Skin Care, Skin Care Problems

​Get to the Bottom of Your Pores: Everything You Need to Know


What are pores?

Pores are depressions in the facial skin surface that contain one or more openings to the ducts carrying sweat and oil from their respective eccrine glands and sebaceous glands.

Who gets pores?

Enlarged pores can be seen at all ages and in all ethnic groups. Certain ethnic groups may have larger pores, particularly those of African and Indian ancestry. Pores often appear larger with age.

There are conflicting data on whether men or women are more prone to large pores. In women, pore size may fluctuate during the menstrual cycle, with the largest pore size occurring during ovulation.

What causes enlarged pores?

Factors that may lead to enlarged pores include:

  • Increased sebum production
  • Hair follicle size
  • Use of comedogenic products
  • Loss of skin elasticity with age
  • Sun damage.

Acne is associated with enlarged pores — when sometimes open comedones (blackheads) can be seen within a pore. Inflammatory acne may cause enlarged pores through weakening sebaceous gland and hair follicle openings, making them more prone to blockage.

Sun Exposure

Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of enlarged pores. UV radiation from the sun damages collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Collagen and elastin give skin its strength and elasticity. When these fibers break down, skin becomes looser and more prone to wrinkles and sagging. This loss of elasticity causes pores to enlarge.

Tanning also plays a role. Exposure to UV rays thickens the outer layer of skin, causing pores to become more noticeable. The increased melanin production that causes tanning makes pores appear darker and larger. While some sun is needed for vitamin D, excessive unprotected sun exposure will accelerate aging of the skin and enlargement of pores over time. Wearing sunscreen daily is crucial to minimize sun damage.


Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products can contribute to enlarged pores for several reasons:

  • Chemicals in tobacco smoke like nicotine and carbon monoxide degrade collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen and elastin are proteins that keep the skin firm, supple and elastic. When they break down, the skin loses its bounce and resilience.

  • Smoking reduces blood flow and oxygen supply to the skin. With less blood flow, the skin doesn’t receive enough nutrients and moisture. This leads to dryness, dullness and a loss of radiance.

  • The toxins in cigarette smoke cause premature aging and loss of elasticity in the skin. This makes pores appear larger over time. Smoking just 10 cigarettes per day for 10-20 years can lead to visible changes and aging in facial skin.

By avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, you can help minimize pore size and maintain a fresher, younger-looking complexion. The toxins and chemicals in cigarette smoke degrade the structural proteins in skin, reduce blood flow, and accelerate aging. Making the choice not to smoke will help pores stay tighter and smaller.


Dehydration is a major cause of enlarged pores. When skin becomes dehydrated due to lack of water, it can lead to dry, flaky skin. The top layer of skin is made up of dead skin cells that naturally slough off over time. However, without proper hydration, these dead skin cells don’t shed properly and can build up in pores. This causes pores to stretch out and appear larger than they really are.

Drinking plenty of water is key for reducing the look of enlarged pores. Water helps to plump up skin cells and keeps the skin’s moisture barrier intact. Staying hydrated also helps flush out pores to prevent dead skin cell buildup. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day for hydrated, glowing skin. Drinking water throughout the day will keep skin looking supple and pores free of excess debris.


Certain medications can contribute to enlarged pores by increasing oil production in the skin. Some of the main culprits include:

  • Corticosteroids – These anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisone can stimulate the sebaceous glands, leading to increased oil production and clogged pores.

  • Lithium – This mood stabilizer used to treat bipolar disorder is known to enlarge pores in some patients. The lithium impacts the skin’s oil glands.

  • Androgens – Both endogenous and exogenous androgens, like testosterone, can overstimulate oil glands and pores.

Other medications potentially linked to enlarged pores:

  • Anabolic Steroids – Illegally used for bodybuilding, anabolic steroids mimic the effects of testosterone, increasing sebum production.

  • Amphetamines – Drugs like Adderall used to treat ADHD may also rev up oil gland activity.

If medications are contributing to your enlarged pores, talk to your doctor about potential alternative treatments or remedies to counteract the pore-clogging side effects. Adjusting the dosage or switching prescriptions may help in some cases.

Treatment Options for Enlarged Pores

There are several ways to treat enlarged pores, ranging from over-the-counter products to in-office procedures.

Over-the-Counter Creams and Scrubs

Many drugstore skincare products claim to shrink pores. Look for products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid. These exfoliating ingredients help remove dead skin cells and excess oil from pores. Products like cleansers, toners, scrubs, peels, masks and spot treatments containing these ingredients can help minimize the appearance of pores with regular use.

Prescription Retinoids

Retinoids like tretinoin and tazarotene are vitamin A derivatives that can help unclog pores and increase cell turnover. This helps pores appear smaller over time. Prescription retinoids are stronger than over-the-counter retinol products and may cause irritation, so it’s important to ease into using them slowly under a doctor’s supervision.

In-Office Procedures

More intensive in-office treatments can also treat enlarged pores. These include:

  • Laser treatments: Ablative and non-ablative lasers can help tighten pores by stimulating collagen production. Multiple treatments are usually needed.

  • Chemical peels: Medium-depth peels with glycolic or salicylic acid can reduce pore size by exfoliating dead skin cells. Several treatments may be necessary to see results.

  • Microneedling: Microneedling creates tiny injuries in the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin. This can help tighten pores with a series of treatments.

Our Skincare Soaps

Our handmade skincare soaps contain ingredients like charcoal, salicylic acid and tea tree oil to cleanse deeply, absorb excess oil and exfoliate dead skin cells from pores. With regular use, our soaps can help minimize pores and improve skin texture and clarity. Our Charcoal Soap Bar draws out impurities from pores with activated charcoal. Our Salicylic Acid Scrub Soap and Normal Salicylic Acid Soap exfoliate with salicylic acid to keep pores clear. Used as part of your daily skincare routine, these natural soaps can help visibly reduce enlarged pores over time.

Our Skincare Soaps

Our skincare soaps are specially formulated to help cleanse enlarged pores gently and effectively. We offer three main products:

Charcoal Soap Bar

The charcoal soap bar contains activated charcoal, which is known for its ability to draw out impurities and toxins. Charcoal deeply cleanses the skin and detoxifies pores, helping to remove excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. With regular use, the charcoal bar can minimize the appearance of enlarged pores. It leaves skin feeling fresh and clean.

Salicylic Acid Scrub Soap

This exfoliating soap contains salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that softens and loosens dead skin. As you use the textured soap, it gently scrubs away dead cells and impurities clogging pores. Salicylic acid also helps regulate oil production. The soap smooths skin texture and refines pores for a clearer complexion.

Normal Salicylic Acid Soap

Our normal salicylic acid soap contains a lower percentage of salicylic acid. It is gentle enough for daily cleansing of acne-prone and oily skin types. The soap helps dissolve pore-clogging oil and exfoliate dead skin cells. With regular use, it can help minimize pores and control excess oil and shine.

All our skincare soaps are made with natural ingredients that cleanse skin without over-drying. They can be used daily as part of a skin care routine to improve enlarged pores.