Enlarged Pores

Enlarged pores are usually due to genetically predetermined oil gland size and density.  These are different than true blackheads, although many people call any enlarged pore on their nose a blackhead.  Sebum, which is the oil that is secreted out of the pore, turns black when it hits the air (oxidizes).  This is not dirt, but a chemical reaction.  A blackhead is an open pimple in which oil and other secretions by the gland get stuck and creates a plug in the pore. 

One often hears that you cannot change the size of a pore, you can only make it look smaller.  In many ways this is true.  If you can keep them empty and though, they tend to look smaller.  Topical therapies that reduce oil secretions by direct action on the oil gland are retinoids (Tretinoin, Retin-A, Differin), or retinols {Skinfo Vital Tea Regenerate Serum, SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex}) which can reduce the activity of the gland, which makes the pore appear to be smaller.  Suction with light treatments (Isolaz) may shrink the actual gland.  The best treatment to significantly reduce the oil gland size is Photodynamic Therapy.  This involves a topical agent called Levulan which is activated by light or laser and is absorbed by oil gland cells; some of sebaceous glands get shrunken or even reabsorbed by the body and may actually disappear.  Oil glands are much more plentiful on the central cheeks, forehead chin and nose.