What are enlarged pores? What causes them?
Skin pores are not invisible and everyone has them. The question is how best to minimize pores’ appearance.
The pore is little more than the opening of the hair follicle onto the surface of the skin. The source of the hair follicle lies deep within the dermis. Midway up the dermal layer, the sebaceous oil gland empties into the hair follicle. Both skin oil (sebum) and the hair breach the surface through this tiny aperture. Wherever there is a hair, there will be a pore.
Reasons for Enlarged Pores
Anything that attracts attention or expands the natural shape of pores magnifies their appearance. Genetics may certainly be to blame. Barely visible on those prone to drier skin, individuals with oily, thicker (glabrous) skin tend to have larger looking, more noticeable pores.
Sun damage is another cause. As we age, one of the ways sun damage affects the skin is through the enlargement of the pores. Sun damage and aging cause the epidermis to thicken and a rim of cells are more likely to collect around individual pores. While microscopic, these rings exaggerate pore diameter.
Pores may be more visible simply due to lack of good skin grooming and poor exfoliation. Too much surface oil and remnant naturally shed skin cells can collect around the edges of pores, creating the illusion of the pores being larger than they really are.
Blackheads and enlarged pores often go hand-in-hand. Blackheads can either expand pores or simply focus attention on them. But pores can appear larger than life for many reasons, blackheads being but one of them.
Black Heads Plug Pores
Pores are a natural part of the skin; blackheads are the superficial plugs that may form within them. Pore dilatation begins with faulty exfoliation of cells lining the interior gland – cells are too “sticky” leading to microscopic plugs.
Sebaceous glands continue to produce sebum that accumulates behind the plug. Protracted pooling of skin oils serves to both nourishes bacteria (like P. acne’s and S. epidermidis).
Dead skin cells, oils and bacteria choke the follicular opening, expanding the diameter of the pore. Blackheads – medically termed “open comedones” – are an all too common outcome. Plugs within the pores composed of sebum, cellular debris and bacteria congest the gland and expand the pore. Contact with air allows oxygenation to take place, turning the plugs black, further heightening visibility.
Treatments for Enlarged Pores
Targeting the key factors that cause enlarged pore diameter quickly minimize visibility:
- Unplugging debris
- Eliminating bacteria
- Reducing excessive oiliness
- Removing blackheads
- Smooth out the edges
- Reduce sun damage
- Draw the pores closed