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What Are Open Pores?

What Are Open Pores? What Are Open Pores? What Are Open Pores?


Those small holes through which your hair emerges-pores-receive their fair share of attention. Folks with oily skin often have enlarged pores that are more prone to being clogged. People often seek to "open" their pores when cleaning their skin, or to "close" their pores because they are more visible than they'd like. However, many common perceptions about "open" pores are actually inaccurate.


The tiny holes on the surface of skin that hair emerges through are called pores. Along with housing a hair follicle, pores have a sebaceous gland and are the route for sebum, which is the skin's natural oil, according to Good Skin Health. Some pores are larger than others, so are more visible and appear "open." Their size is attributed to the size of the oil gland and hair follicle they contain, according to the August, 2009 Best Health magazine article "Myths and Truth About Your Pores," by Kristen Vinakmens.


Pores don't actually have valves or doors that "open" and "close." Nor do they have muscles. Thus they do not actually "open" at all, according to Vinakmens. People who steam pores to "open" them are actually loosening underlying debris. It's easy to see where this commonly-accepted advice comes from, however, as steam makes it easier to extract blackheads.


The term "open pores" often is used interchangeably with enlarged pores. Oily skin, aging, and sun damage that thickens the epidermis can makes pores look larger, according to Good Skin Health. Pores that are clogged will be more visible as well, as debris will stretch them temporarily, according to Vinakmens. Pores can be clogged with dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria, according to


A person cannot "close," get rid of, or shrink pores. People can only take measures to make them less visible. Prevention such as using sunscreen and gently cleansing and exfoliating the skin work best to combat enlarged or "open" pores, according to Good Skin Health.

Azelaic acid

Some health care providers recommend azelaic acid to prevent and treat "open" pores. It is available in two concentrations, 20 percent and 1 percent. The acid helps relieve the congestion within the pores that distends them, according to the Aesthetic Surgi Center of Lahore, Pakistan.

Home Solutions

At home, people can take measures to combat "open pores." recommends making your own deep-cleansing mask and using it weekly. Use Fuller's earth clay, found at health food stores, or honey or yogurt. Also include strawberries, bananas, citrus fruits, strawberries, rosewater or apple cider vinegar. Exfoliate twice a week with a product that has an ingredient that will dissolve build-up in the pores such as beta hydroxy acids, salicylic acid or glycolic acid.

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