What Causes Large Pores on the Face?

You can't fight most causes of large pores, sadly.

Photo: Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Large pores on the face detract from your appearance and can make you look dirty, sweaty or otherwise unattractive. You can't shrink pores for real, but you can make them appear smaller by cleaning them up and tightening facial skin. It's going to take work but it's totally worth it for cleaner, clearer skin!

Genetics and Age

The two factors you can't do anything about are the main causes of large pores. As you age, your skin loses its natural elasticity. Skin sags or relaxes, causing pores to look bigger. People with naturally oily skin or naturally thick skin are more likely to have big pores; since their oil glands are active, the skin needs a bigger channel to seep out oil, leading to larger pores. Women with oily complexions appear to age slower, since skin oil combats wrinkles, though pores still appear large.


Pores generally appear larger in summer months, which at least means they'll be smaller the other three seasons. Hot weather increases sweating, which increases your oil gland's output and just puts pores to work getting rid of all that sweat and trapped oil. This vicious cycle will calm down, but pores can appear up to 20 percent larger in summer!

Dirt and Oil

Clogged pores are big pores. The more oil and dirt your pores trap, the larger they'll appear. Cleaning and exfoliating can wash out all that grime so your pores appear smaller. Look for a facial scrub that has alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, which gobble up oil to deep clean pores. Wash in the morning and at night to remove dirt and oil from the surface.

Extra Help

If that's not cutting it, there's more you can do to clean out pores. Try a topical retinol cream or a vitamin C cream or serum to retain skin elasticity and combat pore growth. Use pore minimizing products, from strips to extractors, to deep clean clogged pores that occur in problem areas. Finally, follow up daily cleansing with a toner containing beta hydroxy acids to tighten pores.

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