According to Rowan Hall-Farrise, head of international education and training for QMS Medicosmetics, pores are the small openings on the skin that are in charge of regulating and releasing toxins through our natural oils and sweat. Therefore, they actually play a pivotal role in our overall skin health.
As far as pore size, however, that mostly comes down to genetics, skin type, aging, and environmental factors. Celebrity esthetician Cynthia Franco (who has worked with Salma Hayek, Lucy Boynton, Lena Headey, and more) points out, pores can become packed and dilated with sebum, makeup, dirt, and other debris, which can ultimately cause them to stretch, making them appear larger than their natural size. Generally, the T-zone (aka the forehead and nose) is where people notice the biggest issues with pore size because the sebaceous glands in that region tend to be more prominent than other areas of the face.
“Olive and darker skin tones tend to have larger pores and more sebum production,” Franco adds. Additionally, UV damage and the natural aging process can play a major role in how big or small our pores look. “An important factor to consider is the elasticity of the skin,” agrees Hall-Farrise. “As we age, we produce less collagen and the skin’s elastin decreases. Firm skin supports the pores and makes them appear smaller, so when our skin starts to lose that bounce or plump feel, pores can appear more dilated.”
Another common denominator is the overproduction of oils and congestion, but it’s not just oily skin types that are prone to large pores. “Skin type is another major factor,” says Hall-Farrise. “If you have an oily skin type, your pores will expand to release the overproduction of oils from the glands. Equally, if the skin is dehydrated, your pores can overcompensate by releasing oils to combat the dehydration.”