Enlarged Pores, Sebum Buildup

Written by on July 1, 2008 with 4 Comments

From: Linda Sy MD

Dear Emeric,

Your dermatologist is correct in that enlarged pores are generally inherited. For these individuals, there isn’t much one can do. However, enlarged pores, in my experience, can also be acquired. Pores can appear enlarged if filled with sebum & keratinized cells. When the epithelial cells are exfoliated or the sebum production is inhibited (example: by topical tretinoin or accutane rx), the pores appear smaller. Therefore, any rx that will reduce accumulation of sebum & keratin in the pores, will most likely help reduce the size. From your description of dry rough texture in the nasolabial folds, you may also have seborrheic dermatitis. I suggest that you discuss this possibility with your dermatologist.

Re when to use the moisturizing oil – I suggest that you apply 1-2 drops on wet skin, blend in; pat dry. Then apply your topical medication. Allow 1-2 minutes for your medication to be absorbed. Then apply your moisturizer.

Linda Sy M.D.
Linda Sy Skin Care

—–Original Message—–

From: janlewis@_.net
Subject: [rosacea] Dr. Sy: Enlarged pores

Dear Dr Sy:  I have probably had rosacea for about 7 years, but have only had an accurate dermatological  diagnosis within the past year.  At that point in time, I was started on a treatment regime that consisted of the   application of Metrogel for about 6 months  then ,upon my request,  I was switched to Metrocream and oral antibiotics (tetracycline).   Since the start  of this program , 12 month ago, I seem to have lost the smooth, vellum finish on the sides of the tip of the nose: that area of my skin is now covered by enlarged pores and the finish has a rough texture.  When I mentioned  this to my dermatologist, he remarked that I was born with this (tendency?).  Although I find him a truly compassionate physician I am not quite comfortable with his assessment, since I do seem to know my own face (or, at least, hope I do).

My question is this: Do the enlarged pores come with the syndrome of rosacea? Are they independent of it? Or is there a tendency for the topical application (Metrogel/cream) to cause this?  And do enlarged pores reduce in size if treated properly?  As with anybody with this condition I am highly concerned with damage control and minimizing the ravages  that can occur.

A brief description of the state of my condition is that I have a slight redness to my face from microscopic broken blood vessels, slight telangectasia in both nasal folds, no papules, and no rhinophyma.  I am not sure if this will help you in rendering an opinion.


p.s.  I am using your Moisturizing (safflower/jojoba ) oil and it seems to be doing wonders for my forehead.  If one is using a topical medication, should this be over or under the moisturizer?

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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4 Reader Comments

  1. Andy says:

    The doctor’s comments don’t seem to be consistent with even casual observation of rosacea sufferers, an inordinate percentage of whom have enlarged pores on their noses and cheeks.

    Either rosacea causes pores to appear large, or large pores and rosacea are caused by a common factor.

    I guess the real answer is that dermatologists don’t know. That is a more acceptable answer than a flip answer that contradicts all observable evidence.

  2. taz says:

    last year june i was diagnosed with steriod induced rosecea and was put on antibiotics. now a year later and a half later i now suffer from other symptons.

    i still flair up, my skin is so sensitive, i feel i have swollen pores and have tried everything to try and make them go away. i have lost my confidence in the way i look and feel like a different person. my skin does not have the glow it had before and it is making me feel low.

    please tell me if there is anything i can do to make the open pores go away and to revive my skin as i feel my skin colour is darkening too

  3. abbey says:

    I have had rosacea since I was a teenager and everytime I go see a Derm. Dr. theyact like my skin condition is doing just fine. Don’t they know anything about rosacea. I have to be the one who had done research on this and ask them if I should try certain medications and all they say is …..well you could try it!!! don’t they know these meds do cost money. Are they dumb or what!!!

  4. This article talks about a pore vacuum to clean sebum and dirt in the pores in your skin.


    Not sure that it would be gentle enough for rosacea skin, but at least there seems to be some alternatives to harsh topicals.

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