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What Factors Influence Pore Size?

C. Sadowska
C. Sadowska

Pores provide an opening for the skin’s oil glands and a follicle for hair growth. Some people want to reduce the size of the pores on their face for aesthetic reasons, but pore size is mainly predetermined by genetics. If a person is born with large pores, he or she will have a difficult time trying to change this fact. Other factors that affect pore size include skin type, blocked pores, and collagen production. Environmental factors can also play a role in determining pore size.

Skin type, which is also generally determined by genetics, is one factor that can influence the size of a person’s pores. People with oily skin tend to have larger pores while people with dry skin generally have smaller pores. This is also why many pores tend to be larger around the nose where skin is often oilier. When oils collect on the skin, they can clog pores and cause pores to appear larger.

Smoking cigarettes reduces the amount of skin collagen.
Smoking cigarettes reduces the amount of skin collagen.

Pore size can increase due to environmental debris and dirt. Cleansing skin thoroughly twice a day may help to keep dirt from building up in pores. Cosmetic products, particularly foundation products, can also sometimes clog pores. People who are prone to large pores may want to be careful about which cosmetic products they choose and be sure that they thoroughly remove the products before going to sleep.

Using an exfoliant can help clean out pores.
Using an exfoliant can help clean out pores.

Acne, or blackheads, is another thing that can block and stretch pores. In this case, acne treatments, such as a face wash containing salicylic acid, can help reduce the size of pores. Regular exfoliating can help prevent acne and other types of pore blockages that cause an increase in pore size.

Collagen helps skin maintain elasticity and people with less collagen will appear to have larger pores than those with healthy collagen production. The aging process can reduce the amount of collagen in the skin. Sun exposure can also reduce collagen and cause skin to age prematurely. Smoking cigarettes also reduces the amount of collagen in the skin.

Acne blemishes can lead to enlarged pores.
Acne blemishes can lead to enlarged pores.

Some studies have shown that maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water can sometimes help keep skin healthy and help pores appear smaller. Microdermabrasion is another technique for reducing pore size. In this procedure, a dermatologist uses a machine that removes the outer layer of skin and suctions dirt and blackheads out of the pores. For some people, it might also stimulate increased collagen production.

Discussion Comments


@croydon - To some extent though, I think that people need to just accept that they have large pores. It's not the end of the world and I'll bet no one notices as much as the person looking in the mirror at them all the time. And no one would care either.

It's just a genetic thing, like the color of your eyes. You can try to change it a wee bit, but most of the time the most you can do is cover it with makeup (which often doesn't look good!).

Better to just accept it and play up your strengths.


@irontoenail - I always think it's sad when I see people who have bad acne, because it is genetic and there is often quite a bit a doctor can do to help that you can't do at home.

That said, if you want to reduce your acne and pore size you should definitely try to control the oil on your face. Over production of oil is the worst offender when it comes to skin problems.

Another thing I find helps with me is to exercise to the point where my face starts sweating.

I think the sweat cleans out the pores and helps to keep them clear, although of course you need to wash it off your face ASAP when you get home.

It won't do much to help shrink your pore size, but it also won't hurt and if you lose some weight, that can also help your skin.


I've suffered from acne my whole adult life and I always thought it was just something I had to put up with. I had really large pores as well, and my bad skin was something I was kind of ashamed of, particularly since it made me feel like people would think I just wasn't washing it properly.

Unfortunately, whenever I tried over the counter stuff, I ended up breaking out even worse than before, and my skin became more and more sensitive.

I just gave up in the end. But then I was at the doctor for some other kind of check up and happened to mention my skin. Within ten minutes she had prescribed me some ointment and pills. I pretty much thought they simply wouldn't work, but I decided to be vigilant about applying them the way she said I should.

Within a week, my skin had cleared up and even my pores are looking smaller. It's such a relief.

I wish I had gone to the doctor about it earlier. If you possibly can, and you have the same problem, you should check this out as an option.

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    • Smoking cigarettes reduces the amount of skin collagen.
      By: Roman Samokhin
      Smoking cigarettes reduces the amount of skin collagen.
    • Using an exfoliant can help clean out pores.
      By: kubais
      Using an exfoliant can help clean out pores.
    • Acne blemishes can lead to enlarged pores.
      By: badmanproduction
      Acne blemishes can lead to enlarged pores.