Blogs by Dermatologist

Open Pores

Open pores: can you close them?I Dermatologist reveal truth


Open pores: can you close them?I Dermatologist reveal truth

“Doctor, is there any open pores cream that can shrink the pores on my face?”

Based on my experience of 15 years as a dermatologist, open pores cannot be entirely closed with any cream. However, Salicylic acid and retinoid-based creams can reduce the size of open pores. Even the procedures listed at the end of this article do not give you the glassy skin you are dreaming of. Now, it’s up to you if still want to fall into the trap of advertisements or influencers who promise you otherwise!

In this article, I have discussed the cause, regime, treatment, and home remedies for open pores. If you wish to try regimes formulated by me to reduce open pores based on age, then click below:

  1. Regime to reduce open pores at less than 25 years
  2. Regime to reduce open pores at more than 25 years

Why do you get open pores?

Open pores look like small pits on the nose and adjacent cheeks area. They give your skin a dimpled appearance like an orange peel.  They are the dilated opening of oil glands present in the skin. According to this study, the following are the causes of enlarged facial pores:

-high sebum excretion

-decreased elasticity around pores

-increased hair follicle volume. 

-chronic recurrent acne

-change in sex hormones

-wrong skincare regime

Another study showed that oil secretion was higher in people with facial pores.

To conclude, open pores usually occur because of unchecked oil secretions at a younger age and get worse when your skin gets lax in old age. Therefore, early treatment with open pores cream containing salicylic acid is essential.

Skincare Regime for Open Pores

Open pores develop because of thick skin care products or over-layering products. Therefore, if you follow a simple CTM regime twice daily with the products listed below, your pores won’t increase further. Watch the video given below to know how to do CTM(cleanse, tone, moisturise)

Morning Regime

The morning regime consists of face wash, rose water, Vitamin C serum, sunscreen and make-up (optional).

Step 1 Face wash:

Open pores occur because of unchecked oil secretions. Therefore it is essential to use a face wash that effectively removes oils from your skin yet does not overdry it. Here are a few mistakes that you should avoid:

-Do not wash your face more than three times a day. Your face might look greasy a few hours after washing your face. However tempting it might be, never wash your face more than three times a day because this can lead to an oil rebound.

-If you have excess oil secretion, use salicylic acid (<25 years of age) or retinoids (>25 years of age) to control your oil secretions.

-Always pat dry your face. Avoid rubbing because friction can cause oil to rebound.

Brand recommendations: The choice of face wash depends on your skin type as discussed in the article given below:

Step 2 Toner:

When you think of open pores, the first thing that comes to mind is toner. However, avoid alcohol-based toners because they destroy the natural skin barrier. Instead, you can spray rose water and massage it until it gets absorbed. Rose water hydrates and soothes your skin without clogging your pores.

Brand recommendations: Click here to find the best pure organic Rosewater.

Step 3: Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serum might not directly affect open pores. But it delays aging signs, brightens your skin, reduces dark spots, and does ongoing skin repair. Vitamin C keeps your skin younger and prevents premature laxity. Open pores get prominent in sagging skin. Therefore, we recommend introducing vitamin C at the age of 20 years. 

For best results, you can use vitamin C serum containing salicylic acid to control oil and prevent open pores.

Brand recommendations:

Garnier Vitamin C Serum

La Roche- Posay Pure Vitamin C10

Step 4 Sunscreen:

Sunscreen tends to clog pores. You can avoid sunscreen indoors. But it is essential before stepping out. Repeat every 2-3 hours if needed.

Your sunscreen should pass the following criteria:

-Lightweight formula

-First ingredients should be water

-Avoid silicon-based sunscreen because they occlude pores

-Gel/lotion/fluid preparation is best

-Should get absorbed in the skin rather than forming a thick layer on top

-Zinc-based sunscreen might reduce acne as well

-SPF 30 is enough for everyday use. The higher the SPF, the oilier is sunscreen.

Make sure you apply at least a coin-sized amount on the entire face. Sunscreen takes 30 minutes to act. So use them for 30 minutes before going out in the sun.

Cetaphil PRO Oil Control Moisturising Lotion

Cetaphil PRO Oil Control Moisturising Lotion SPF 30 is a good option for acne-prone skin. It fulfils all of the above criteria. It has anti-agent(zinc gluconate), Anti-oxidant (Vitamin E) and anti-inflammatory agents(allantoin and panthenol).

Step 5: Make-up

Here are some tips for using make-up:

  • Use foundation or BB cream with salicylic acid, for example, Maybelline Dream Pure BB cream.
  • Buy a thin or liquid foundation (that spreads quickly) to cream or stick ones.
  • Avoid layering of make-up products.
  • Don’t try to hide your open pores with daily makeup. Instead, restrict the same to essential occasions.
  • Remember to remove your make-up before sleeping.
  • Using a compact powder that gives foundation coverage and absorbs extra oil is even better.

Noon Regime

Most of you would feel that your looks greasy and dark by mid-day. In this case, follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Wash your face. 

If you can’t wash your face at the workplace, then wipe your face with cotton dipped in micellar water. It removes excess oils and gives an instant matt look.

Brand Recommendation: Dermatologist Recommended Micellar water

Step 2:  Rose water

Spray chemical-free pure rose water on your skin and massage your skin.

Step 3: Sunscreen

Put on sunscreen only if you plan to go out in the next 30 minutes.

Night Regime

Steps 1 and 2 are the same as above

Step 3 Night cream for open pores:

Open pores cream with either salicylic acid or retinoids control oil secretions, reduces new open pores, and shrinks the existing ones to some extent. While salicylic acid can be used at early age, Retinoids are best bet as you age.

Salicylic acid <25 years : 

Regular use of salicylic acid helps reduce oil secretion, open pores and white/blackheads. Salicylic acid gently exfoliates your skin, creating a clean and brighter look.  However, do not combine salicylic acid with Adapalene or tretinoin because the combination is too drying.

Brand recommendations: Read this article to know the best brand of salicylic acid and how to use it correctly. 

Retinoids for >25 years:

After 25 years of age, lax skin increases the appearance of open pores. Retinoids help reduce wrinkles, plump up your skin, control oil secretion, and reduce open pores and fine lines on regular use.

Brand recommendations: Read this article to know which is the best brand of retinoids and how to use them. 

Weekly Regime

On the weekend, you can do a two-step facial with scrubbing followed by an oil control face mask.

Step 1 Scrub:

Exfoliation removes dead cells that clog your pores. You can scrub your face once or twice a week.

Brand recommendations: Click here for dermatologist-recommended brands of scrub

Step 2 Face pack:

Face pack allows ingredients to act on your skin over a long time. And when it comes to open pores, they are essential to tighten pores and absorb extra oils. 

Brand recommendations: Click here for dermatologist-recommended brands of face packs

Treatment of open pores

There are multiple options available to dermatologists today to minimise open pores. However, studies regarding the effectiveness and response rate are still lacking. The treatment options to minimise open pores include:


Beta-hydroxy acid, like salicylic, can seep into the opening of sebaceous ducts and remove the keratin plug, thus helping to reduce your open pores.  You can get salicylic acid peels from a dermatologist. It is an excellent way to control oil secretions and decrease open pores.

Studies show that 5 Glycolic acid peels done at intervals of 2 weeks help in shrinking pores.


Topical and oral retinoids help in reducing oil secretions and open pores. Tretinoin is the most potent retinoid that can help in shrinking pores, however, it is available under the prescription of dermatologist.


There are a couple of lasers which might be effective in reducing open pores. These lasers induce collagen remodelling. LASER might help more giant pits and craters on the skin caused by acne scars; however, its efficacy in open pores is still to be explored.


It is a simple but effective method to reduce large open pores; however, it has 7-10 days of downtime. The procedure comprises of application of tri-chloro-acetic acid on the wall of open pores with a toothpick leading to the formation of the black scab on each of the treated pores, which falls off in 7-10 days. Results are good with a 30-50% reduction in the size of pores, and repeated sessions can be done if required.


These might help reduce open pores by collagen remodelling but are less effective than LASERS. To know more, watch this video on micro needling.


MNRF is a micro-needling Radio-frequency treatment. it is used primarily for acne scars and skin rejuvenation. MNRF can help in shrinking pores to some extent.

To conclude, open pores are not easy to close. The continued skin care regime mentioned above is paramount to reducing pores, along with treatments done by dermatologists.

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