What is the role of skin pores and how to tighten them?

What are skin pores?

Skin pores are the small openings on the skin's surface that house hair follicles, with an oil gland beneath them. These are therefore very small orifices on the surface of the skin to which the excretory duct of the sweat and sebaceous glands leads . These sebaceous glands are responsible for producing oil (sebum) which keeps the skin soft and comfortable and pores are the channel through which this sebum moves. Without them, the skin would become dry and flaky/

Pore ​​size can vary from person to person and is often genetically determined. Certain factors, such as skin type , sun exposure, age, and other environmental influences, can influence the apparent size of pores.

skin pores

What is the role of skin pores?

Skin pores play several essential roles in maintaining skin health

  • Sebum secretion: Pores are associated with sebaceous glands , which produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum helps maintain the suppleness of the skin, thus protecting it from dehydration and external aggressions. They allow the diffusion of this oily substance.
  • Skin hydration: The sebum secreted by the sebaceous glands contributes to hydration of the skin by forming a protective barrier on its surface which prevents excessive evaporation of water.
  • Elimination of dead cells : Pores allow the evacuation of dead skin cells. This promotes cell renewal!
  • Temperature regulation: Pores play a crucial role in regulating body temperature. When the body needs to cool down, the pores release sweat, which evaporates on the surface of the skin, helping to cool the body.
  • Immune defense: Pores participate in the skin's first line of immune defense by preventing the penetration of bacteria, microbes and other unwanted substances.

What causes enlarged facial pores?

Several factors can contribute to pore dilation.

  • Oily skin : Oily skin tends to produce more sebum . This excess can build up, clog pores and make them appear larger. Oily skin can also be the cause of blackheads .
  • Dead skin cells can also build up, blocking pores and making them appear larger.
  • External aggression , such as excessive exposure to the sun or pollution, can damage collagen, a protein that maintains the firmness of the skin, thus contributing to the dilation of pores.
  • Genetics: Some people naturally have larger pores, which can be accentuated if the skin is prone to excess sebum production. In this case, it may be more difficult to significantly reduce the size of pores, but proper care can improve their appearance.
  • Hormonal changes or imbalances: Hormones, particularly androgens such as testosterone, stimulate the sebaceous glands located under the skin and can cause a significant increase in the amount of sebum. Puberty, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause and pathological hormonal imbalances are therefore factors responsible for the appearance of enlarged pores .
  • Dehydration of the skin: When the skin is dehydrated, it can lose its natural elasticity. Dry, less supple skin tends to sag and appear looser. Sagging skin can thus accentuate the appearance of pores, making them appear larger. Additionally, dehydration can contribute to an increase in the amount of sebum produced as the sebaceous glands attempt to compensate for the loss of hydration.
  • Negligence in skin care practices, an unbalanced diet, lack of hydration, and other unhealthy habits can negatively influence the appearance of pores. For example, poor hygiene can lead to the buildup of sebum, dead skin cells, and impurities , thereby clogging pores and making them appear larger. Additionally, a diet low in essential nutrients can affect skin health, while smoking and overexposure to the sun can contribute to collagen loss, also influencing pore size.
  • Pores also expand during steam baths and saunas. Via their heat, they cause a temporary dilation of the pores of the skin. Heat-induced vasodilation, stimulation of the sebaceous glands, heavy sweating, and skin relaxation contribute to making pores more visible. Although these effects are often temporary and can promote deep cleansing, moderate use and adequate hydration are essential to minimize the impacts on the appearance of enlarged pores. Deep cleansing with a cleansing gel after exposure to heat is also crucial to purify , regulate and avoid the accumulation of sebum and impurities that could aggravate this skin problem.


How to tighten enlarged pores on the skin?

To tighten skin pores , adopt the right products and a regular skincare routine including gentle cleansing to remove impurities, periodic exfoliation to remove dead cells, and the use of a non -comedogenic moisturizer .

Protect your skin from the sun with daily sunscreen, eat a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, and ensure adequate hydration. Avoid harmful behaviors like smoking and limit frequent face contact.

Topical products containing ingredients such as salicylic acid or retinol may also be beneficial. If enlarged pores persist, a professional consultation with a dermatologist can provide personalized advice and treatment options.

What is the best product to tighten pores and take care of your skin?

Several ingredients may be beneficial in helping to tighten skin pores. Here are a few to consider in your skincare routine:

  1. Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is an exfoliant that penetrates pores, removing excess oil and impurities. This helps decongest pores, preventing blockages that cause them to expand. In addition, its anti-inflammatory action helps calm redness and irritation associated with enlarged pores. By stimulating cell renewal, salicylic acid in a moisturizer , lotion , gentle cleansing gel or serum also promotes smoother and more uniform skin texture , making this ingredient a powerful ally for treating skin problems. enlarged pores and acne .

  1. Niacinamide (also known as Vitamin B3)

It regulates sebum production , helping to balance oily and combination skin and preventing pore blockages. By promoting collagen production, niacinamide helps improve skin elasticity, providing a comprehensive solution to reduce the appearance of pores and promote more even skin texture .

  1. Glycolic acid

Thanks to its small molecular size, glycolic acid effectively penetrates the upper layer of the skin, removing dead cells and stimulating cell renewal. By dissolving the bonds between skin cells, it promotes gentle exfoliation , improving the texture and luminosity of the skin. Additionally, glycolic acid helps minimize the appearance of pores by dislodging impurities and promoting cell regeneration.

  1. Retinol

As a retinoid, retinol promotes cell turnover by stimulating the production of new skin cells. This accelerated action helps to reduce skin imperfections , reduce fine lines and improve the appearance of enlarged pores by promoting cell regeneration. In addition, retinol promotes the synthesis of collagen and elastin, strengthening the structure of the skin and improving its elasticity. However, due to its potency, it is recommended to introduce retinol gradually into the cosmetic skincare routine to minimize the risk of irritation, and regular use provides significant benefits for younger, revitalized skin.

  1. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid plays an essential role in the health of skin pores by helping to maintain skin hydration. As a powerful humectant, hyaluronic acid attracts and retains water, ensuring adequate hydration at the pore level. Adequate hydration promotes skin flexibility and can help prevent pores from becoming clogged with dead skin cells or excess oil . Additionally, by filling in the gaps between skin cells, hyaluronic acid can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, giving skin a smoother, more even texture.

  1. Antioxidants (like Vitamin C)

As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C protects skin against free radicals, unstable molecules generated by factors such as sun exposure and pollution, which can damage skin cells and accelerate aging. Additionally, vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, a protein essential for skin firmness and elasticity. It also helps to reduce pigment spots, lighten the complexion and even out skin texture. In the context of skin pores, vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores by supporting overall skin health and providing a revitalized glow. Incorporating products rich in vitamin C into your skincare routine can therefore help maintain healthy, luminous and resilient skin.


  1. National Center for Textual and Lexical Resources
  2. SEO SJ & al. Facial pores: definition, causes, and treatment options. Dermatologic Surgery (2015).
  3. Can Salicylic Acid Help Treat Acne? Healthline Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — By Scott Frothingham — Updated on June 26, 2023