You can steam your face, splash it with ice-cold water, or cover it in a warm compress—but your pores still won’t open or close. They never have and they never will. So why is this beauty myth so prevalent?
Pores are essentially holes in your skin connected to hair follicles that allow sweat and oil to reach the surface. “So you don’t want to totally erase your pores because then you wouldn’t be human,” says Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology in NYC. In other words, pores of all sizes are totally normal.
We have pores all over our face, but it’s common to have a higher concentration in the center, around your t-zone. “There are certain things that have to do with pore size. Genetics, sun damage—if the collagen around the pore loosens, they can stretch out,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. While your pores might not be able to open or close, they can grow in size if the collagen in your skin becomes weak and damaged. There’s also the issue of congestion, which can give the illusion of larger or more obvious pores.