What Determines Pore Size?

Young woman resting her head in her hands

The physical size of your pores is determined by genetics and can be affected by sex hormones (including your menstrual cycle) and skin care routines. Those with fair skin usually have small pores while those with olive or darker complexions usually have larger pores. See this study on pore size and ethnicity for more information. If you have dry skin, you probably have small pores. If you have oily skin and acne, decreased skin elasticity or  more facial hair, chances are that you have larger pores (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26918966). Some people's pores get larger as they age.

However, the appearance of your pores can be reduced by:

  • wearing sunscreen
  • not popping pimples
  • cleaning and moisturizing regularly and exfoliating 1-3 times a week
  • using noncomedogenic (won't clog pores) products that contain clay (face masks) or witch hazel (face toner)

There are some treatments available, such as topicals, oral anti-androgens, laser, ultrasound, etc., but there's little evidence available to determine the effectiveness of any of these methods.

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