How to reduce pore size is one of the most common requests I get. For really deep prominent pores, I use TCA CROSS, followed by erbium laser. For moderate size pores I use high density Fraxel laser or Infini RF – results are predictable, effective and permanent.
- Mild cases of enlarged pores can be treated with Beta Hydroxy Acid washes, and prescription Vitamin A cream
- The size of your pores are determined by genes, as well as oil production
- Patients who have oily or acne prone skin tend to have larger skin pores
- Permanently enlarged pores maybe secondary to squeezing pimples and acne
- Large pores can be treated with TCA CROSS or with laser resurfacing
- These treatments offer a permanent solution for reducing pore size
- TCA CROSS is ideal for very deep and individual enlarged pores
- Fraxel laser gives a good overall decrease in pore size
Pore size is determined by genetics– some people are born with larger pores than normal. Patients with a history of oily skin or acne generally will have larger pores. Patients who have a history of squeezing their pimples may have permanently enlarged pores.
Enlarged pores are most prominent in areas that are oily or sebaceuous- like the around the nose and upper lip. Some Ethnic races such as Asians have larger skin pores compared to fair skin types.
In some cases, yes. If you have a mild increase in pore size, you the try the following before taking dramatic steps towards TCA peels, RF Infini or laser resurfacing-
- Wash twice a day with Neutrogena Oil Free wash
- Use good make up – I recommend mineral make up
- Use a light moisturiser
- See a medical dermatologist for some vitamin A creams- especially if you have black heads and open pores. Make sure you are careful mixing Vitamin A prescription creams with Salicylic Acid washes, as this can irritate your skin.
The best treatment will depend on your pore size, skin type and previous treatments.
As discussed, very mild cases of open pores can be treated with Glycolic acid peels and vitamin A creams.
For larger pores, I perform either TCA CROSS, fractional laser resurfacing or INFINI RF insulated microneedling with PRP. TCA CROSS is an excellent treatment for very deep, and large pores in all skin types- including ethnic skin.
Laser resurfacing is great for treating multiple shallow skin pores. I use either an erbium Sciton laser, Fraxel lasers, or the CO2 CORE laser for treating pores. In my opinion the most reliable method for permanent pore shrinkage is with INFINI RF insulated microneedling combined with PRP. This treatment is especially good for ethnic skin types, as skin colour changes are uncommon following microneedling RF.
TCA CROSS stands for Trichloroacetic acid chemical reconstitution of skin scars. This technique was invented by the Asian dermatologists over a decade ago, and is still the number one treatment for ice pick scars and deep pore treatment. I have performed at least 3000 TCA CROSS procedures over the past decade.
TCA works by stimulating collagen production within the scar or pore, to increase the height of the scar. Each TCA procedure should increase the height of the scar or open pore by 20-40%. Most people will need 2-3 procedures followed by laser resurfacing for an almost ‘perfect outcome.’
TCA CROSS only treats the pores and spares the surrounding skin. Your skin heals within 6-7 days.
With TCA CROSS in darker skin types, expect PIH or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation for at least 2-3 months following this procedure. The use of sunscreen, Lytera, and bleaching creams can speed up recovery.
Pore size reduction is much harder than it looks. I use a fully ablative laser such as Scition Erbium or CORE CO2 by Syneron Candela. These lasers are precise instrument that allow me to resurface the skin to within 1/100 of a millimetre with each pass.
In the past few years I have been using Fraxel Laser in a special setting to decrease pore size permanently- this is called high density Fraxel 1927, and is only suited for lighter skin types.
For ethnic skin patients such as Asians, I exclusively use INFINI RF with PRP- this is the best procedure to constantly and reliably reduce the size of skin pores permanently. INFINI RF and PRP has very little downtime and has very little risks compared to laser resurfacing.
Day 8 after fully ablative laser for pore size reduction. Lasers can make you red for up to 2 months after treatment.
All these methods can reduce pore size, especially Fraxel laser.
RF eMarix can remodel collagen using RadioFrequency to reduce pore size by 20-50%. 4-5 treatments are needed, downtime following eMatrix is only 1-2 days. This is best for open pores and early acne, and is best for patients in their teens or early 20s when collagen is fresh and new.
- Fractional laser such as Fraxel can reduce pore size by up to 70%, however 2-3 treatments are required. This is best for patients of lighter skin type. I also use PICOSURE Focus fractional lasers in darker skin types to reduce pore size- 3-4 sessions are needed for best results.
- Skin needling using insulated RF with the INFINI micro needing system combined with platelet rich plasma is by far the most reliable method of reducing the size of skin pores. Most patients undertake 2-3 sessions, spaced one month apart. Recovery is quick- within 3 days, and the results are predictable. This method is the game-changer for pore size reduction.
NO. If a pore is deep it will always improve with TCA and or laser. If a pore is wide, it may worsen. I always select which pores to treat, and which pores to fill. Technique and experience will ensure that overall, pores will not worsen with treatment.
Removing enlarged pores forever is harder than it looks. Its because pores are shaped like a flask, and laser has to go below the lowest point of the flask.
Yes, once I achieve pore size reduction, it is permanent! TCA CROSS and laser resurfacing gives the most predictable and permanent results for open and enlarged pores. For genetic causes of enlarged pores, treatments may need to be repeated every few years, as one looses collagen over time. Stimulation of collagen can reduce pore sizing.
Scars and open pores like these have a Medicare rebate associated with them under the facial scarring rule.
Yes. If you produce lots of oil, reducing oil production with Vitamin A tablets such as Roaccutane may help reduce sebum (oil), decrease acne, and also may reduce the size of pores. Consult a medical dermatologist (Dr Tania Zapalla, Dr Paul Teng) regarding this non-procedural method of oil reduction. The use of anti-hormone tablets may also help females with oily skin and acne. Dr Davin Lim does not prescribe tablets for pore sizing or acne. He only concentrates on laser and procedural dermatology for reducing pore size and acne scars with lasers, and energy devices such as INFINI RF microneedling.
This is what a pore looks like. See how it opens up the deeper you go. For permanent reduction, laser needs to go below the widest opening of the pore.
- TCA CROSS cost $1090 per treatment. You will require 2-3 treatments.
- Fraxel laser can give a good reduction in pores size. Cost is $1290. You may require 2 treatments for best results.
- INFINI RF insulated micro needling with PRP- pricing will vary depending on complexity and extent. A consultation is needed prior to treatment.
- Laser resurfacing is between $4500- $5500 per session. You will only require one session of laser. This treatment is for moderately large pores together with acne scars. A Medicare rebate applies if you have acne scarring. Picosure laser (best for ethnic skin types) cost $990 per session. This is performed by Dr Davin Lim. Most patients require 2-3 sessions for best results.
Some patients with deep pores will require two to three TCA followed by one deep laser resurfacing procedure. Other patients will require only one fully ablative laser session without the TCA CROSS procedure. For overall pore reduction the best method is with INFINI RF and PRP- most patients undertake 2-3 sessions for a permanent reduction in pore size. Most cases are NOT covered under Medicare, unless pores are associated with facial scars. A Medicare rebate applies to some cases. * If facial scarring is treated by a Specialist.
By Dr Davin Lim
Laser and Aesthetic Dermatologist
Facts surrounding pore size treatments seem to be many, just as there are myths. The truth is that pore sizing is determined by genes, much like acne. Some patients just have enlarged pores for no apparent reason, others have associated acne and oily skin. In the later group, visiting a medical dermatologist will sort out all 3 conditions. Pores may also be associated with acne scarring, previously picked acne lesions, and conditions such as rosacea.
Deep pores are very easily treated with TCA CROSS. I choose a concentration based upon your skin type and location of the pore. 2-3 treatments are ideally needed. TCA is excellent for treating individual lesions, whilst laser resurfacing is a huge step towards an ‘overall’ reduction in pore size. Now a days I tend to perform ‘Fractional/ Fraxel’ laser for moderate size skin pores as treatments are predictable, however INFINI RF with PRP has been the game changer in permanently reducing skin pore size. Unlike lasers, this has a faster healing up time, and can be safely used in all skin types- including dark-Ethnic skin. INFINI is predictably good at delivering consistent reduction in pore size.