Why I Don’t Use Pore Strips (And You Shouldn’t Either)

by Gio

why you shouldn't use pore strips

When I was a teen, I inflicted all kinds of damage to my skin.

I didn’t always bother to remove makeup before going to bed.

Sunscreen was something I used only at the beach (and I rarely went there, so I almost never wore it).

I used cheap products with comedogenic ingredients that would leave me with pimples and blackheads. And then, I tried to remove them with pore strips.

Ugh. Sorry, skin!

Of course, back then I thought I was doing all the right things. Pore strips were something that pretty much every magazine recommended (and still do).

And why not? You apply one to your nose, press, remove, and voilà. Your blackheads are gone and your pores look smaller.

But only temporarily. In the long run, pore strips actually make them bigger. True story! Here’s the scoop:

1. Pore strips stretch pores And Makes Them Clog Faster

You know what pore strips are made of? Polyquaternium-37. That’s the hairspray-like substance that makes the strip stick to your the gunk within your pores.

When you rip the strip off, it stretches your pores. Over time, your pores are so stretched, all sorts of gunk can easily fill them. You know what that means? Yep, a nose full of blackheads.

Pore strips do more harm than good. They stretch pores, irritate skin & don't even work well.Click to Tweet

Related: 3 Science-Backed Ways To Shrink Large Pores

2. Pore strips can irritate and tear skin too

Pore strips are harsh, my friend.

When you rip off the strips, they can irritate and tear the skin and even bring spider veins to the surface. 

They are particularly dangerous if:

  • You’ve been having facial peels
  • You’re using Retin-A, Renova, AHAs, or BHA
  • You’re taking isotretinoin for acne
  • You have naturally thin skin
  • You have rosacea, psoriasis or any other skin disorder

There’s more.

The glue that makes them adhere so well to the skin can get inside the pores, too. That can irritate them and cause breakouts, too.

Related: How To Deal With Rosacea

3. Pore strips don’t remove the entire blackhead

But, but, but… seeing that strip covered in gunk feels SO good. The stretching and tearing pale in comparison. Who cares about them? Look at all those blackheads on the strips. Now, that’s satisfying!

I hate to break your bubble, but all that gunk is just the top of the blackheads. You know, the parts there were closer to the opening. The bodies of your blackheads are still well and alive and will haunt you again.

A little push and soon that gunk will reach the surface. Yep, another blackhead. Except, it’s not. It’s the old one you hadn’t removed properly the first time around.

Related: The Right Way To Treat Blackheads

What To Use Instead Of Pore Strips

If blackheads pay frequent visits to your face, exfoliate regularly with salicylic acid. It can penetrate inside the pores, so it removes the whole thing, not just the head. Bye bye, blackheads!

By the way, salicylic acid doesn’t necessarily need to be in an exfoliant. It can be in a toner, moisturizer, wherever… Just as long as it stays on the skin for hours, it’ll work fine.

Best picks:

The Bottom Line

Pore strips do more harm than good. Stay away from comedogenic stuff and exfoliate often and you won’t have to deal with blackheads anymore.

Are you surprised pore strips are so bad for skin? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

Screenshot from 2017 04 30 11 51 35

Get access to the “Pro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine “cheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams - even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.


Powered by ConvertKit

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

22 comments

Trisha July 11, 2014 - 1:48 pm

Wow! I had no idea! Makes total sense though, especially about the pore stretching.

Good thing I almost never use them. It’s been years.

Reply
Gio July 11, 2014 - 2:56 pm

Trisha, glad to hear that. They seem so innocuous and such an easy fix, but they can do quite a bit of damage!

Reply
anonymus June 28, 2016 - 3:37 am

Can I still use egg white mask? My sister uses it and her skin is moisturised and clean

Reply
Gio July 2, 2016 - 1:11 am

Anonymous, I’m not a big fan of it. Salicylic acid is the best thing for blemishes.

Reply
Jess July 18, 2016 - 3:31 pm

Can we use glue. People use toxic free glue on their face and when it dries they peel it off gently I’ve seen a couple YouTube videos on it.

Reply
Gio July 23, 2016 - 10:39 pm

Jess, no, don’t! Glue poses the same problems. It stretches the pores unnecessarily and only removes the superficial part of the blackhead. The rest of it will remain in the pores and soon cause more blemishes. Stick to salicylic acid. It’s gentler than glue and can remove the whole thing.

Reply
Michelle November 27, 2016 - 9:24 am

I wish I saw this sooner. Ive been using pore strips for about 2 tines a month for 6 months and my pores have gotten more visible. 🙁 I am never using then again but do you think my pores will shrink after a while of not using pore strips or am I doomed. If not, do you have any recommendations or tips on how to shrink them?

Reply
Gio December 4, 2016 - 10:14 pm

Michelle, oh no! Are you using retinol serum? That should help get your pores back to normal more quickly.

Reply
nat May 19, 2017 - 1:32 pm

I just bought a pack of pore strips for the first time, whoops! Is it too bad if you only use them occasionally (i.e. before a photo day for a quick fix?)

Reply
Gio May 21, 2017 - 9:44 am

Nat, I understand you want to use them and no, occasionally they won’t do so much damage. But, they’ll only remove the superficial part of the blemish so they’ll spring up again pretty soon.

Reply
Jenny @ Support Your Beauty May 29, 2017 - 5:40 pm

Hello,
I’ve tried almost every drug store pore strip, but you are right, it only lifts my deep-seated blackheads but not totally remove it. I end up doing the process 3 or 4 times just to get a so-so result. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Gio June 3, 2017 - 3:44 pm

Jenny, it’s frustrating, isn’t t? Get yourself a bottle of salicylic acid. It will remove the whole thing.

Reply
Wendy September 8, 2017 - 2:58 am

Hi Gio,

I have used Biore Pore Strips and I had to repeat twice to see the result. I apply it at first and not contented at all so I had to try again :). I think using these strips will take time to see an effective result but I am enjoying using the product. I am giving it a thought that this one is not suitable for my skin type and just a bottle of salicylic acid is one best solution. Thanks.

Reply
Gio September 8, 2017 - 9:41 pm

Wendy, the problem is that the strip can only grab what’s on the surface, not what’s deep inside the pores. That’s why those blackheads keep coming back. I think it’s best to use salicylic acid. It can get rid of the whole beast once and for all.

Reply
Wendy September 9, 2017 - 9:50 am

Hi Gio,

Thanks for the reply. So that’s the reason why this strip can’t get rid of my blackheads. It is best not to use this product. Thank for your suggestion, I’ll switch to salicylic acid. Do you think it is best to use salicylic acid before bed time?

Reply
Gio September 17, 2017 - 9:02 am

Wendy, yes, I know it’s satisfying to see all those gunk on the pore strips, but the feeling doesn’t last long as pretty soon they come back. 🙁 I prefer to use it in the morning but you can definitely use it before bedtime.

Reply
Nicole Gaston November 29, 2017 - 6:33 pm

I just bought a pack of pore strips for the first time whoops! It is too bad if you only use them occasionally.

Reply
Gio December 3, 2017 - 6:55 pm

Nicole, I wouldn’t say using pore strips every now and then would ruin your skin. But they don’t get rid of the problem at the source so it’s kinda pointless.

Reply
Mercy Wright December 3, 2017 - 6:19 pm

Just had a horrible reaction! Nose numb for a good 30 mins, burning sensation inside nose as well as outside, black stuff left residue that was hard to remove. Skin on nose felt weird, dead. Never again. Also hard to breath through nose for 15 minutes. They used to have white strips that were not this strong. Had to take allergy medicin; almost grabbed my epipen.

Reply
Gio December 10, 2017 - 2:24 pm

Mercy, how awful! So sorry to hear this has happened to you. Better stay away indeed.

Reply
Jay July 2, 2018 - 2:20 pm

I just used a pore strip last night and I woke up with an itchy red rash on my nose and forehead. This has happened to me before all over my face but I thought it was because of a moisturizer I had just started using. Either way I would like to know why exactly I’m allergic to so I can avoid it in the future.

Reply
Gio July 5, 2018 - 8:21 pm

Jay. it’s probably something in the “glue” but without an allergy test it’s hard to know for sure.

Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.