Open pores: can you really close them?

Open Pores

Open pores: can you really close them?

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

Salicylic acid and retinoid-based cream can reduce the pores. But let us understand the basics first.

Open pores look like small pits on the nose and adjacent cheeks area. They give your skin a dimpled appearance like an orange peel. 

Why do you get open pores?

Open pores are the dilated opening of oil glands present in the skin. According to this study, the following are 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 layering products. Therefore, if you follow a simple CTM regime twice a day with the products given in this article, your pores won’t increase. 

Watch the video given below to know how to do CTM(cleanse, tone, moisturise)

Given below are pre-for muted regimes to reduce open pores based on age:

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

If you wish to formulate your own regime, then read further or even better, try our regime finder tool

Morning Regime

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

Watch out

-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: We have listed the face wash for oily skin in order of oil-controlling capacity in this article, Best face wash for oily skin type

Step 2 Toner:

Rose water hydrates and soothes your skin without clogging your pores. Avoid using alcohol-based toner because they destroy the natural skin barrier. Instead, spray rose water and massage until it gets absorbed. Click on this link to find the best pure organic Rosewater.

Step 3: Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serum might not directly affect open pores. However, it delays ageing signs, brightens your skin, reduces dark spots, and does ongoing skin repair. We recommend introducing vitamin C at the age of 20 years. 

You can use vitamin C serum containing salicylic acid to control oil and prevent open pores. For example, 

Garnier Vitamin C Serum

La Roche- Posay Pure Vitamin C10

Step 3 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).

CountryAffiliate link to buy

Step 4: 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 make-up. Instead, restrict the same to essential occasions.
  • Do not forget to remove your make-up before sleeping.

Using a compact powder that gives foundation coverage and absorbs extra oil is even better. Below are product recommendations:


Noon Skin Care

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

Step 3: 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:

My patients often ask me, “Is there an effective open pores cream?” Yes,  Open pores cream with either salicylic acid or retinoids control oil secretions, reduce new open pores, and shrinks the existing ones to some extent.

Salicylic acid <25 years : 

Regular use of salicylic acid helps reduce oil secretion, open pores and white/blackheads. It would help if you used salicylic 2% serum in your night regime, especially in humid weather.

Salicylic acid is the star ingredient for reducing black/whiteheads and open pores. It also reduces oil secretion. It gently exfoliates your skin, leading to a clean and brighter look. 

Do not combine salicylic acid with Adapalene or tretinoin because the combination is too drying.

Please 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.

Please 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.

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. 

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:

Salicylic Acid:

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.


Topical and oral retinoids help in reducing oil secretions and open pores. They are available both OTC and prescription; the latter might be more effective.


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.

Derma-rollers or Micro-needling:

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

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