Why are my pores so big?

Why are my pores so big? You’ve probably asked yourself this questions many times.  To understand what causes large pores you must first know what pores are and what function they play in the health of your skin.

What are pores?

Skin is composed of tiny openings where the hair shaft extends out through the follicle, or pore, and although we are not covered in hair like a Sasquatch or hairy ape, we do have hair mostly everywhere in our bodies.

What causes large pores?

Think of the hair follicle as a tall tube where at the top, the hair shaft protrudes out, and at the bottom, there is a small gland off to the side, producing an oil called sebum.  This sebum is a mix of cholesterol, inorganic salts, proteins, and fats.  This sebum, or oil, is excreted through the follicle, or pore, as the cells regenerate and renew themselves.  Since skin cells are in a constant state of renewal, meaning life and death of cells, the sebum is there to carry those dead particles out of the opening.

Why are my pores so large? This diagram explains why your pores are so large.
Diagram of a hair follicle

Sweat glands also are present on the skin.  Sweat, however, does not come out through your hair follicles but sweat contains salt that if left on your skin, can clog your pores.

If these oils (sebum), sweat, and dead cells, are not exfoliated and remain stuck in the hair follicle, then you can get acne in the form of blackheads or whiteheads.

Why are my pores so big?

So why are my pores so big, you ask?  People with oilier skin tend to have larger pores.  This is not all bad news because as you age, skin tends to lose its elasticity and moisture so if you have oily skin now, as you age this will be a bonus since dry skin causes premature wrinkles.

Your gender also plays a role in the size of your pores.  Males typically tend to have larger pores than women.  Men perspire more while women glisten and unfortunately for men, this means larger pores.

The size of women’s pores may also fluctuate depending on hormonal factors such as menstruation or pregnancy.

Why are my pores so big?
Close up of enlarged pores

Large pores are also hereditary.  Your genetics influences everything about you. If your mom and dad had large pores, then chances are that you also will have or do have large pores.

Having large pores can be a bummer, especially for women because our culture emphasizes beautiful flawless skin as a sign of health, vitality and youth.  Make up goes on smoother on a tight youthful complexion and we are constantly surrounded by photos of models with flawless skin and flawless makeup.


What we fail to realize is that most of the photos of these supermodels are Photoshopped or airbrushed.  The good news is that there are many things you can do to make your pores look smaller.  Through the use of make-up and proper skin cleansing you can minimize the look of your pores.