There are few questions that surprise me. What surprises me about this particular question is how often I hear it from the guys that come in for facials. I’ve even answered this question from guys while watching football.
The short answer is, no, pore strips don’t work. [Tweet this!] But if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I don’t have a short answer for anything in skin care.
Pore strips are used by wetting a strip of fabric with a special adhesive and applying it to the nose. It then forms a bond with any blackheads. When you remove the strip, the blackheads are supposed to be pulled out of the skin and removed with the strip.
Blackheads are created by a build up of excess oil and sebum that collect in the pore. The surface oxidizes and turns dark. I’ve talked about how blackheads are formed in more depth in other posts.
- The surface of the blackhead is not usually flush with the surrounding skin, as you can see in this illustration. The pore strip cannot adhere to the blackhead if it is actually below the skin. Therefore, it can’t be pulled out.
- Even though blackheads seem like they would be pretty solid, most are not. Most blackheads are oily in texture, so even if you can remove the top oxidized portion of the blackhead, the pore still contains the rest of the oil and sebum. This means that in a matter of days, you will just have a new blackhead.
- If the blackhead is in fact a solid blackhead that could adhere to a pore strip, I promise you that it is not going to come out by yanking something off your nose. In a facial, I use enzyme masks, steam, and special solutions to dissolve blackheads and make the surrounding skin more pliable, and I still have to work pretty hard to dislodge them.
Some people will argue with me and tell me that they see something on the other side of the pore strip after they’ve removed it, but most of that will be hair. And even if you did get a clog, there is still more debris in the pore. Mostly I think that pore strips just irritate skin and make it more sensitized. The only way to truly get pores clear is to get manual extractions in a facial. Save the money you’d spend and invest in a facial or a good, pore detoxing product.