Open Pores

Pores are openings in the skin where oil is excreted to lubricate the surface of the skin.

Occasionally there can be too much oil produced, which results in the pores appearing larger and being perceived as a blemish on the skin. The best first step in treating these is using an at home skin care regime designed to control the oil production in your skin. Typically using a cleanser containing salicylic acid, which is able to penetrate through oil to reach the base of the pore, will help to unclog the pores and reduce the appearance of the pores. Using a scrub once or twice per week to exfoliate the skin will also usually help. If these simple at home measures do not work for you then you may want to consider a medical procedure, although you should keep in mind that no medical procedure is universally effective at reducing pore size.

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Non-surgical treatments for open pores include:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser Resurfacing

This is broadly considered to be one of the most effective treatments for open pores. It is also one of the most aggressive treatments. The treatment works by burning the top layers of the skin off, which in turn generates a healing response. Traditional laser resurfacing burns the entire surface of the skin off. More recently advances in ‘fractional’ technology means that only a percentage of the skins surface is removed, using microscopic laser beams. This has the effect of still stimulating a healing response, but with a shorter recovery period afterwards. The CO2 laser we use is the CO2RE from Syneron-Candela, which has the ability to work in both full field and fractional mode. For treating open pores we normally use it in fractional mode, for a faster recovery. The down time from this procedure is usually around one week. You will normally notice a benefit from this treatment after one session, although occasionally two or three sessions are required to achieve optimal results in the most severe cases.

Lighter Chemical Peels

A course of lighter chemical peels can sometimes be used to treat open pores. A lighter chemical peel is one using a more dilute acid, so it does not penetrate as deeply. Consequently, these have a much more rapid recovery with people usually returning to work straight away. There is normally some dry skin and peeling around days 3 – 5, although it is usually not significant enough to stop people going about their normal day-to-day activities. Normally a course of 3 or 4 treatments would be suggested, one each week. The philosophy behind this treatment is that the constant inflammation produced the more minor peels results in more collagen remodelling in the deeper layers of the skin which can shrink the appearance of the pores.


A derma roller is a rolling device that has hundreds of small needles attached to it. It is rolled over the skin a number of times, creating thousands of needle incisions in the skin. The theory is that this stimulates a healing response, and tissue remodelling, in the deeper layers of the skin. Smaller needles can be used by beauty therapists. When using deeper needles it can be be used by a doctor – along with local anaesthetic – to create better results. There is normally a few days of down time with each treatment. A course of 3 or 4 treatments is usually recommended.

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