It is estimated that 45% of people in the US have one or more types of acne problems, and among the most common are blackheads. Those little black spots may not be serious enough to warrant topical or oral medication, but most people are taking active measures to get rid of them as soon as possible. As a result, pore strips have become a mainstay in skincare routines around the world, and they are an essential beauty staple among adolescents and older people dealing with blackheads. However, skincare experts and enthusiasts argue that pore strips may not be as effective as they claim to be. Moreover, there is a possibility that the adhesive can be harmful to the skin. Here’s what you need to know about pore strips, and why you should think twice before using them.

They Can Be A Reactive Treatment, Not A Proactive One

Pore strips are not a preventative measure, and shouldn’t be used as a skincare product before a problem arises. When a skin condition does arise, while they do have a clear and discernable use, the times where they will be necessary is somewhat limited. Pore strips cannot prevent the appearance of blackheads, pimples, rashes, or skin conditions of any variety. They cannot prevent acne either, but they may remove the bacteria that would trigger an acne reaction.

Pore strips are most commonly used to get rid of blackheads. Blackheads form when sebum, dead skin cells, and dirt gather in pores and form a visible black plug on the skin. These black spots usually form on the nose and cheeks. Pore strips can be applied to these areas, and if left on for ten to fifteen minutes before removal, should effectively clean the pore out. This will not heal the pore though, and will not prevent dirt from clogging up the area again.

They Have Limited Practical Use

Though it can be incredibly satisfying to pull out blackheads in one go, using pore strips frequently can affect your skin’s health. While applying an adhesive to the skin can unclog your pores, it can also remove your skin’s natural oils that keeps it hydrated and healthy. It is not advisable to use pore strips more than once every three or four days. Pore strips should be viewed as a temporary solution, capable of removing dirt that will soon accumulate again without effective treatment. It is not a long-term solution to any skin condition, so if blackheads persist, you may want to consider other treatments to discourage blackheads from forming.

Keeping Blackheads At Bay

There are several ways to keep your pores clean and blackhead-free that don’t involve the use of pore strips or peel-away masks that function in the same way. A gentle scrub formulated with salicylic acid will keep your pores clean. Also, if you choose to do a manual extraction using your fingers or a comedo remover, steam your face first or apply a hot towel to your face to open up the pores. This will make extraction easier and less painful. After extraction, apply a toner with salicylic acid to soothe your skin and to disinfect your pores. Next, apply a clay mask to draw out excess oils and to tighten your pores. After 15 minutes, wash away the mask with lukewarm water, then follow with an oil-free moisturizer.

Pore strips may be useful for temporarily clearing blackheads and cleaning pores, but these products may do more harm than good in the long run. If blackheads persist or if you’re not comfortable doing your own extractions, consult a dermatologist or a licensed skin therapist to help you get rid of your blackheads and keep them from coming back.

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