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Skin pores are a major aesthetic concern and are noticeable on the face, most commonly on the cheeks and the nose. Due to the prime location, they may be a cause of distress for many.

Small skin pores are mere openings of hair follicles and are inadvertently present on the surface of the skin. They pose no medical or aesthetic concern, but when the size of these pores enlarges, it may become important to manage them.

Affecting more than just appearance, large pores, especially open pores, may serve as a medium of infection and can lead to the development of a severe form of acne. But, you need not worry, there are several ways in which you can easily manage open pores at home before any complications arise.

This article will share effective, evidence-based remedies and tips to manage open pores at home. But, first, let’s have a look at the causes and the available treatment modalities for the condition.

  1. Causes of open pores
  2. Open pores treatment
  3. Open pores management
  4. Home remedies for open pores

Open pores are more commonly seen in oily skin types but can occur in any. Following are the causes and risk factors associated with open pores:

  • Excessive production of sebum or oil by the skin
  • Increased volume of hair follicle
  • Reduced elasticity around skin pores
  • Changes in male and female sexual hormones
  • Irritation caused by skin care products
  • Recurrent episodes of acne 

If the size of your skin pores is too large and it is unmanageable by simple measures like exfoliation or cleansing, you may have to visit your dermatologist for treatment. You can also opt for over-the-counter products like creams and lotions to manage this condition. The treatment is mainly focused on reducing the production of excess sebum and the size of hair follicles along with rejuvenating the skin. Following are the available options:

Topical retinoids for reducing pore size

Topical retinoids are based on the formulations derived from vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for the skin. Topical retinoid agents available in the form of creams, lotions and gels form the first line treatment of open pores. They function by reversing collagen and elastin-associated dermal and epidermal changes (changes in the layers of skin).

Researchers have demonstrated that topical retinoids are effective in reducing the size of skin pores and aiding in skin rejuvenation by having an influence on the sebum production of the skin. This can prove to be an effective remedy for all individuals regardless of the presence of acne. Best results are seen with the use of this cream after 28 days on the basis of self-reported data.

Topical retinoid drugs are also available in the form of prescription topical creams, which reduce pore size by causing oil glands to shrink. This causes the skin to dry out making pores appear smaller, but, these effects are only seen until you are using the medication. As soon as you stop the treatment, it is likely that the symptoms may reappear. This is why more comprehensive treatment for open pores may be necessary.

Chemical peel treatment for pores

Chemical peels are a more targeted, safe and inexpensive treatment option, which offer significant pore size reduction. This procedure must be performed by a trained dermatologist.

Chemical peel treatment caters to stimulate the formation of new skin cells by causing injury at the site of pores. This injury is ascertained at a specific depth and site so that it aids in the rejuvenation of skin without causing any complications.

There are a number of peels, but superficial peels, penetrating just the epidermis, are mostly enough for the management of skin pores. These include alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acid derivatives like glycolic acid and salicylic acid. After the treatment, improvement in skin texture and regeneration is expected to occur within 3 to 5 days.

Open pores medicine

Oral drug therapy may be indicated in addition to the topical agents for the management of open pores. This treatment functions by normalising the levels of hormones, which are responsible for cellular changes and excessive oil production.

Antiandrogens are the most commonly prescribed drugs for the management of open pores. These may include oral contraceptives, spironolactone, and cyproterone acetate.

However, due to hormone modulatory effect, these drugs can have serious side effects. It is, thus, important to not take these without a doctor’s prescription. Further, you must keep in mind the specific instructions of your doctor in terms of dosage and duration of treatment.

Laser therapy for open pores

Another treatment option for large pores refractory to oral and topical treatment is the laser therapy. In this procedure, targeted thermal or ultrasound therapy is delivered to the site of the pore. This causes the remodelling of collagen fibres, which reduces skin elasticity and sebum production. Improvement in the appearance of open pores is facilitated by skin pore minimisation over multiple sessions during a 6 week period.

Although sufficient literature is not present on the efficiency of laser treatment for reducing pore size, some clinical studies have shown positive findings. A study conducted on 20 subjects with enlarged pore size demonstrated that certain laser types aid both pore size reduction and sebum lowering with no adverse effects. Dermatologists further say that laser therapy helps in achieving permanent results in such cases.

Now you are aware of all the available treatment options, which you may require if the size of your pores is too large. But, is there something you can do to prevent open pores? Or to manage open pores at home? Sure. Regular skin care goes a long way in the management of open pores. This may save you from subsequent treatment sessions with your dermatologist or at least will help in improving the results of these sessions. Here is a skin care routine you can follow:

Deep cleanse your skin to reduce pore size

Cleansing is inevitably the most important part of any skin care routine, but, it is all the more essential when dealing with open skin pores. Effective cleansing robs off excess oil from the skin, which improves the appearance of pores. Further, it helps to remove dead skin cells keeping the pores from blocking, thus, preventing acne and skin infections.

For best results, it is recommended to opt for face washes containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid derivatives since these have been evidenced to reduce oil production.

Gently wash your face twice a day with the help of these agents. Scrubbing or use of a strong force must be avoided since it will irritate the skin, causing inflammation, which makes pores more visible. Similarly, you must avoid the use of hot water as it is also an irritant. Lukewarm water is the best suited for skin cleansing routines.

Tone your skin to manage open pores

If you have enlarged pores, mere cleansing will not suffice, you need to follow a regular toning routine as well. Toning helps to remove tiny bits of oil, dirt and sebum left after cleansing. You can opt for an oil control tonic, which will work during the day and night to reduce sebum and pore size. For specific results, you can opt for glycolic or salicylic acid products and use them once daily.

Moisturise to prevent open pores

This may sound counterintuitive for oily skin types, but, moisturising is important for all. Just take care to use a good quality, oil-free moisturiser and not overdo it. Mild moisturisation will keep your skin well-hydrated preventing inflammation and irritation of pores.

Exfoliation to treat open pores

Exfoliation is an important part of skin care routine, especially if you suffer from open pores. It helps to reduce pore size and prevents them from being clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria. Clogged pores appear to be larger, so, exfoliation definitely helps to improve skin appearance. It is recommended to exfoliate your skin biweekly with the help of microbeads or clay mask. There are other natural exfoliating agents, which will be discussed ahead.

So you know what a healthy skin care routine must be like, but, does this mean you have to invest in expensive exfoliators and toners for a lifetime? Well, there are some home remedies which work equally well, are easy on the pocket and have no side effects. Let’s introduce you to these.

Cucumber face mask for pore size reduction

Cucumber may be your favourite salad ingredient, but, did you know that the high silica content of cucumber helps in tightening of pores. It also makes your skin look more soft and youthful.

To make a cucumber face mask at home, simply grate a cucumber and mix it with some lemon juice and apply it on your face. Wash with cold water after 15 to 20 minutes.

Sugar scrub to tighten pores

Sugar is a natural exfoliating agent. This makes it the best remedy to combat excess skin oil and to remove dead skin cells. 

Simply, take a tablespoon of brown sugar and mix it with an equal amount of honey. Then, gently rub this scrub onto damp face and wash off with warm water after 15 minutes.

Adding some lime juice will improve the actions of this scrub since lemon is known to pull out excess skin oils owing to its acidic properties.

Lemon wash for pore reduction

Lemon is an excellent agent for removing excess oils from your skin and is a favourite home remedy among those with an oily skin type, but is it helpful for open pores? Other than being acidic in nature, lemon also has significant astringent properties, which assist in pore reduction. This also enables the removal of dust, germs and impurities to keep you away from acne.

To utilise these benefits, squeeze a lemon and dilute its juice with an equal amount of water. Dab on your face with the help of a cotton ball and wash off after 15 minutes.

Honey for pore size reduction

Honey has significant antimicrobial actions, which kills the bacteria and other microorganisms dwelling in skin pores. This helps in keeping your pores clean and avoids infections, while also reducing the pore size. In fact, honey is the simplest home remedy out there for large pores.

Directly apply some honey to the area of pores and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash off with cold water.

Tomato face mask for reducing open pores

Found in every Indian kitchen, tomato is one of the most effective home remedies for pore size reduction. This can be attributed to the presence of an active compound, lycopene in tomato. Further, the acidic content of tomatoes helps to balance off the skin’s oils and maintain skin tightness. 

You can make a DIY tomato mask at home by mixing tomato pulp with some honey and applying it on the face with the help of a brush. After it dries, wash your face with water and notice the difference in texture and pore size.

Aloe vera for open pores reduction

Aloe vera is your skin’s best friend. It helps in cleaning the skin off excess oil and sebum, which are responsible for the clogging of pores. Further, it helps in providing your skin with enough moisture, making it look smooth.

To utilise this benefit, simply take an aloe vera leaf and dissect it to extract aloe vera gel. Now massage this gel into your skin for 5 to 7 minutes. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash with cold water.

Olive oil for reducing pore size

Phenolic compounds present in olive oil and its antioxidant properties not just help in fighting off sebum and reducing pore size but they also have an anti-inflammatory effect. This helps in avoiding skin irritation and skin problems like acne.

Simply dab some extra virgin olive oil and massage into your skin with circular motions. Wash off with warm water after 15 minutes.


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  3. Marta I. Rendon et al. Evidence and Considerations in the Application of Chemical Peels in Skin Disorders and Aesthetic Resurfacing . J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Jul; 3(7): 32–43. PMID: 20725555
  4. MR Roh et al. Treatment of enlarged pores with the quasi long-pulsed versus Q-switched 1064 nm Nd:YAG lasers: A split-face, comparative, controlled study . Laser Ther. 2011; 20(3): 175–180. PMID: 24155526
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