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 the oil and other things that are secreted by the glands gets 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, then they will look smaller.  Topical therapies that reduce oil secretions by direct action on the oil gland are retinoids (tretinoin, Retin-A, Differin, retinols {Skinfo Vital Tea Regenerate Serum 3x, SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex}) 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 I know of to significantly reduce gland size is photodynamic therapy.  This involved a medicine called Levulan that is activated by light or laser and is absorbed by oil gland cells; some of these get reabsorbed by the body and may actually be eliminated.  Sometimes people tell us that no matter how much they squeeze their pores, more oil always comes out. This is because this is the function of the oil glands!  These glands are much more plentiful on the central cheeks, forehead chin and nose.