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How To: Reduce the Appearance of Enlarged Pores

Enlarged pores. Many of us complain about them, but how do we actually address the problem? We’re so glad you asked. Given how common of a skin concern this is, Dr. Perricone has devoted much of his time and research to discover solutions that really work. Let’s explore a bit more, shall we?

Causes of Enlarged Pores

To put it simply, the size of your pores is proportional to the size of your oil glands. The causes of most acne symptoms (such as blackheads and pimples) are partly responsible for enlarged pores. When a pore becomes clogged by dirt and bacteria, the oil within that pore builds up and causes the pore's walls to dilate to make room. Acne symptoms appear when pores cannot expand fast enough to accommodate for this increase in oil; but once the pores expand enough, acne clears up. But with that being said, there are two main contributors to enlarged pores: genetics and age.

Enlarged Pores and Genetics

In general, people who have inherited naturally oily or thick skin are likely to have larger pores since their oil glands are more active and, as a result, need a bigger opening for releasing oil. On the bright side, there are benefits to this type of skin as we age---oily skin retains more moisture, which can help counteract dry skin and visible wrinkles. In rare cases, people may have dry skin and still have large pores. In this circumstance, there's a chance these people may have seborrheic dermatitis.

Enlarged Pores and Age

Collagen begins to break down as we age, causing our skin to lose elasticity; this results in causing our pores to dilate since the skin tissue basically becomes more relaxed. One of the contributing factors to visibly aging skin is sun damage, which also causes your pores to look larger. Sun damage causes inflammation, and the thickening of the flared up skin cells can cause tiny cells to collect around the edges of your pores---this is what makes your pores appear bigger.

Pore Size and Nutrigenomics

Of course, hormones can also play a role in pore size. The good news is that there’s a ray of hope that lies in the emerging field of study known as Nutrigenomics, which focuses on the relationship between diet and gene expression. This research investigates questions such as how food influences gene expression, and how genes influence the way individuals absorb and metabolize different types of nutrients.

Turn Your Genes On

Using Nutrigenomics, we can actually change the way genes are expressed and how that information is transmitted simply by manipulating different aspects of our diet and lifestyle. For example, we know that by eating many of the foods included in Dr. Perricone’s anti-inflammatory diet, we can:
  1. Switch on protective genes
  2. Switch off genes that may have a negative effect on our health
By eating anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding pro-inflammatory foods, we can help treat skin problems from the inside out.

Blood Sugar Basics

Whether it’s from poor diet or stress, when our blood sugar and insulin levels rise we can experience a serious increase in inflammatory chemicals at the cellular level. This causes inflammatory diseases such as acne—and all of its signs, such as enlarged pores, clogged pores and blemishes—to worsen dramatically. Stress is another culprit, which can also precipitate acne outbreaks.

A Clean Slate

To prepare skin for topical treatments, it’s crucial to thoroughly cleanse your face both morning and evening. This helps eliminate any debris which, if left on your skin, can prevent topicals from doing their job. We recommend cleansing with a cleanser that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as alpha lipoic acid (ALA) or Vitamin C Ester.

Avoid Thinning Skin

As you may already know, it's best to avoid any harsh scrubs and other more extreme treatments; these can be extremely pro-inflammatory and damaging to the skin, leading to thinning over time. However, by eliminating surface debris, dead skin cells and makeup, your skin will not only look and feel younger and healthier, but also appear porcelain-smooth and positively glowing. So if you do choose to exfoliate, opt for less harsh products such as Blue Plasma (an added bonus: no rinsing required!).

Topicals to the Rescue: Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE

Alpha lipoic acid is unsurpassed at tightening pores that have become enlarged from heredity, sun damage, aging or overactive oil glands. DMAE, on the other hands, helps redefine skin’s texture, improving the appearance of overall tone and helping to decrease the appearance of large pores. Our recommended solution to fighting the appearance of enlarged pores? A topical treatment containing both ingredients, such as our Intensive Pore Treatment.


Of course, what you eat also plays a large role in the appearance of your skin, and enlarged pores are no exception. Following the anti-inflammatory diet can help control excess oil and stop blackheads, breakout, whiteheads and clogged pores before they even begin to form. This means controlling your blood sugar and insulin levels by avoiding sugary, starchy foods. Cold water fish—like wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, etc.—high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids act as natural anti-inflammatories and offer great benefits to the health and appearance of your skin. But that's not all; they also aid in the reduction of stress chemicals such as cortisol, which can worsen acne and its accompanying signs and symptoms. Eating foods rich in Vitamin B2 also helps to reduce stress, and includes foods such as spinach, almonds, eggs and mushrooms. So while it’s impossible to physically shrink the size of pores, you can dramatically change their appearance through a combination of topical treatments and dietary changes.