Blackheads are one of the most common skin complaints — but what about massive clogged pores? Known as a dilated pore of Winer (DPOW), these giant blackheads typically appear solo on the face, neck or back, but they’re not as easy to eliminate as other types of comedones.
To learn more about how to prevent and treat a DPOW, we went straight to the top: dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper.
3 minute read
Article Quick Links
- 01.What is a dilated pore of Winer?
- 02.What's the difference between a pore of Winer and a blackhead?
- 03.How do you treat a winer's Pore?
- 04.What skin conditions resemble a DPOW?
This is a graphic video of Dr. Pimple Popper surgically removing a DPOW, viewer discretion advised.
What is a dilated pore of Winer?
Resembling a giant blackhead, a Winer’s pore is a noticeably dilated pore filled with keratin. The lesion (technically a benign tumor) was first described by pioneering dermatologist Louis H. Winer in 1954 — before that, the condition was sometimes confused with certain forms of skin cancer.
According to Dr. Lee, a dilated pore of Winer typically occurs on the face and neck in middle-aged adults (though it can happen to younger patients). Men are more likely to experience a DPOW, and the condition is more common among caucasians.
These large comedones typically range in size from a millimeter to over a centimeter in diameter. While it’s not dangerous, many patients opt to see a dermatologist to help remove the lesion for cosmetic reasons.
What’s the difference between a pore of Winer and a blackhead?
Essentially, it all comes down to size: a dilated pore of Winer is a very large blackhead. You might remember that a blackhead is a comedo that’s plugged with oil and dead skin cells that oxidize (turn black) where they’re exposed to the air. Dr. Lee says no one’s sure exactly what causes a pore to turn into a massive comedo, though studies have shown a correlation between the condition and a history of severe or cystic acne.
How do you treat a Winer’s pore?
There are two ways to deal with a dilated pore of Winer:
- Extraction: using a comedone extractor to gently squeeze out the trapped pore contents
- Excision: removing the pore altogether with a surgical blade and stitches (if necessary)
Trying to extract a DPOW on your own can easily lead to inflammation and possibly infection, which could damage the surrounding skin. What’s more, removing the contents will only provide a temporary solution — the dilated pore will most likely fill back up with dead cells and keratin again.
To permanently eliminate a dilated pore of Winer, you need to visit a dermatologist to have it excised. If that’s not possible, remember that the condition is not harmful unless the pore becomes infected.
What other skin conditions resemble a DPOW?
To get a proper diagnosis, it’s important to visit your dermatologist if you suspect you have a DPOW. Again, the condition is benign, but ruling out other potentially harmful scenarios is a must. A Winer’s pore can have a similar appearance to:
- Large blackheads
- Other benign growths: hair cortex comedo, pilar sheath acanthoma, trichofolliculoma
- Basal cell carcinoma: rarely, this type of skin cancer can resemble a comedo
Can you prevent a dilated pore of Winer from forming?
Because the cause isn’t known, there isn’t a guaranteed protocol to prevent a DPOW from forming. But since it’s been linked to severe acne and to UV damage, Dr. Lee recommends maintaining a consistent skincare routine. This is going to help prevent comedones and keep skin healthy.
Here are her top SLMD ingredients to incorporate:
- Salicylic acid: a beta hydroxy acid known for penetrating into pores to prevent clogs. Try Salicylic Acid Cleanser, Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment, and Salicylic Acid Body Spray.
- Benzoyl peroxide: an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory that can help manage inflammatory acne. Find it in BP Lotion, BP Spot Treatment and BP Body Wash.
- Sunscreen: critical for preventing both skin cancer and photoaging, which can damage pores and surrounding skin. Dual Defender SPF 30 won’t clog your pores.
Dr. Lee's Last Word
Of all the skin conditions I treat in my practice, removing a dilated pore of Winer is one of the most satisfying. These benign lesions look like giant blackheads, and they’re filled with keratin and dead skin cells. They’re not harmful, but if you want to get rid of one it’s best to visit your dermatologist to have it excised, so it doesn’t keep coming back.