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Do Pore Strips Really Work?

Do pore strips really work to remove blackheads and clogged pores? Or are they too good to be true?

There’s nothing better than the promise of a quick-fix to blemish-free skin. Pore strips, the reverse Band-Aid swipe to blackhead removal have been popular items for some time. And technically, they work. But not exactly for the right reasons. The adhesive on most pore strips do pull off (some) blackheads and sebaceous filaments—which can look like blackheads but aren’t.

You stick it on your nose, wait a few minutes and  then–voila!–blackheads move from your face to the pore strip. What could be simpler? But while the adhesive on most pore strips does pull off (some) blackheads–and sebaceous filaments, which can look like blackheads but aren’t–it’s not exactly working miracles.

As anyone with a blackhead knows, there’s usually much more below the surface that requires extraction. A simple swipe of strong adhesive is only going to rip open the pore and leave room for more infection of the blackhead if it’s not completely removed.

And those sebaceous filaments? They’re not really blemishes. They’re dark spots that can look like tiny blackheads, but they’re really hair-like formations that move oil out from the pore—and they actually help to moisturize the skin! Ripping them off with a pore strip? Not exactly the best idea.

The adhesive on pore strips can also be damaging to especially sensitive skin leading to redness, and even broken skin. Ouch.

But the real problem with pore strips is that while they may help to remove blackheads, they’re not doing your skin any favors in the way of prevention—meaning you’re only putting a (reverse) Band-Aid on the problem and not treating the underlying issue.

That being said, they’re typically not terribly damaging to your skin (but be sure to use them properly according to package directions), and that adhesive does serve as a minor exfoliant. But truly exfoliating the skin—either with an abrasive or alpha hydroxy fruit acids—is the best way to not only help remove blemishes, but prevent their unsightly return.

A regular skincare regimen of proper washing, moisturizing, and exfoliating is your best defense and treatment for blackheads.

Consult with your dermatologist about ongoing skin problems as it may be a sign of more serious conditions such as hormonal imbalances or food allergies.

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