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What Is a Dilated Pore?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 21, 2024
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A dilated pore is a condition in which a small skin tumor forms within a hair follicle. Dermatologists often call the resulting bump an open comedo, although it does not have the exact same cause as acne blemishes from excess sebum. This skin problem may also be called a dilated pore of Winer, and it typically appears in adults over the age of 40. Slightly higher numbers of men rather than women usually get one of these skin lesions. Most are harmless, although a small, rare number can turn cancerous. People with these large and noticeable blemishes often seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.

Most of these tumors appear on the face, upper lip, forehead, or neck. A few rare outbreaks can also happen on the chest or back, and one can normally occur as a solitary lesion due to the structure of the follicle tumor. This kind of tumor can form due to several factors associated with the skin's natural aging process. The breakdown of collagen in the skin can allow the walls of a hair follicle to weaken and collapse, trapping dead skin cells and surface dirt so that they are difficult to completely remove. A hard mass eventually results.

Each pore can vary in size and severity, and some people can successfully treat minor cases with exfoliating skin scrubs that their dermatologists recommend. A consistent regimen of skin care for older adults can usually help reduce the appearance of minor dilated pores. Unlike most acne blemishes, most of these pores are not initially red or painful unless sufferers pick at or squeeze them on a regular basis. Skin care experts advise against this habit because it can sometimes cause pores to become infected.

A dilated pore can occasionally form close to an oil gland just under the skin's surface. This type of blemish can grow to a larger size due to regular secretions of sebum that become trapped within the follicle even after exfoliation. A dermatologist can sometimes lance and excise one with a simple surgical procedure, although many patients find that the lesion forms again once the skin heals. Some individuals with severe and persistent pore problems have this procedure done more than once before the issue is permanently corrected.

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Discussion Comments

By anon952059 — On May 19, 2014

I had a Winer pore removed. These are very deep lesions that must be surgically removed via punch biopsy and then examined. You cannot scrub them away.

Depending where they are, a dermatologist may refer you to a plastic surgeon to achieve a good cosmetic result.

By Tomislav — On Oct 04, 2011

@Speechie - I do not think enlarged pores are the same as dilated pores. I think to be a dilated pore it must project from the skin, like a small blemish or something like that. From what I have seen pictures of, it may be a very small protrusion on the skin, but still a protrusion.

I would use a mild facial scrub at night, or in the morning, making sure to wet your face with warm water to open your pores and rinse the scrub off with cold water to close your pores. This may help your pores shrink some and also may help you feel better. A face wash with vitamin C or retinal is good because it increases elasticity and collagen, decreasing the size of pores.

By Speechie — On Oct 04, 2011

I was wondering if I had dilated pores on my face. I have this area on my face that covers my nose and into the beginnings of my cheeks that looks like it has large pores.

So if large pores are dilated pores, I would definitely have to say that I have dilated pores. I have always had them, I can remember one boyfriend years ago who called them my strawberry patches, because if you think of a strawberry's skin it has all those little black seed indentions on the outside.

I have never been an exfoliate-er, as my face always seemed dry enough from running around outside, but maybe the running has only increased the amount of dead skin and debris that needs to be cleared out of my pores!

By Azuza — On Oct 04, 2011

@starrynight - I can sympathize with that. Whenever I get a blemish, I find it really hard not to pick! However, a few skin infections has pretty much cured me of that habit.

Anyway, it seems pretty unfair that this can happen when you get older. Most people already have to deal with acne as teenagers. Then when you become an adult, you finally think you're done with it. Not so!

By starrynight — On Oct 03, 2011

My mom had one of these not too long ago. At first she thought it was just a regular pimple, and she was confused. She hadn't had a blemish in years!

After awhile, it didn't go away, so she went to the doctor. The doctor was able to treat her dilated pore with just a scrub, and he congratulated her on not picking at it. He said that most patients he sees with dilated pores end up with an infection because they just can't leave the blemish alone!

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