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They’re ridiculously satisfying to rip off, and they gratify our Gen Z craving for instant results. But are pore strips doing your skin more harm than good?
Some people swear by pore strips for clogged pores, but dermatologists argue that these beauty products can actually be damaging to your skin.
Here, we let the experts fill us in on how pore strips work, how safe they are, and other effective ways to eliminate blackheads ASAP.
Pore strips are designed to extract blackheads.
“Nose strips or pore strips remove top layers of dead skin cells and blackheads by using a very strong adhesive,” explains New York City-based dermatologist Sejal Shah, who compares them to Band-Aids.
Like Band-Aids, pore strips extract anything on the surface of your nose, including hair, oil, and dirt. But according to Shah, they won’t prevent the build-up of grime or blackheads occurring on the skin.
Adam Friedman, an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, calls these strips a “temporary cosmetic fix.”
Want the short story or the long story?
Short: Yes, they work. But they don’t really fix the problem.
Long: If used correctly, pore strips do work. And while they can remove surface grime, they don’t reach the deeper components of blackheads within the pore. In other words, you may still see dark spots along your nose post-rip. Pore strips also won’t stop new blackheads from forming.
They’re Hiding a Dirty Secret from You
Pore strips can temporarily make your pores look smaller, but they have a secret you should know about. They can be damaging to your skin.
See, pore strips contain an adhesive that removes not just surface grime but hydrating oils from your skin. By stripping your skin of oil, you’re telling your skin to create more oil to make up for the loss. As a result, you’re left with more blackheads than you started with.
Pore strips can also cause irritation by tearing off too much of your skin, which aggravates the skin barrier and could result in more breakouts. That doesn’t mean every pore strip is damaging to your skin, but it shouldn’t be a regular part of your skincare regimen.
If you’re going to use them, Dr. Morgan Rabach of LM Medical suggests only using them once a week (if it’s necessary!).
You should avoid using pore strips altogether if you have sensitive, eczema-prone skin or acne, as they can make things a lot worse.
If pore strips play an important role in your skincare routine, it may be hard to hear this. But if you want your skin to look as healthy and flawless as possible, you really need to take the following into account.
Pore strips work. Even the experts say that. But there’s a caveat – in the long term, pore strips could simply be worsening the situation and triggering more blackheads.
If you want to minimize your pores, focus instead on following a solid skincare routine. It might take a little longer to see results and feel a lot less satisfying in the moment, but it will lead to some serious skin-clearing action. And that’s the most satisfying thing ever!
It’s a new chapter for your skin.
Instead of relying on the temporary fix of pore strips, try incorporating ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid into your daily routine. These ingredients help exfoliate your skin, slough off dead skin cells and regulate oil production. With less build-up and less oil, your pores will gradually minimize.
“Gentile exfoliating cleansers of the salicylic acid variant are great because salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that cuts through sebum and breaks it down,” says dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara.
Add Truly’s Hemp Jelly Anti-Blemish Cleanser into your daily routine. It combines salicylic acid with retinol to decongest pores and clarify the complexion. Use this every time you wash your face.
“Some of my favorite ways to unclog pores are by using either clay or charcoal masks which can help draw impurities, bacteria and sebum/oil out of pores,” says Shari Marchbein, MD, dermatologist. The key here is to repeat the process 1-2 times per week.
Try Truly’s Charcoal-Formulated Blemish Treatment to zap blackheads and keep pores clear.
Just another great reason to start drinking more h20 – smaller pores!
“Pores are open for a few reasons - dehydration (a lack of water in the skin, not dry skin), part of the ageing process and genetics,” says skincare specialist Kristi Shuba. “Hydrating treatments and anything that will flood the surface of the skin with moisture are great for diminishing pores.”
Dr. Winnie Uchendu, an aesthetic and wellness doctor at TWN Clinic, recommends using products containing hyaluronic acid.
“Opting for an ingredient like hyaluronic acid in your moisturiser is highly recommended as it increases the water content of the skin without adding any oil, making it a great option for those with enlarged pores and oily or acne prone skin.”
Truly’s Cream Skin Face Moisturizer is loaded with hyaluronic acid to hydrate, plump, and rejuvenate skin. Besides delivering a dewy, moisturized finish, this formula will also give the appearance of closed pores.
Some skincare troubles are better left to the experts.
“In office treatments, such as Hydrafacials and microdermabrasion are good examples of less aggressive in-office treatments that can improve the appearance of pores by mechanically exfoliating the skin,” says Dr. Marchbein.
These treatments also enable pore-clearing ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid to penetrate deeper into the skin. The result? Smoother, brighter, clearer skin.
Turns out, you don’t need pore strips to unclog your pores and banish blackheads. With a good skincare routine, you can actively address your large pores without causing damage to your skin or running the risk of making things worse.