A single, isolated pore on your face can become clogged due to a number of reasons, but a type of skin cancer can also look like a clogged pore.

On your face are pores, and they are particularly visible in the following areas: between and slightly above the eyebrows, the nose, immediately below the nostrils, the cheeks right next to the nostrils, right above and below the lips, and the chin.

The most common area for bunches of pores to be simultaneously clogged (“blackheads”) is the bulbous portion of the nose.

However, it’s possible for a single pore, in a field or among a cluster of pores, to be clogged.

This will make it stand out more to the person who examines their face.

That isolated very tiny dark spot will get their attention. They may wonder, “What’s THAT?”

“There are many reasons why you may have a single ‘clogged’ pore,” says Dr. Janet Prystowsky, board certified dermatologist in New York, NY, with 30+ years’ experience.

“You may have a scarred pore, a follicular cyst, or potentially a basal cell carcinoma.”

You may also just, by chance, have an isolated clogged pore among others that are not congested. The skin on your face isn’t perfect.

But let’s back up a moment: basal cell carcinoma.

This is a skin cancer. Do not panic. It does not metastasize and is not fatal when treated.

When untreated it causes local tissue destruction, and in theory it can cause serious problems if the destruction encroaches critical tissue such as the optic nerve.

It takes many years for a basal cell carcinoma to cause local destruction. In fact, my brother had a basal cell carcinoma on his face go untreated for five years and it still was only the size of a dime and flat. You can’t even tell where on his face it was removed.

“A scarred pore may look bigger than a regular pore due to scar tissue inside the pore,” continues Dr. Prystowsky. “Squeezing and poking this pore may cause more scar tissue to develop!

“Follicular cysts are firm balls of foul-smelling dead skin cells inside of a pore.

“Do not pop these cysts! Popping may result in the dead skin cells getting into your tissues below the skin surface, which is painful and irritating.

“Sometimes a basal cell carcinoma can look like a clogged pore. If you’re worried that your ‘clogged’ pore is a basal cell carcinoma then you should contact your dermatologist for a biopsy.”

Lastly, and this is BY FAR the least likely cause – out of the possible causes mentioned here – of what appears to be a blackhead, is a very early melanoma.

Two-thirds of melanomas arise in the absence of a mole. They don’t appear from nothing to pencil-eraser-sized overnight.

Melanomas that arise in the absence of a mole will start out, as any new lesion will, as just a handful of cells.

As the cells multiply, they will eventually become barely visible to the naked eye when viewed up close.

At this point it may not be detected during a casual visual scan of your face.

But as it continues to grow, it will get to the size of a typical small pore – and may resemble a clogged pore.

It may even be the same color as your normal clogged pores.

If it’s melanoma, it WILL increase in size over time – enough so to be noticed over several months. But don’t wait even two months to see what happens.

Have a dermatologist examine what you hope is only an isolated clogged pore.

In combination with her focus on early skin cancer detection and removal, Dr. Prystowsky provides a wide range of revitalizing and rejuvenating treatments.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: Shutterstock/Evgeny Atamanenko