Pore strips are irresistible if you have blackheads on your nose. Simply apply to your nose, press, and remove. Viola! Your blackheads are gone. But is this really the best solution for removing blackheads?
The pore strip was my original skin sin: I applied it to my face, thinking I would have clear pores. One box of pore strips later, and I have been succumbed to a lifetime of needing to clean out my pores.
The reason? Pore strips contain a hairspray-like substance on one side. It sticks to the material within your pores, but when you rip the strip off, it stretches the pore. Over time, this leads to enlarged pores, in which material collects, leaving you with a nose filled with blackheads
Paula Begoun has even harsher words for pore strips (pages 256-257 in The Beauty Bible, 2nd edition):
Pore strips in all their varying incarnations are meant to remove blackheads. You place a piece of cloth with a sticky substance on it over your face, as you might do with a Band-Aid, wait a bit for it to dry, and then rip it off. Along with some amount of skin, blackheads are supposed to stick to it and come right out of your nose. There is nothing miraculous about these products, nor do they work all that well. The main ingredient on these strips is a hairspray-type ingredient. If the instructions are followed closely you can see some benefit in removing the very surface of a blackhead. In fact, you may at first be very impressed with what comes off your nose.
Unfortunately, that leaves the majority of the problem deep in the pores. What has me most concerned about pore strips is they are accompanied by a strong warning not to use them over any area other than the intended area (nose, chin, or forehead) and not to use them over inflamed, swollen, sunburned, or excessively dry skin. It also states that if the strip is too painful to remove, you should wet it and then carefully remove it. What a warning!
On the flip side listen to what Dr. Jessica Wu has to say about pore strips in her book Feed Your Face (page 71):
Go Ahead, Try It
Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, the popular “blackhead removers” that look a bit like nose bandages, do work. When you pull off the strip, you’re removing the top layers of dead skin cells as well as oxidized (“black”) oil. They won’t prevent blackheads because they have nothing to do with your skin’s oil production, but they can temporarily make your pores look smaller.
So whose advice should you follow? Personally I would recommend staying clear of pore strips. They are a temporary fix at best so it is better to invest in a salicylic acid product or a retinoid for a long-term solution. For more tips on how to get rid of blackheads see my post (aptly titled) How to Get Rid of Blackheads.