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What causes enlarged pores?

Everyone wants flawless, “poreless” skin but the truth is everyone has pores, but their size varies from person to person based on both genetic and environmental factors.  The facial “pores” that people are typically referring to are actually hair follicles that contain sebum-producing sebaceous glands—a very important component of our skin. Sebum, our skin’s natural oil, has important roles in maintaining proper skin health but can be problematic if too much or too little is produced. Excessive sebum, along with dead skin cells, dirt, and oil from the environment, can clog the pore opening which causes it to stretch and become more visible.

Keeping up with proper skin care that cleanses, moisturizes, and prevents your skin from getting too oily is one of the biggest things you can do to limit the size of your pores. Use products that are labelled as noncomedogenic (non-pore-clogging) and targeted for your specific skin type.

Sun exposure is also a leading cause of enlarged pores. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can decrease collagen, elastin, and water from your skin, causing it to sag and stretch the pore opening. To minimize pore size make sure to limit sun exposure, use sun-protective clothing, and apply sunscreen when exposed to the sun.

Skin elasticity also decreases with age, regardless of sun exposure, so using products that target age-related changes will also help to improve the appearance of pores. Retinol and vitamin-C containing products are great for this. 

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