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Are Pore Strips Good for Your Skin?

The pros and cons of using these sticky skin superstars - plus alternatives that won’t damage your skin

Written by: 100% PURE®
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Next to blemishes and wrinkles, clogged pores are one of our top nit-picking obsessions about our skin. We stare ourselves down in the mirror, seeing an (exaggerated) million black or white dots, wondering: “How can I make these go away?!”

Once a high school rite of passage, pore strips have oddly-shaped circled back again thanks to going viral on social platforms. But are these sticky adhesives worth the hype?

Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to care for your clogged pores. First, let’s gain a better understanding of what they are, before we march bravely into the realm of removing congested pores with pore strips.


How Do Pore Strips Exactly Work?

Some might say you haven’t lived unless you’ve examined a freshly used pore strip with gross fascination. Those sticky paper strips were basically a high school rite of passage turned Internet sensation recently, and once you partook in the whole routine, an obsession was usually promptly born. But how do these oddly shaped sticky strips actually work?

Let’s start with pores: those tiny hair follicles, openings on the surface of your skin, dirt and other toxins can gather on the surface of your skin, leading to an uneven skin tone and black and whiteheads. And when pores get clogged up, that’s when the urge to literally take matters into our own hands arises – the index-finger-squeeze method.

To help alleviate much detriment to our skin, pore strips temporarily remove the top layers of dead skin cells and blackheads by using an adhesive, allowing the strip to stick to wet skin. After the pore strip dries usually within 10 minutes, it’s pulled off, consequently removing anything that sticks to the strip – and voila!


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How Can Pore Strips Help Skin?

There's more to pore strips than meets the eye than just being highly gratifying to use. They do deliver a quick, albeit temporary, improvement of some skin culprits. Once you've yanked the strip off your face, that handy sticky paper becomes a veritable forest of little grits of dead skin cells, dirt, hair, and oil sticking straight up off the strip.

Pore strips help to smooth skin, decongest pores, and deliver that strange gratifying feeling of yanking the gunk out. And what’s more, pores appear smaller since they’re void of foreign particles, and you get a smooth, seamless makeup application. Plus, these little paper powerhouses now come with fancy enhancements for skin, from charcoal-infused to moisturizing strips to help with skin concerns.


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How Can Pore Strips Be Bad for Skin?

Pore strips are good...for temporary results. While they may work effectively at freeing pores of excess sebum, they may also strip your skin of the key oils and fatty acids that keep your skin safe. The strips lay across a wide area of the face, over both blackheads and healthy skin. Removing these beneficial elements may cause your skin to become dried out, irritated, and more prone to infection.

What’s more is for a long-term fix for black and whiteheads, pore strips aren't the best way to go. These annoying pore cloggers live deeper, below the surface of your skin, making them next to impossible to yank out with a pore strip. To prevent black and whiteheads from forming, you’ll need to turn to some other alternatives for deeper exfoliation.


Detoxifying cleanser
For a deeply detoxing option, the skin-purifying Charcoal Clay Cleanser is your best bet. Activated charcoal powder, bamboo charcoal, and kaolin clay act like magnets to draw buildup from clogged pores, while banishing excess oil.


Powder cleanser
Keep pores clear of dirt and dead skin cells with a powder cleanser. The detoxifying and pore-refining Pore Herbal Detox Powder Cleanser thoroughly washes away impurities and blackheads for less visible pores. This cleanser is a great alternative to popular glycolic acid products, which can be irritating for some skin types.


Facial scrub
Exfoliating a few times a week removes dead skin buildup, which causes pores to stretch out. Make sure you choose a nourishing exfoliator or scrub with no harsh synthetic exfoliants: enter the award-winning Acai Pulp Facial Scrub. This facial scrub harnesses the power of grape seeds and acai pulp to buff away bumps, flakes, and surface toxins.


Exfoliating sponge
Meanwhile, exfoliating with a natural, gentle scrub may also help prevent blackhead buildup. Our detoxifying Charcoal Konjac Sponge uses konjac plant and bamboo charcoal to help purify the skin, freeing it from toxins by drawing out bacteria and dirt like a magnet.


Chemical exfoliant
An exfoliating or chemical peel is another option that can gently remove the top layer of skin to reveal baby-smooth skin underneath. Made with highly beneficial alpha hydroxy acids, chemical exfoliants may be a suitable anti-aging option as well, as the treatment’s primary function is to shrink enlarged pores while sloughing off dead skin.


Vitamin A
Vitamin A is super useful for blackhead removal, helping to clear clogged pores and encourage cellular renewal. When dead skin sits on the surface for too long, it only acts as clogging ammunition for blackheads – a topical 1% retinol treatment used at night will help keep dead skin cells out of your pores.

Ready to say sayonara to congested pores? Whether you are looking for pore strips as a sleepover staple or to implement into your regular routine or want to degunk for a special event, there’s a pore strip for the job.

Although a temporary fix, pore strips are the skin band aids of really getting rid of some pore gunk! And if you really love the satisfaction of a used pore strip dappled with gunk, keep on keeping on—it's not going to do any major harm. But just like anything we obsess over, use them conservatively.

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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