A dilated pore of Winer is a noncancerous tumor of a hair follicle or sweat gland in the skin. The pore looks very much like a large blackhead but is a different kind of skin lesion.

Dr. Louis H. Winer first described the skin pore in 1954, which is where the pore of “Winer” gets its name.

Keep reading to find out more about this unique skin condition that typically affects older adults.

A dilated pore of Winer is a sometimes-large lesion that looks like a circle with a large, open area of dark material. This material is keratin, a tough protein in the skin that often makes up fingernails and hair.

Dilated pores of Winer are usually much larger than a blackhead, but some appear very close in appearance. Key symptoms of a dilated pore of Winer include:

  • a single, enlarged pore in appearance
  • black-appearing “plug” in the middle of the enlarged pore
  • healthy, normal-appearing surrounding skin

These lesions usually appear on the head and neck, often on the face. However, some people may notice a pore of Winer on their trunk, particularly the back.

Here’s an example of what a dilated pore of Winer looks like:

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A dilated pore of Winer is a single enlarged pore that can be blocked by a dark plug. It typically occurs on a person’s head or neck, but can also appear on their trunk.

Doctors don’t know what exactly causes a dilated pore of Winer. While there have been some theories over the years, the most current one is that scar tissue starts to build around a cyst in the pore, resulting in an enlarged pore.

Doctors have identified some risk factors for this condition: People who are in middle age or older often develop it, as well as those with a history of severe acne.

It’s also more common in white males who are older than 40.

In rare instances, a dilated pore of Winer can co-occur or appear similar to basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. For this reason, a doctor may perform a biopsy to ensure the pore of Winer isn’t due to an underlying skin condition.

A dilated pore of Winer can look like several other skin conditions. Examples include:

One skin condition called a pilar sheath acanthoma looks a lot like a dilated pore of Winer. Many times it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. However, pilar sheath acanthomas usually appear on a person’s upper lip. They may also be less symmetrical in nature compared to a dilated pore of Winer.

To make a diagnosis, a dermatologist will examine the site. They may take a biopsy to help confirm their diagnosis.

The key is to not pick at the lesion before a doctor gets to look at it. This could inflame or irritate the pore, making it harder to diagnose and treat.

From a health standpoint, you don’t have to treat a dilated pore of Winer. The pore isn’t dangerous to your health. It shouldn’t cause pain. However, it can be noticeable and a cosmetic concern.

There aren’t any at-home medical treatments, such as topical applications, to treat a dilated pore of Winer. But you can talk to your doctor to get it removed.

Here are some removal options:

Comedone extractors

Some doctors or skin care professionals may try to remove the dilated pore of Winer with a comedone extractor. This is usually a metal or plastic tool with a hole in the middle. The tool puts pressure on the skin to release the keratin plug.

However, this approach won’t make the pore fully go away. Skin cells will likely build back up and make the dilated pore of Winer reappear.

Also, it’s important that you don’t try this at home. Manipulating the pore too much can lead to inflammation and infection.

Other temporary treatments

Other approaches doctors have tried to remove a dilated pore of Winer include:

However, they don’t usually cure the condition. This is because they often can’t penetrate deeply enough to remove enough of the material and the pore itself. They may temporarily reduce its appearance, yet the pore will likely come back.

Surgical removal is the most effective method

A dermatologist can otherwise treat the dilated pore of Winer by surgically removing the area via a biopsy. This is usually an in-office procedure.

According to a 2019 report, this removal approach usually “cures” or fully treats the pore.

Surgical complications

While surgical removal can treat the dilated pore of Winer, it’s important to know there are complications from surgical removal. These include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • scarring

However, using proper aseptic and anti-infection techniques can help reduce infection risks. These include wound care post-procedure, such as keeping the skin clean and dry.

Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of infection, such as:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • warmth to the touch of the incision site

Since there’s no identified cause, there’s not much you can do to prevent dilated pores of Winer.

People who’ve had a history of acne are more likely to experience a dilated pore of Winer. However, the condition isn’t due to what you did or didn’t do in terms of taking care of your skin.

If you’re concerned about developing dilated pores of Winer, talk to your doctor or dermatologist.

A dilated pore of Winer isn’t a harmful skin condition, but its appearance may be a cosmetic concern. A dermatologist can diagnose and treat the condition by surgically removing it.

If you have a lesion that you think may be a dilated pore of Winer, talk to your dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. Don’t try to remove it yourself.