Do Pore Strips Really Work?

by Lindsey Rose Black

Whether or not it's good for your skin, staring at little blackheads on a freshly ripped-off pore strip undoubtedly gives you the same manic satisfaction as popping a pimple. But the question remains: do pore strips really work? I took a deep dive into the Internet to scout out the truth. Ultimately, the answer is yes, sort of.

Pore strips "work" like a band-aid, as each strip is coated with a strong adhesive. Set one on your nose, wait a few minutes, and rip it away to magically reveal all the little blackheads you didn't even know you had. While it's true you are in fact successfully removing pieces of blackhead junk from your nose, the strips do nothing to actually treat and reduce blackheads from recurring. Swap out T-Swift's "band-aids don't fix bullet holes" with "band-aids don't fix black headsssss" and you get the idea.

In Feed Your Face, Dr. Jessica Wu elaborated on how pore strips kinda work/kinda don't. She said, "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." Merp.

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, $5, Amazon

According to Delirious Ideas, whether pore strips actually work has a lot to do with how you use them. If you're sticking them on without wetting your nose with hot water or not getting them in all of the creases of your nose, it likely won't work. However, if you follow the directions correctly, there's a good chance those blackheads will come off when your take them off.

So, go ahead, use them if you like them and if they don't irritate your skin (or even try and make your own DIY pore strips!). However, you're ultimately better off finding a deep pore cleanser that treats blackheads instead of just temporarily minimizing them. I suggest trying out the products below.

1. Clay Mask

This mask gives you that same "Aha! I got you!" satisfaction because once it dries, you can see exactly where the mask has pulled up gunk from your pores. The six-acid blend also leaves your skin with a radiant, lasting glow.

GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment, $69, Sephora

2. Lemon and Honey

One of Bustle's lovely writers tested out using lemon and honey as a blackhead clearing toner and loved the results!

3. Tea Tree Oil

Remember the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding and how obsessed he was with Windex for everything? My dad feels the same way about tea tree oil and when it comes to treating blackheads, it's hard to find a better natural option! I've been using it on mine since I was in middle school and love how cleansing it is without being harsh on my sensitive skin.

Now Essential Oils Tea Tree Oil, $11, Amazon

Image Credit: bioreUS/Instagram; WilliamWarby /Flickr;; NowFoods Essential Oils