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What Causes Open Pores on the Face?

What Causes Open Pores on the Face? What Causes Open Pores on the Face? What Causes Open Pores on the Face?

Hair follicles appear as tiny holes along the surface of the skin throughout the body. Aside from providing support for the roots of your hair, every follicle contains sebaceous glands, which constantly lubricate the skin with sebum--an oily mixture of dead skin cells and nutrient byproducts. Depending on the cleanliness of the follicle and the width of your hair strands, these holes, also known as pores, can appear more open, or enlarged.


According to the magazine, "Best Health," the size of the pores on your face depends on the girth of your facial hairs, which comes from genetic factors related to hair and skin development. That is, if your parents and extended family tend to have larger pores on their face, you are more likely to inherit the trend as well. Other factors may affect the appearance of pore size, but pores do not actually grow any larger than your DNA allows.

Debris Removal

Over time, pores can become clogged by excessive oil production, dead skin cells, bacterial infection or dirt. In some cases, this may result in the swelling of your pores associated with acne. The blockage of the pores by what Georgetown University labels as a comedown or plug can leave behind a temporarily enlarged pore once it is removed.

Likewise, as the body sweats, it may unclog pores, heightening the extent to which they appear open. Consequently, activities like sauna bathing and using a steam room are often linked to having more open pores. However, "Best Health" magazine points out that pores do not actually contain muscles and cannot, therefore, "open up." In fact, they only appear that way following the removal of debris.

Aging and Sun Damage

As you age, your skin loses much of its tightness, becoming increasingly saggy and less elastic. As a result, "Best Health" says that facial pores can seem larger than usual in late adulthood. For similar reasons, sun damage can also enhance the appearance of larger facial pores by reducing the firmness of the surrounding skin.


Certain facial scrubs offer to remove debris from the surface of the face in an effort to free you from acne and breakouts. However, as you clear away blackheads and whiteheads, you leave behind the terrain of clean, open pores. If you would rather create the illusion of continuous, smooth skin, you can apply other cosmetic products, such as a concealer or foundation, to mask the appearance of open pores on your face.

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