Why Are My Pores So Big? What Causes Large Pores and How to Fight Back

face of beautiful woman touching her face skin

If you’ve ever stared at your skin in the mirror and silently, desperately wondered to yourself, “Why are my pores so big?!” – trust us, you’re not alone. Pores may serve an important function as the gateway for natural oils that nourish and moisturize our skin, but they sure do cause a lot of heartache in the process.

Especially when you’ve got the sort of large, cavernous pores that draw the attention away from the rest of your gorgeous face.

So what causes these large pores and more importantly, what can you do about them? Here’s everything you need to know about your pores – and how to get rid of them!

What Causes Large Pores?

It’s the million dollar question ’cause once you know what causes big pores, you can do your part to keep them away from your face. Let’s begin with a quick primer on what a pore actually is – all those tiny dots we call pores are actually the openings of hair follicles.

Each and every pore contains a sebaceous gland, which produces sebum, our skin’s natural oil that keeps it waterproof and moisturized. That’s why we tend to have bigger pores on the parts of the face where our sebaceous glands are bigger, like the forehead and the nose (the infamous T-zone).

But while all of us have pores, some of us have bigger pores than others. Why is that? Well, it comes down to a few factors – some controllable and some not.

Here are the causes of large pores and what you can do about them!​

Oily Skin

Oily skin and large pores go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Batman and Robin, like coffee and donuts, like…well, you get the picture. If you have naturally oily skin and overactive sebaceous glands, there’s more oil that’s constantly passing through the pores, causing them to get bigger.

Excess sebum also increases the likelihood of pores getting clogged and can lead to more misfortunes like blackheads, whiteheads and acne. Not to mention, when excess oil mixes with dirt and debris to form blackheads, it can make pores stand out and look even larger.

​So what’s the solution? Here are the best oily skin fixes…



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Testosterone has been linked to increased sebum production so if that’s a factor behind your oily skin, you need to zap the problem right at the source.

An easy way to do it? Drink spearmint tea. This yummy stuff has been shown to reduce testosterone levels and cut down on oil production. It even helps reduce body hair!


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You may already know all about how blue light therapy helps acne by targeting the acne bacteria and killing it.

But for oily skin, it’s best to go red. Red light is most well-known for it anti-aging benefits but it’s also remarkably good at targeting the sebaceous glands to reduce oil production in the skin. And of course, the anti-aging perks don’t hurt!

Getting Older

As we get older, our bodies produce less collagen and we naturally lose the elasticity in the surrounding skin that supports our pores, causing them to appear bigger.

In general, males tend to have larger pores than females. This may be linked to testosterone, which can increase sebum production. This doesn’t mean women are scot-free, though – women can experience enlarged pores more often during hormonal changes like menstruation and pregnancy.

​So what’s the solution?


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Again, red light therapy is best known for its anti-aging perks since the light energy has been shown to increase cellular metabolism, resulting in an increased production of collagen and elastin.

As new collagen is created, your skin gets tighter, making pores look smaller.


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Natural supplements can help tighten your skin, thus shrinking your pores, from the inside out.

Fish Oil helps rebuild skin cells and improve firmness, Hydrolyzed Collagen replaces the collagen we lose as we get older, and Vitamin C is essential for our bodies to be able to synthesize collagen.


There’s good reason why every dermatologist and skin care expert on Earth recommends retinols and retinoids (retinoids are the stronger prescription version).

Retinols address every skin care concern from acne to oily skin to fine lines and wrinkles. This is a must have to increase cell turnover for tighter-looking skin and pores.

Clogged Pores

Dead skin cells and trapped sebum inside a pore can stretch out the pores – not to mention, make it look darker and more visible.

​So what’s the solution?


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The best way to vacuum suck up the gunk in your pores is with an absorbent mask.

Look for ingredients like Activated Charcoal, which is so absorbent, it can bind up to 800 times it weight in dirt and oil! Clays are also fantastic for drawing out and soaking up whatever plagues your pores.


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Ditch gritty scrubs that roughly slough off dead skin cells on the surface and go for a exfoliants that actually break down dead skin cells and sebum in your pores while increasing cell turnover.

Salicylic acid tops our list for best exfoliants since it’s oil soluble and can penetrate pores for deep cleansing as well as exfoliate surface skin cells.

Sun Damage

Here’s another reason why you should never go without sunscreen: UV rays weaken the collagen and elastic tissue that supports pores and keeps them tight. Without that support, the pore expands.

Plus, sun damage makes your skin thicken and causes your skin cells to collect around the edges of your pores, stretching them out and making them appear larger.

​So what’s the solution?


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Sunscreen (duh)!

Make sure to choose one that offers broad spectrum protection, is oil-free and won’t clog your pores.


You know that urge you get to squeeze out every pimple and whitehead out using all the strength your fingers can muster? Well, resist.

There’s a good reason why skin care experts say not to: if you pick at or squeeze a pimple or blackhead (or whitehead) incorrectly, you can actually damage the pore and make it bigger.

​So what’s the solution?


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If you must get that blemish out of your skin, either get a professional extraction done – you can find discounted offers in your area if you shop around Groupon – or get yourself a Professional Extractor Kit.

They are extremely affordable and will allow you to perform sterile extractions at home without messing up your pores in the process.

Always disinfect your tools, then use the sterile needle end to loosen and then apply a comedone extractor with even pressure to coax it out.


Genetics can influence hormones – which affect oil production and thus, pore size – as well as predispose you to larger pores. For example, if one or both of your parents have large pores, you may have inherited that quality. According to studies, your race can also factor in – in general, fair-skinned people tend to have smaller pores whereas people with darker skin tend to have larger pores.

​So what’s the solution?

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done about genetics. Except…taking things up a notch. If you’re interested in getting rid of large pores for good, read on!

Can You Shrink Pores?

For the longest time, the answer has been a “Well, no…but yes, kind of.” Which, explained, goes something like this: you cannot actually shrink your pores in size. But you can make them look smaller.

If that sounds confusing, here’s an example: when you use a pore minimizing cream, it does not cause the pores to shrink. Instead, it helps the dermis of the skin to tighten. So the diameter of each pore remains the same but it looks and feel like the pores have gotten smaller because the skin underneath has tightened.

Nowadays, thanks to improving technology, there are ways you can visibly shrink pores, ‘though you do need to visit a doctor’s office to do.

If you have large pores that aren’t responding to any over the counter treatments, ask your dermatologist about laser resurfacing treatments like Genesis and Fraxel, which can boost collagen to drastically reduce the appearance of pores as well as scars. Instead of targeting individual pores, they change the structure of your skin from within so it becomes tighter and firmer. The result? Pores look much smaller since the skin underneath is tauter.

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