Whether you use them regularly or not, pore strips (otherwise known as nose strips or blackhead strips) are increasingly popular in the beauty world, thanks to their ‘satisfyingly enjoyable’ reputation, and bold claim to rip away any dirt, oil, grime or debris from your skin.
But, although they make regular appearances on TV and in the movies, do these white nose strips actually work? And, are they worth the hype?
Before we dive into the technicalities of how pore strips do their business, it’s probably best to address why keeping our pores clear is important, and what happens when we don’t…
Sounds like an obvious question to some, but understanding what our pores really are, their function and their ideal state, will help us understand how to look after them, and why it’s so important.
By definition, pores are minute openings on the surface of the skin (usually hair follicles) which gases, liquids and microscopic particles can pass through.
Through our pores, our skin can release sebum (natural oils) to keep the surface moisturised, but having large pores is seen as a beauty nuisance as they are prone to spots and breakouts, as well as disrupting the flawless, porcelain skin we all desire to have.
Everyday, our skin comes into contact with hundreds of pollutants, materials and particles. From the make-up we apply, to the oils and dirt transferred from our hands when we touch our face, our poor pores have a lot to cope with. When pores become clogged with dirt, oil or grease, a black-head or pimple can form, depending on the level of infection. The material in the pores gets oxidised by the air which turns it black – hence the name ‘blackhead’. This excess build-up of oils and dirt can lead to uneven skin texture, damage to the dermal layers, as well as unsightly spots and blemishes.
So, how do pore strips work? A pore strip’s main function is to remove any deep-clogged excess dirt and oil from our follicles to prevent a build-up and, in theory, clear the skin of any potential infection. They also remove the top layer of dead skin cells, and extract anything on the surface including hairs, dirt, oil and makeup.
Pore strips, however, will not reduce the size of pores or prevent blackheads from forming, they merely address a temporary fix when wanting to rid the surface of the skin of any excess dirt. This means that, however satisfying it may be to inspect your pore strip for the number of blackheads you have saved your nose from, a lot of the ‘gunk’ you are looking at is just a mixture of dead skin cells, oils, and other keratotic plugs.
Depending on what your intentions are, pore strips are undoubtedly going to stay among the popular purchases for your bathroom cabinet. That satisfying pull to rid your skin of nasties is just too tempting to give up!
But, you need to remember that they shouldn’t be used as a preventative treatment for breakouts, but instead, as a part of a more thorough cleansing routine. Pore strips may not remove all of the dirt from your skin, but they do get rid of a lot! Make sure you use them correctly, and pair with a gentle exfoliator and cleanser to keep blackheads and excess sebum at bay.