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You have an enlarged pore that looks like a hole. A cave. A never-endin… Been there, done that. Let’s go through your options and get rid of that thing!
You’ve found your way to this article so you’re probably painfully familiar with today’s subject. The infamous enlarged pore. You’ve probably tried to use it for storage by now. Of course I’m kidding, but I’ve experienced more than my fair share of all sorts of enlarged pores, scars and holes so I know how you’re feeling. That thing just stares at you, doesn’t it? You want it gone, for good. Gotcha.
So, what are the options?
Well, we have several. The path you (should) choose depends on a number of variables. Let’s get those out of the way first.
What to consider when deciding on the right treatment?
There are a few main things that determine which direction you should go with your pore hole eradication plan:
- The size of your enlarged pore(s)
- The location
- Your skin type
- Whether or not you’re planning on going through any other procedures (e.g. to remove acne scars or get anti-aging treatments)
- The cause of the enlarged pore(s)
Be mindful of these things when making your decision. Okay? Good. Then read on.
What causes the skin to develop an enlarged pore that looks like a hole in the first place?
Firstly, what seems like a wide open pore may be an actual scar, usually caused by acne or chicken pox. What did it look like BEFORE you ended up with a hole in your skin?
Occasionally this starts as a large blackhead that’s had a lot of time to grow, and then, when it’s removed, you are left with a pit that doesn’t seem to ever go away. What sometimes happens is your skin has developed a cyst deeper underneath the pore, and keeps pushing stuff out even though it looks like an empty hole at first glance. You should be able to make sure by giving it a gentle squeeze. If there is a cyst, you’ll want to get it removed by a doctor before doing anything else.
Let’s assume there is no cyst. Your pore has got enlarged, damaged or scarred for one reason or another. Sometimes we are just victims of our bad skins. I mean you could even have a pimple pop on its own and leave a scar. We can’t control everything that happens to us. Luckily you can fix the situation now. So…
How to get rid of this thing?
1. Hide it
Skin treatments are not always cheap, so the least inexpensive option would probably be simply hiding it. Obviously, this does not really get rid of the enlarged pore, but it is an alternative. It’s also something you can do while giving the pore a little bit of time to heal, if the damage has happened just recently. Often enlarged pores return to their original size if given enough rest (gentle skincare, minimal exfoliation, no picking!). So give it a few weeks, slather on some heavy duty primer and go on with your life. Maybe cover the mirrors.
Some of my favorite products to decrease the visibility of enlarged pores:
- Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pore Primer ($$)
- Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Primer, Blur + Smooth ($)
- Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Face Primer for Oily Skin ($)
- Perricone M.D. Nutritive Cleanser ($$)
- NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Pore Filler Primer ($)
- NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Studio Perfect Primer ($)
I’ve also written a post about the best pore minimizers for enlarged pores, as well as one about the best water-based primers if you’re not into all the silicone most primers are full of.
And if the devil of a pore has lingered for months or even years already and you’re sick of trying to cover it up?
2. Bring out the big guns
You’re going to show your skin who’s boss.
We’re talking chemical peels, exfoliating and microneedling kind of stuff. Let’s list your options:
In microdermabrasion a little machine is used to exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and improving skin tone and texture. As a procedure it’s minimally invasive, and you can buy your own microdermabrasion kit for DIY home treatments. I personally had no idea they were so easy and affordable until I was doing research for this post. You can also go to a professional but be prepared to pay a lot more.
So how does microdermabrasion affect enlarged pores? Well, they help you keep the pores from filling up with gunk and remove anything that’s keeping them looking enlarged in the first place. Excess sebum and skincare products not cleaned off the skin make the pores look a lot worse.
Here are some of the most popular microdermabrasion products out there:
- Neutrogena Microdermabrasion Starter Kit ($)
- Microderm GLO Diamond Microdermabrasion System ($$$)
- PMD Personal Microderm Classic ($$$)
- Imagine Dermatology Microdermabrasion Facial Creamy Scrub & Face Exfoliator ($)
- Kelley West Microderm360 Spa Grade, Personal Diamond Microdermabrasion Kit ($$)
Chemical peels of different types are often used to reduce the appearance and size of enlarged pores. They also remove dead skin cells and excess oil and improve the tone and texture of the skin this way. For the best results you’ll want to have a doctor perform this procedure for you, since they are experienced and have access to stronger peels (plus you’ll have someone else to blame if they fuck it up).
However, there are chemical peels that you can use at home too, and reduce the cost of treatments. You may have to wait longer for the results though, so keep that in mind.
Some great chemical peels that are suitable for home use (and actually work):
- Beauty Facial Extreme Resurfacing Chemical Peel Pads- Contains Lactic, Salicylic & Glycolic Acid ($)
- ASDM Beverly Hills Glycolic Acid Peel 40% ($)
- Skin Beauty Solutions Glycolic Acid Peel 70% ($)
- Skin Beauty Solutions Lactic Acid Peel 90% ($)
- Perfect Image Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel – Enhanced with Tea Tree Oil & Green Tea Extract ($$)
Microneedling devices such as rollers and Dermapens are used for creating microscopic damage to the skin, which then heals and makes the skin produce more collagen. It’s helpful for reducing the number and size of acne scars and enlarged pores, and makes other products work more efficiently. When you have an enlarged pore that looks like a hole the idea is the same as with ice pick scars for example: the Dermaroller or other microneedling device creates tiny holes in the scar tissue as well and stimulates normal healing.
As with chemical peels, microneedling can be done by a professional, or you can do it at home, although it is generally recommended not to use longer than 0.25 mm needle lengths for home use. I’ve personally used longer ones too and didn’t experience any negative effects. With microneedling patience is key, and you will definitely have to go through multiple sessions to get any real results.
Popular microneedling devices for DIY treatments:
- Sdara Skincare Derma Roller (0.25 mm) ($)
- Prosper Beauty Derma Roller Microneedle 6 Piece Kit (0.25 mm) ($)
- JJ Ellie Derma Roller (0.25 mm) ($)
- ZustBeauty Derma Roller Kit (0.3 mm) with hyaluronic serum and soothing cream ($)
- Dr. pen Ultima A6 Microneedling pen ($$$)
Here’s a very informative video about microneedling at home if you’ve never done it:
3. Bring out the even bigger guns (aka stop avoiding your doctor)
In some cases you’ll just have to admit to yourself that you’ve done all you could, and it’s time to let someone else handle it. These procedures are more costly, but also very effective (usually). Let’s see.
This is very much recommended to be done by a professional because the procedure is performed using a strong acid that can cause scarring. Basically what happens is the acid is applied on individual indented scars or, in this case, enlarged pores. The treatment is quick and a lot more comfortable than a peel applied to the entire face. It works by breaking down a small amount of tissue inside the scar or pore, which can then heal and fill up naturally.
For more info on TCA CROSS check out this DermNet NZ article.
Doing a punch excision or an excision by scalpel is one of the most effective ways to treat a large hole-like pore.
The goal of this treatment is to remove the scar or pore by cutting off the scarred tissue and stitching it up with fine sutures, then letting it heal on its own. This will leave you with a new scar of some type, but they are usually less noticeable and will end up looking like a light-colored line or spot when completely healed. Compared to a hole or an indented scar this is often a lot more desirable.
Sometimes this kind of procedure is followed by a chemical peel or a laser treatment to improve the look of the skin even more.
If you’re interested in reading more about scar excisions here is one good place for that.
There are multiple ways of dealing with an enlarged pore that looks like a hole. Whether to just cover it up, treat it at home or getting professional help, it all depends on you. If money is not a problem and you’re not a crazy DIY skincare person like me, going to the doctor is definitely the fastest way of getting rid of that pesky little thing. Sometimes we just want to do things on our own or have better uses for our money. Personally, I like to try doing things on my own first.
Let me know how your skincare adventures go and if there is anything I missed!