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:
Why You Shouldn’t Use Pore Strips
Here are all the reasons why pore strips are bad for your skin:
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 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.
Related: 3 Science-Backed Ways To Shrink Large Pores
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2. Pore Strips Can Irritate And Tear Skin
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
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 Should You 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.
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief 1% BHA Lotion ($27.00): available at Feel Unique and Paula’s Choice
- Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ($29.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic and Paula’s Choice
- The Inkey List BHA (£9.99): Available at Cult Beauty, Feel Unique, Look Fantastic, and Sephora
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.