Open pores refer to the small pores on the skin, particularly on the nose, cheeks, and forehead that allow the skin to breathe.

The skin basically has two types of pores. One which produce an oil known as sebum and have hair follicles. These have sebaceous glands that allow for sebum production. Hormones play a major role in the production of sebum. The second are those that produce sweat. These are so tiny that they are not even visible to the naked eye.

When we talk about open pores, we’re talking about the sebum producing pores. They are called open because of their enlarged appearance. While having pores on the skin is only normal and not linked to any health problems, when these pores are a wee bit too prominent and visible, they are considered to be a cosmetic concern.

People with darker skin have more apparent open pores than those who have a fairer complexion.

Can you close open pores?

There is no such thing as closed pores. The pores on the skin are always open. These pores don’t only let skin breathe but they also maintain its moisture content and keep it hydrated. Moreover, open pores keep skin healthy as they flush out toxins.

The idea that pores can be closed is a misconception. In the same way several people also think that open pores can be made smaller in size which is another myth. Pores cannot be contracted. Their appearance, however, can be minimized in many ways.

Can your pores grow in size?

Just like pores cannot shrink, they also do not normally grow in size. Several people believe that pores increase in size as one ages. In truth, age doesn’t make the pores grow. It’s just that pores become more obvious with age as skin starts to loosen up and sag. Sagging happens due to lack of elastin and collagen, the production of which reduces with age.

However, pores can look bigger due to several reasons. Some people have open pores owing to their genetics. Someone in their family tree has large open pores and passes the heredity on to them. Overproduction of sebum can also cause open pores to appear larger. If dirt or debris gets trapped inside the pores, this can also make them look bigger.

Blackheads, which are caused by the oxidation of sebum, must not be scratched. Messing around with those can cause pore size to increase. In the same way, picking on acne can also result in enlarged open pores.

A common conception is that sun exposure can help decrease pore appearance by drying the skin up. In truth, it’s the opposite. Excess sun exposure can make pores appear larger. What happens is that when the skin gets overly dry, the sebaceous glands increase oil production for hydrating it which can cause over oiling. This, in turn, makes pores appear bigger.

In the same way, washing your face too many times a day can also result in making pores appear larger. Moisture is striped, sebum is overproduced, oiling is caused, and pores look bigger. Experts recommend washing the face once or twice a day.

Can makeup help hide open pores?

Women can use cosmetics to hide their facial flaws but using makeup for reducing the appearance of open pores is a regrettable move. Makeup does not hide open pores. Instead it makes them more prominent. That is because dirt and debris are attracted to makeup. Together makeup, debris and dirt settle into the pore and make it look bigger. This is why, it is essential to cleanse makeup off before heading to bed.

So, what can you do to reduce the appearance of pores?

To make pores less visible, one can start by improving his skincare routine. One must use a good moisturizer and exfoliate at least twice a week. A toner can also be used, and it works because it is able to make skin firmer. A good cleansing routine is very important to ensure that dirt and debris do not get clogged. Unless one is allergic to it, salicylic acid containing face washes can help.

One can also go for facial steaming and use masks such as a clay mask or an oatmeal one. These can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.

Other than following a good skincare routine, one can also seek treatment options from a professional. He may recommend a retinoid or salicylic acid oral or topical medication. Or he may recommend a combination treatment. Other options of reducing pore size include procedures such as chemical peels, laser resurfacing, IPL photofacial, etc.

Staying hydrated, eating a proper diet, not picking on blackheads, whiteheads and acne are some preventative measures that one can take. Over exposure to the sun must be avoided as it can cause damage.

Do men have open pores?

Men also have open pores because pores are a part of the skin. In fact, typically, men have larger pores than those of women. Men are also bothered by their open pores and may seek treatment too. According to a poll conducted by Loreal Paris, while men worry about their own pores, more than 50% of them do not even notice those of women.

However, open pores are such a huge concern for women that the same survey also showed that more than half of the women are more bothered by enlarged pores than by wrinkles even. Another thing that one should know is that being extremely obsessed with one’s pores to the extent of constantly noticing them and lamenting over their existence is actually a condition called porexia.


Enlarged open pores can make one feel insecure about his appearance. However, these pores cannot be contracted. Their size does not change. Since they are a part of the skin and perform essential functions, they cannot be eliminated.

There are ways to make them less obvious, these include following a proper skincare routine and visiting a dermatologist for treatment for reducing their appearance.