A: There are many skin pores, but they are not for breathing – our lungs take care of that need. The pores we see on our skin represent the openings of hair follicles and sweat ducts. It can help to keep these skin pores open. Sweat gland openings can become obstructed – for example, by wearing skin tight clothing when we exercise. This can result in an itchy heat rash, or ‘miliaria’, Hence, it is advisable to avoid overdressing in hot climates, and to remove sweaty clothing and shower after exercising.
If sweat gland are obstructed over most of the body, this can result in heat intolerance – with the risk of heat stroke. Individuals who have one of the skin disorders called ichthyosis, where the stratum corneum is too thick over most or all of their body, often experience overheating, because their sweat ducts are obstructed by the scales.
Similarly, when the pores of oil or ‘sebaceous’ glands on the face, chest and back become plugged with sebum and keratinous debri, we develop comedones or blackheads. These are often an early sign of acne. More than a few blackheads can be a sign that it’s time for a visit to our dermatologist.