Large Pores: Why They Happen And What To Do

UPDATED 24/4/20

Pore size: a bit of a mystery to many, isn't it? Why do some of us have larger pores than others? 

Well, there are some pretty valid reasons for large pores... 

  • Genetics: large pores run in your family
  • Oiliness: those who are oilier tend to have larger pores due to congestion stretching their pores over time 
  • Ageing: as our pores lose elasticity, they become lax

Now, we can't do a whole lot about genetics, but we can definitely act against large pores happening due to oiliness and ageing. 

What is a pore?

Your pores are openings in the skin that allow your skin to secrete things, namely sebum (oil) and sweat. Sebum comes from your sebaceous glands, whereas sweat comes from your sudoriferous glands. Just a nerdie tidbit to keep you on your toes... 

Large pores and congestion

Even if you can't see congestion in the forms of spots or blackheads on the surface of your skin, sometimes pores are still congested on the inside due to a build up of dead skin cells. Too much sebum, for example, in those that produce too much of it anyway, sticks dead skin cells together, meaning that they can't be shed out of the pore as easily. 

Your pores are a bit like elastic bands. They keep their shape due to those two glorious proteins that you no doubt are sick of hearing about, your collagen and elastin. Elastin is what gives your skin stretchiness, and as our skin gets older, what we already have begins to degrade. 

They can lose their elasticity if they are stretched consistently for a long period of time, such as when they are secretly congested, and won't snap back as easily as they used to. 

A fantastic argument to exfoliate regularly with salicylic acid if there ever was one! 

Large pores and ageing 

Now, genetic ageing definitely has an effect on pore size, but extrinsic ageing, ie. that which is caused by smoking, alcohol, sun, stress and sugar, basically hyper-speeds the process of collagen and elastin degradation. 

Studies have shown that skin can look up to 3 and a half years older in those that are stressed - now, imagine how much older you could look if you're a stressed smoker who sunbathes with a big sugary ice-cream. There's no judgement here, as life is life, but if you really want to keep your pores nice and tight, do your yoga, ditch your vino, stub the ciggies and drop the cone. 

What products to use to help alleviate large pores 

Vitamin A 

You can call it vitamin Bae if you want, but in this case, we may judge you. Vitamin A, as well as helping in so many other ways, protects from elastin degradation and tightens up your pores, to the point where when hoomans are using Environ's SkinEssentiA AVST Moisturiser 3, we have to advise that waxing may hurt more due to pore tightness. Yes, really. 

Apply it topically and boost it by getting it internally too with supplements.


Does this need to be said? SPF protects your skin daily from the UV rays that cause damage to your skin, including the very DNA and processes that define the rate at which your collagen and elastin degrades. 

We're loving the Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50 lately, as it is a mineral SPF with super high broad spectrum protection and feels like nothing on the skin. 

 Salicylic Acid 

If you are an oily human, your ideal exfoliator is pretty much always salicylic acid. Here's why: it's actually oil-soluble, which means it can penetrate into the pore to dissolve plugs inside it, unlike its AHA friends, lactic acid and glycolic acid. 

Introduce a salicylic acid cleanser once or twice a week to get in there and clean out those pores.

Environ Focus Care Clarity+ Sebu-Wash Gel Cleanser is a great option as it is relatively mild, yet still effective.

The higher your skin health, the better condition your pores will be in so don't look for quick fixes, make sure your whole routine and your lifestyle supports those little buddies!