Common Skin Issues: Large Pores & Acne Scars
If you’ve got skin, then you’ve got pores. There are actually two types of excretory skin pores, sweat pores, and oil pores. You have sweat pores all over your body. They’re typically too tiny to see with the naked eye, but they serve the important function of helping to regulate body temperature. Oil pores cover nearly all of your skin too, with the only exceptions being the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. These pores secrete a natural oil called sebum, which helps to keep your skin moisturized, supple, and healthy. Oil pores are larger than sweat pores, and can sometimes be seen. When mention is made of large pores or clogged pores, typically that is in reference to oil pores.
Acne scars, on the other hand, are a typical aftereffect of severe acne. Acne is the most common skin condition in the world, impacting some 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30. One out of five people who experience acne will develop acne scars, most of which are seen on the face, chest, and back. And while large pores and acne scars are somewhat related, there’s some general confusion about the nature of the relationship between the two.
A Closer Look at Large Pores
Pores are normal skin structures meant to secrete either sweat or sebum, and some pores are mainly intended for housing hair follicles. These pore structures can become large enough to be noticeable, and can sometimes even be unappealing. Problems also occur whenever these pores become clogged, resulting in secondary problems like folliculitis or acne. At the same time, having large pores doesn’t necessarily mean you will get acne. These pores typically do a great job of sweeping out oil, dead skin cells, and other detritus and debris. In some cases, oil and dead cells can become trapped in the hair follicle; this can result in acne formation. But even if acne doesn’t develop, large pores are considered by many to be unsightly.
What causes large pores? Much of it is really genetic. Here are a few things which can lead to pores becoming larger and more visible:
Generally speaking, males tend to have larger pores than females. But during certain hormonal changes like pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause, pores can enlarge in females, too.
As we get older, our skin begins to lose its elasticity; this can result in the appearance of larger pores. Sun damage takes its toll as well. Sun-damaged cells can collect around the pores, giving the effect of making these pores look bigger.
• Oily Skin
Oily skin can result in a more prominent display of pores as well. People with oily skin usually have higher sebum production than others. Choosing the right skincare regimen can help to keep the effects of this accelerated skin oil production under control.
A Closer Look at Acne Scars
Acne presents itself in many forms. Many whiteheads and blackheads will heal themselves without incident, but some types of acne can lead to scarring. Acne scars occur as a result of inflammation of certain acne blemishes. Acne scars take on two main forms: either a scar develops with a loss of tissue, resulting in a skin indentation, or a scar develops with a raised surface on the skin. This latter type of acne scar indicates that your skin is actually doing its job, but maybe too well. Your skin creates collagen to help heal the wound, but with too much collagen, raised scars can form.
Here are a few examples of the more frequent types of acne scarring, and what they tend to look like:
• Atrophic or Depressed Scars
These tend to take one of three forms:
• Ice pick
This type of acne scar resembles an ice pick in that it’s wide at the top, then narrows to a finer point deeper inside the skin. These indentations are common where acne scarring is concerned, and are also more challenging to heal. These tend to be found on the forehead and upper cheeks, where the skin is generally thinner.
These indentations have more sloping edges which make the skin look uneven and somewhat wavy. They’re typically found in areas where the skin is thicker, like on the lower cheek and jaw area.
These scars have sharper edges, and go down deeper into the skin. Like rolling scars, boxcar scars are more common on the lower cheeks and jaw area.
• Hypertropic or Keloid Scars
These are lesions of scar tissue which rise above the normal skin level. They result as an overgrowth of collagen on acne-damaged areas of skin. Hypertrophic scars are often found on the jaw line, chest, shoulders, and back, and can be tender, itchy, or even painful.
There are several things you can incorporate into your personal skincare regimen which can help to alleviate the negative effects of large pores and acne scarring:
- Use non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products. These are designed not to clog your pores.
- Clean your face twice a day, and make use of gentle exfoliators over all of your skin. Exfoliating serves to clear off the buildup of dead cells, which helps keep your pores healthy, more breathable, and more normal in size. Exfoliation encourages new skin growth too, which helps to keep your skin looking younger.
- Wear sunscreen. Unprotected skin exposure destroys both collagen and elastin proteins that give skin its firmness and elasticity. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen which includes non-comedogenic properties.
- For acne scars, make use of an appropriate topical acne scar treatment. There are several products which include anti-acne properties that help to prohibit new acne formation. When it comes to acne treatment, prevention is often the best medicine.
- Enzyme-infused clay masks are known to be effective for deep cleaning of facial pores.
- If you have combination skin, incorporate the use of a balanced, non-pore-clogging moisturizer as well.
Sometimes self-care can only take you so far, especially if you have stubborn large pore or acne scarring issues. Winston-Salem Dermatology is here to help! If you’re ready to consult with a professional dermatologist, we’re well-equipped to treat all major skin conditions, including large pores and acne scars. We offer proven treatments including microneedling, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser rejuvenation, sublative treatments, dermal fillers, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments, cryosurgery, and more. Connect with us at (336) 774-8636 today!