Skin Care 101: How to Deal with Big Nose Pores

Your nose pores are like mini sponges. They soak in all the dirt and grime that lands on your face throughout the day. And just like sponges, pores can become a breeding ground for bacteria and blemishes.

So, what do you do if you’re feeling poor about the state of your pores? First, don’t fret. There’s hope for chronically clogged and enlarged nose pores.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about enlarged or clogged nose pores, including what causes them, how to clean them, and whether you can banish ’em for good.

person washing their face
Javier Díez/Stocksy United

What are nose pores?

Pores = teeny-weeny openings on the skin‘s surface. They help your skin breathe and act as a pathway between the outside world and the oil and sweat glands beneath the skin’s surface.

Nose pores are connected to sebaceous glands, which produce a waxy, oily substance that keeps skin soft and moisturized. While pores in some other places are virtually invisible, nose pores can be larger and more noticeable.

Sebaceous filaments vs. blackheads

The fact that nose pores are bigger means you’re more likely to notice when they fill with gunk. That’s why some peeps mistake sebaceous filaments for blackheads.

  • Sebaceous filaments: These tiny whitish-yellow tubes lurk in your pores. They’re a completely natural skin feature, and everyone has them.
  • Blackheads: These are common in teens and adults with large facial pores. Blackheads, aka comedones, are small, dark-colored bumps that appear when a hair follicle becomes clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. The sebum oxidizes and turns black, hence the name “blackhead.”

Sebaceous filaments frequently pop up in oily places like your nose and forehead. While they can resemble blackheads, they’re no cause for concern.

So, what causes large nose pores?

There are several reasons your nose pores may be on the larger end of the spectrum. Some you can change, and some you can’t!

  • Genetics: Blame your parents for this one. If they had large pores, you probably will too. Unfortunately, genetics is one cause of large pores that you can’t do much to change.
  • Age: As you get older, your skin loses collagen and elasticity. This can cause the skin to stretch and sag, making pores appear larger.
  • Sex: Uterus owners tend to have smaller pores than penis owners. That’s because testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands, which leads to larger pores.
  • Chronic sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage skin and cause it to become dry, rough, and wrinkled. Your nose skin is particularly susceptible to sun damage, which can make pores appear larger.
  • Acne: Nose pores are prone to blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. Those breakouts can cause skin to inflame and swell, making pores look larger.
  • Excess oil production: If your sebaceous glands work overtime, they can produce too much sebum. This can cause your pores to become clogged and enlarged.

How to unclog and clean nose pores

Nose pores looking enlarged and in charge? There are things you can do to clean them and make them look smaller.

Use water-based products

Tons of cosmetics and moisturizers contain oils. While that’s good news for parched skin, oil-free products might be better if you battle enlarged pores.

Got dry skin *and* enlarged pores? Consider products with humectants like honey, glycerin, or aloe vera. They help attract water to the skin and lock in moisture so your face stays hydrated without becoming greasy.

Wash your face twice daily

Washing your face helps keep your pores free of dirt, oil, and debris. The best way to wash is with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils.

Wash once in the morning to remove any gunk that’s accumulated overnight. Then wash again at night to remove makeup, dirt, and pollution that’s built up during the day. Don’t forget to rinse thoroughly and use a clean towel to pat (not rub!) your skin dry.

Exfoliate regularly

Another way to prevent clogged pores is to exfoliate regularly — once or twice weekly. This helps slough away dirt, oil, and dead skin cells that build up and cause clogs.

You can use a physical exfoliator, like a scrub, brush, or glove, or a chemical exfoliator, which dissolves dead skin cells with fruit acids or enzymes. Suitable products may contain salicylic acid or polyhydroxy acids.

PSA: Exfoliation isn’t for everyone. It’s important to consider your skin type (sensitive? maybe skip it). And if you do exfoliate, don’t overdo it! Exfoliating too hard or too often can irritate and damage the skin.

Moisturize daily

Yes, even oily skin needs moisture!

Choose an oil-free moisturizer to help smooth skin and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.

Remove makeup at night

Sleeping in your makeup is a recipe for disaster — especially for your pores. Foundation, concealer, powder, and other products can jam those pores and create a breeding ground for bacteria. So, cleanse your face thoroughly every night before you hit the sack.

Wear sunscreen

Sun exposure can dry the skin, cause inflammation, and lead to wrinkles. It can also make your pores look super-sized.

The solution? Reach for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Slather it on your face and neck before you go outdoors.

When to see a dermatologist

If you’ve tried at-home remedies for enlarged pores and nothing seems to be working, it may be time to see a dermatologist.

A derm can create a customized treatment plan to get your skin looking and feeling its best. They may prescribe medication or perform professional, in-office treatments that can get your blackheads and large pores under control.

Common recommendations:

  • Microdermabrasion: This minimally-invasive procedure buffs away the top layer of skin, essentially exfoliating to reduce the appearance of large pores.
  • Chemical peel: A chemical peel uses a solution to remove the damaged outer layers of skin, revealing newer, healthier skin underneath.
  • Laser therapy: This therapy uses focused light to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture, which may make your pores appear smaller.

If you’re concerned about large pores or blackheads, make an appointment with a board certified dermatologist. They can help you create a customized treatment plan to get your skin looking and feeling its best.

FAQs

Can you shrink an enlarged pore?

No, despite what a ton of beauty products claim, you can’t *actually* shrink your pores.

The size of your pores is determined by genetics, and they can appear larger as you age. There’s not much you can do to change that. But the good news is that you can do plenty of things to minimize their appearance.

Why are my nose pores so full?

Your nose is slap-bang in the middle of your face, so its pores are especially visible. That means you’re more likely to notice nose pores even if they’re *not* clogged.

Plus, for many peeps, their nose is the oiliest part of their face. And that’s not to mention the makeup, moisturizers, sunscreen, and all the other cosmetic products you slather on your face every day. When you think about the action your nose pores see, it’s no surprise they appear to be bursting at the seams.

Should I squeeze my nose pores?

Nope, don’t do it! Although it may be tempting to give them a squeeze, resist the urge. Picking and squeezing can cause inflammation, infection, and scarring.

Even if you manage to extract the contents of a clogged pore, it’s likely to fill back up again within a few days. Save your skin the stress and leave extraction to the pros.

How can I close the pores on my nose naturally?

First, you can’t *close* your pores. You *can* clean your face regularly with products that unclog and help refine pores’ appearance.

Start by washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Then, use a pore-minimizing toner and apply a light layer of daily moisturizer. You can also try using a pore-refining serum or mask containing ingredients like retinol, niacinamide, or tea tree oil to help unclog pores and reduce their appearance.

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