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These Work for Enlarged Pores

enlarged pores
April 26, 2018 Reviewed by Marta 8 Comments

I am prone to the odd open pore and, like most of us, can become obsessed with treating them and even (I know, I know….) squeezing them. Recently, I had an epiphany and it has led me to find successful solutions to minimize, refine and even obliterate open pores without jabbing at them with pincered fingernails.

The term pore refers to the openings of adnexa at the skin surface. Open pores are associated with sweat secretion and oily skin. I do think that the open pores on my nose qualify as oil/sebum related. There is also the clogged pore issue. As sebum is produced by the skin’s oil glands it cannot reach the surface and starts accumulating inside the pore, expanding its diameter. Dead skin cells, oils, and bacteria pool in this follicular opening, often leading to the formation of blackheads.

However, the activity of the sebaceous glands diminishes with age whereas the number of visible pores appears to increase with age. So something else must be going on. The open pore or two smack in the middle of my cheek where the skin is dryish did not look to be the result of oil, no amount of exfoliation helped and my fingers twitched every time I looked in the mirror. Then I reflected on another cause of open pores.

The theory is that the pore walls are slackening due to decline of the matrix (elastin and collagen). And, according to the Silab (a laboratory that has developed an ingredient called p-Refinyl based on lentil extract), dilated pores are also caused by an abnormally accelerated keratinization process, leading to the accumulation of nucleated cells around the pores.

So based on all of this, there are three types of problematic pores and, therefore, they require different solutions:

Oil and Sebum-Related Open Pores

Look for salicylic acid since it is oil-soluble and lipophilic and penetrates sebum filled follicles and cleans out clogged pores. You'll find it in ClarityRx Fix It 2% Pore Perfecting Solution ($34 in the shop). A natural form of salicylic acid is found in neem, which is a key ingredient in Skinveda Amlaki Chamomile Cleansing Crème ($27 in the shop).

Clogged Pores

One of the best treatments is the daily peels by Dr Dennis Gross, based on his famous in-office procedure. Dr. Dennis Gross Universal Alpha Beta Peel ($88 in the shop) uses alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), including glycolic, citric, lactic and malic, plus one beta hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid. It is worth noting that BHAs go a bit deeper than AHAs and will loosen dead cells that are lodged deep in the pores.

Medik8 White Balance Cleanse ($57 in the shop) is a powder to foam exfolating cleanser that makes pores a thing of the past with volcanic perlite and micro-fine particles from bamboo stem extract. Plus there's a skin refiniing oxyresveratrol.

Sagging Pores

I’ve only ever come across p-Refinyl in a product by Murad. But there are two other approaches that are very successful: growth factors and Relistase. As our reviewer Denise noted when testing ReLuma Skin Illuminating Serum ($145), this powerful growth factor serum dealt with fine lines and wrinkles with the added bonus of shrinking pores. E’shee Cellular Repair Serum ($179 in the shop) with FGF1 growth factor and the E’shee KI Therapy ($189 in the shop) has FGF1 and Far Infrared Ceramic Powder, which boosts the efficacy of some growth factors. Relistase is a peptide that boosts type 1 collagen giving the skin tensile strength and, according to the manufacturer, the ability to resist stretching. Relistase isn’t in a huge number of products, but notably is in YBF Control serum ($160 in the shop).

  • May 14, 2014

    by Meg

    I have enlarged pores as well due to aging and acne prone oily skin. I have tried a few of the most pure growth factor creams, but because of a sulfur sensitivity (not sure what has sulfur in it in these creams), I get stomach aches, facial puffiness and other reactions after using them. This is a very tricky question, but do you know of any growth factors that do not have ingredients high in sulfur in them?

  • May 5, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Tammy
    The best approach is to introduce just a couple of things at a time, finding out what works best for. I would definitely start with a good cleansing routine with a facial brush and pore closing cleanser such as Snowberry's Remineralizing Toner Cleanser For firming your eyelids and dealing with eye bags, I'd recommend AQ Eye Serum and since you don't have wrinkles then start with a simple but good anti-aging moisturizer such as Arcona Desert Mist (good for anyone with a T-zone issue). If you want to push the boat out and have a great product that will keep wrinkles at bay and help with the neck and marionette lines then I'd go for something like BRAD Ultra Elastin

  • May 4, 2014

    by Tammy


    I am trying to choose a products or two that is right for me. Whilst your website has lots of info but it is very overwhelming for someone who hardly used much products in the past and since I believed I had oily T zone, I quite often did not use moisturizer in my younger days.

    I am 52, reasonably good skin almost blemish free but I still have the occasional breakout and I have large pores around my nose and cheeks and chin area with whiteheads and blackheads, my upper eye lids are beginning to sag, eye bags are appearing and marionette lines around my mouth and also sagging skin around my neck. I don't actually have any fine lines yet but I see them on my cheeks when I smile, not sure if that is just due to dehydrated skin or what. Please advice with a few suggestions. Thanks.

    I love your website.

  • May 7, 2013

    by Marta

    To keep it simple Monique, I would suggest Mad Hippie's Vitamin C, mentioned in this post - it should control oil and tighten pores. For rosacea, I would suggest Sevani Advanced Complexion Corrector

  • May 7, 2013

    by Monique

    I'm 42 and have multiple issues with the skin on my face. I thought I escaped most of the skin problems during my teens but as an adult I seem to have more problems than ever. I believe I have the oil/sebum related pores and possibly the clogged pores on my nose, but I feel that I may also have the sagging pores issue on my cheeks where my skin is dry. To add to all of this, I deal with rosacea, mainly on my cheeks. Is there a product (or two) that can tackle my issues adequately without me having to spend a lot of time and money?

  • March 16, 2013

    by Joan

    Also Alba Botanicals' Acne Dote Invisible Treatment Gel has the lentil extract (although they don't call it p-Refinyl ... it's the INCI name on the ingredient list.

    The other big active in that product is salicylic acid ... so it kind of does double duty - oil and sebum related open pores and sagging pores.

    At less than $10 for 1/2 oz, it's a great deal. Excellent for large pores on the nose.

  • March 15, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi N/A, the reason I broke the article down into three causes is to help find the right product for your needs. If you are not sure which kinds of symptoms you have then email us at and we'll try to help.

  • March 15, 2013

    by N/A

    how in the world would you know which one to chose from????
    To many listed and at the cost your asking???
    Who can afford to pick the right one????

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