How Pore Strips Can Affect Your Skin, A Dermatologist Explains
Most people have a fascination with pores. Actually, let us rephrase that. Most people have a fascination with seeing the gunk and grime being expelled from their pores. Case in point: pore strips. There’s something about staring at a used pore strip that’s grossly satisfying. So what’s the deal with using pore strips? Do they work and—most importantly—how can they affect our skin? Below, we asked board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali to find out! Keep reading for the verdict.
HOW PORE STRIPS WORK
It’s not rocket science, but it’s worth mentioning how a pore strip works. Each strip is coated with an adhesive that bonds to skin. You wet your nose, place on the strip, wait 10-15 minutes, and then slowly peel it off. What’s unearthed—a combination of black and grey-hued sebum and dirt—can be pretty shocking, especially if you haven’t exfoliated in a while. “They can definitely work to exfoliate clogged pores,” Bhanusali says. But there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) “If you overdo it,” he says. “You can cause compensatory hyper-secretion of oil, which may lead to more breakouts.” Layman’s terms? By over-exfoliating and over-using pore strips you run the risk of dehydrating your skin which can cause your sebaceous glands to overcompensate by producing excess oil. Yikes! In addition, pore strips don’t offer any long-term exfoliating benefits—sebum and dirt will inevitably find their way back into your pores—plus they can simply be irritating on sensitive skin. To help remove blackheads from your nose, and keep them from recurring, there are a slew of better skin care practices to adopt.
CLEANSE & EXFOLIATE
Salicylic acid—an ingredient found in acne-fighting treatments—unclogs pores, so why not use it? SkinCeuticals Clarifying Cleanser is formulated with salicylic, glycolic, and mandelic acids and helps to unclog pores, smooth skin texture, and improve skin’s overall appearance. Use it twice daily to keep your blackheads in check. Just be careful to use salicylic acid only as instructed, since it can be drying on the skin. As well, be diligent about wearing—and reapplying—broad-spectrum SPF each day to protect your skin from sun damage. Derms also recommend exfoliating every week (or as tolerated) to keep skin and pores clear of grime.
Need help choosing an exfoliating scrub? We’ve laid out some of our favorite exfoliators, here!
USE A PORE PURIFYING CLAY MASK
Clay masks are a fun and easy way to decongest clogged pores and lift away impurities while also reducing oil pooled on the skin’s surface. SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque is no exception. Apply a thin layer onto your nose—you can use this on your entire face, neck, and chest if you wanted to—allow it to set for 10-15 minutes or until it hardens, and then rinse with lukewarm water. You’ll get the same satisfaction as a pore strip, since all the dirt and grime rises to the surface to be washed away!
TRY CLEANSING WITH A CLARISONIC
Your hands are great cleansing tools, but a Clarisonic is just better at the job—six times better, to be exact. For a really thorough cleanse, whip out a Clarisonic—we love the MIA 2!—to help loosen and remove dirt and oil from your skin’s surface. It’s lightweight and compact, too so you can take it virtually anywhere with you.
If there’s a successful way you keep your blackheads at bay, keep on keepin’ on. Like they say: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it—not even for a fancy-sounding pore strip.