prominent and enlarged. Acne is often associated with enlarged pores.

How can I reduce the size of my pores?

Pores cannot (and shouldn’t) be removed, but there are treatments available to reduce their prominence.

Ingredients to look for to reduce pore size: 

In addition, sunscreen helps reduce further sun damage, and moisturiser may help reduce oil production. 

Chemical peels, certain lasers, microneedling and TCA CROSS can also reduce pore size.

Dong J, Lanoue J, Goldenberg G. Enlarged facial pores: an update on treatments. Cutis. 2016 Jul;98(1):33-6. 

Flament F, Francois G, Qiu H, et al. Facial skin pores: a multiethnic study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015;8:85-93. 

Lee SJ, Seok J, Jeong SY, Park KY, Li K, Seo SJ. Facial Pores: Definition, Causes, and Treatment Options. Dermatol Surg. 2016 Mar;42(3):277-85.




Spotlight on Skin was created by award-winning Melbourne-based dermatologist, Dr Julia Rhodes.

Julia knows first-hand how overwhelming the skincare world can be, and that’s with over 10 years of experience practicing dermatology. Given that even she gets overwhelmed, she appreciates how hard it can be for those of you without a scientific background to make sense of all the information available, and choose products that are right for your skin…