Enlarged Pores

A Sign of Sun-Damaged Skin


Enlarged pores are one of the five changes that skin undergoes as a result of sun-damage (the others being spider veins, brown spots, wrinkles and sagging skin). We have enlarged pores on our face to begin with, relative to the rest of our skin. These pores can respond to hormonal changes making them produce more oil, and leading to acne during the teenage years-and well beyond. I have a number of patients that didn’t have acne as teenagers, only to get acne and rosacea as adults. Unfortunately, adult acne is more common than most people think. The sun seems to be the biggest culprit in causing enlarged pores, and also contributes to overactive oil glands. Typically our pores get largest on our nose, cheeks, forehead and chin.


A number of topical products can help remove keratin and oils that clog pores, and thus help reduce the size of enlarged pores. Chief among these products are the retinoids (Retin-A like products), and the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid. In addition to unclogging pores, these products may affect the oil glands, themselves, causing the glands and their associated pores to decrease in size. Yellow bumps that appear on sun-damaged skin, called sebaceous hyperplasia, are extreme examples of enlarged pores, and commonly occur on sun-damaged facial skin. They are difficult to treat, and improve slowly with various laser treatments. However, not all yellow bumps are sebaceous hyperplasia; so see your dermatologist if you are developing any new bumps, especially on sun-exposed skin. A yearly skin exam is key for everybody.


Lasers do a great job of shrinking enlarged pores, as do many topical products. A number of the non-ablative lasers are quite effective at improving enlarged pores. A combination of lasers and topical products work best at shrinking enlarged pores.


To answer your specific questions or schedule a consultation, call Dr. Bernstein today at 610-645-5551.


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