What Causes and Minimizes Enlarged Pores

Episode #21 / Jun 9, 2009
Enlarged pores are one of the more difficult complexion problems to solve. So in order to learn how to minimize enlarged pores, Dr. Schultz will first explain how and why they form, and then how to treat them.
Mary Max on June 18, 2009 at 3:19am

Dr. Schultz has been my dermatologist for 16 years. I think this speaks for itself, but I'd like to add that hands-down he is one of the best, if not the best, doctors in NYC. Not only is he brilliant (I often say he is the "Einstein of skin!"), but he is passionate about skin too. It's a joy to be treated by a doctor who truly loves what he does and wants all of his patients to benefit from his expertise.

Both woman and men comment all the time on my "glowing and flawless" complexion. I say this not to boast, but as a testament to how good Dr. Schultz and his line of products are. And since I'm commenting after having watched the segment on enlarged pores, I must let you all know that his Petite Pores "cream" is a miracle worker!

Adelia Hitt on July 14, 2009 at 11:36pm

How do I get rid of those "liver spots" or brown age spots on my face?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on November 13, 2009 at 10:43pm

@Adelia: Please see our episode on Age Spots for an answer to your question.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on November 13, 2009 at 10:46pm

A viewer asked an important question related to the above video:

"You mention in the shower to wash with a granular cleanser - then after the shower to use a gentle chemical exfoliant. Is this exfoliant something you would rinse off your face or a solution you would allow to absorb into the skin?"

I'd like to quickly clear that up. The chemical exfoliant should be one that can be applied and left on the skin for many hours until the next time you wash.

David on November 19, 2009 at 12:25pm

What's a good example of a granular cleanser?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on November 20, 2009 at 3:33pm

David: I'd like to present three examples of granular cleansers. The first is my own, Stallex Pore Minimizing Cleanser Grains. The other two are third-party products: Penovia's Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser and Pond's Clean Sweep, Micro Dermabrasion Wet Cleansing Towelettes.

Sandra on February 9, 2010 at 1:19am

The enlarged pores on my nose sweat all the time, especially when I'm cold. Its absolutely noticeable as my husband tells me all the time my nose is sweating. Is this part of the same problem or is it a different problem all together?

Patricia Shoemaker on February 14, 2010 at 1:27am

My 25 yr. old daughter has seen several dermatologists, no one seems to be able to help her. She has enlarged pores or "holes" on her face. She has had microdermabrasions, a peel, uses highest strength saliac acid, no improvement. She saw a dermatologist in NYC, recommended Botox. But she has a big "hole" above her lip and another between her eyes. He said he could not use Botox in those areas, so we are back to what? So hard for her to deal with... Any recommendation would be so greatly appreciated. How long will this continue? She has always kept her skin so clean. I can not understand all of this. Please give us some help. Thank you for your time. I want to get the right doctor to help her,. It is so hard when we see someone and it does not lead to a step in the right direction for help.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on February 27, 2010 at 9:40pm

@Sandra: Sounds like a different problem entirely. If it's really sweat, an aluminum-based anti-perspirants could be helpful. If that's not helpful, I'd suggest seeing a dermatologist.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on March 7, 2010 at 12:14am

@Patricia Shoemaker: I hear your frustration, but before anyone can suggest an effective treatment, an accurate diagnosis must be made. The condition you are describing may truly be only enlarged pores but may also be scarring in follicles/pores that looks like enlarged pores. The first condition (enlarged pores) can be treated successfully medically with topical products and the second (scarring) can only be treat surgically and the treatment is not always successful. Based on your description, I can't determine which condition it is, but again, accurate diagnosis is essential before therapy can be attempted. If you would like to try to get another diagnosis from another dermatologist, then I suggest looking at the doctor finding at the American Academy of Dermatology or if you're in the New York City area I'd be happy to try to help.

Karen on March 16, 2010 at 1:30am

I have large pores on my nose area. If I use tazorac nightly will it be too much exfoliation to use a granular cleanser on this area daily?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on March 17, 2010 at 5:49pm

@Karen: To help prevent irritation, only use granular cleansers in and at the end of a shower and start off on alternate days for a week or two before using it daily.

mona on March 19, 2010 at 1:35am

what do you recommend for the chemical exfoliant (with glycolic or salicylic acid)?

John on March 24, 2010 at 4:19pm

Hi, I live in Ireland and I may struggle to get some of your products. Any granular cleansers or chemical exfoliants that you know are available here? Thanks a lot

Marc on April 1, 2010 at 3:09am

Dr. Schultz,

I wash my face with Cetaphil and apply 0.04% Retin-A Micro nightly, and I wash with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and apply 0.1% clindamycin phosphate in the morning. How can I incorporate your pore minimizing routine into this regimen? I really hate my large pores on my nose, but I don't want to ruin all the progress I've made with my current regimen. I feel like it really keeps my acne under control, but the enlarged pores on my nose really make me feel self-conscious. What would you suggest?

Anika on May 2, 2010 at 11:51am

What's a good example of a gentle chemical exfoliant? Thank you.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on June 1, 2010 at 1:24am

@Marc: The issue is whether or not alpha or beta hydroxy acids, even if used at a different time of the day from Retin A, will cause irritation because of the Retin A. In the best of all possible worlds, I recommend to my patients not to use Retin A while on my pore minimizing regimen. However, if they insist, I tell them to use an alpha or beta hydroxy as an exfoliant after dinner which would be several hours before using Retin A at nighttime (because using them close to the Retin A will damage the Retin A). In addition, to avoid possible irritation, I tell them to use the alpha or beta hydroxy exfoliant on alternate days, and use small amounts. If my patients who try this experience irritation, I insist that they stop using either the Retin A or other exfoliants.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on June 1, 2010 at 1:46am

@Mona: The DCL and Murad products in the "Related Products" section are chemical exfoliants and the other two products in the section are physical. Hope that helps!

Neal Schultz, M.D. on June 6, 2010 at 8:23pm

@Anika: An example of a gentle chemical exfoliant is Aqua Glycolic Face Cream, available at CVS.

adam on July 6, 2010 at 5:25pm

Hello Dr. Once the clog from an enlarged pore has been reduced or removed, will the pore always remain that size or will it "constrict" back to it's original size? Thanks for your time.

tracy on July 7, 2010 at 3:59am

Good Evening,

I have struggled with acne since I was about 11 or 12. As I get older my acne gets worse. I've seen 2 different doctors and have tried different topical cremes. I also tried antibiotics... whick worked for about 2 months. But stopped working, just like everything else I tried. My problem is enlarged pores. Not just on my face but on my chest and back. When I have break outs... it bad. Usually 6 or 7 pores inflamed and eventually turn into 1 huge white head. Sometimes it goes away but comes back in the same exact spot. I sometimes feel noones face breaks out like mines. Not only is it not attractive to look at but it itches and burns at the same time. I don't have a problem going back to the doctors but it seems they r jus trying all this different stuff on me and nothing works longer than 2 months. Tried over the counter and prescription medicines... cremes and antibiotics...

Neal Schultz, M.D. on July 12, 2010 at 7:20pm

@Adam: Once the clog from an enlarged pore has been reduced or removed, the pore can remain that size but usually "constricts" back to it's original size, depending on how long it has been clogged. So the sooner the clogs are removed, the better!

Neal Schultz, M.D. on July 12, 2010 at 7:22pm

@Tracy: Depending on your age it may be time to consider accutane or birth control pills since topicals and antibiotics are not working in a sustained manner. I suggest you discuss these treatment options with your dermatologist.