Say No to Pore Strips

The truth behind the grossly satisfying skincare trend

simarik/Getty Images

simarik/Getty Images

Sarah Patel, Staff Writer

According to Zion Market Research, the global pore strip industry is projected to reach over 2.2 billion dollars by 2025. 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the latest skincare fad: pore strips. Maybe you’ve watched one of those gruesome – yet satisfying – pore strip removals on YouTube, seen a friend wearing one in a SnapChat, or even tried one yourself. 

Many teens are attracted to pore strips’ marketed ability to purify pores and remove blackheads. However, the gunk you actually see on your pore strip is less of what you want to get rid of and more of what keeps your skin healthy.

Our skin is filled with tiny glands, called sebaceous filaments. Their main job is to produce sebum, a waxy substance that protects the skin from dehydration, sunlight, and bacterial or fungal infections. 

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As you wince in pain and peel off the pore strip like a Band-Aid, these sebaceous filaments, and the essential sebum they contain, are extracted.  

Pore strips merely remove the top layer of a blackhead and some of its oxidized oil, which gives a blackhead its dark appearance. The root of the problem – which lies deeper in the pore – remains unsolved. 

Pore strips aren’t an efficient, long-term solution to blackheads, and put your skin at risk for irritation. “They can scar the skin, be damaging to the skin, and cause spider veins, or angiomas,” said Robin C., a medical assistant at North Shore Dermatology Center.

If you’re looking to remove blackheads in a safe and effective way, chemical exfoliation might be for you. 

BHAs, or beta-hydroxy acids, are chemical exfoliants that can deeply penetrate the skin and remove the core of a blackhead. AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids, can gently remove dead skin and surface-level pore buildup. Salicylic acid, a BHA, and glycolic acid, an AHA, are common ingredients that can be found in a variety of acne products. 

The Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sakari Babyfacial cream.

I’ve been using the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sakari Babyfacial, and I’m amazed at the results. It contains a powerhouse of ingredients, being 25% AHA and 2% BHA. After a month of weekly use, my skin appears noticeably smoother, brighter, and clearer. 

If you have any skin concerns or are interested in trying a new product, Robin recommends seeing a licensed dermatologist.

“Everyone’s skin is different,” said Robin, “and a dermatologist can help you get on the right regimen.” 

 

 

References 

AHA vs. BHA: What’s the Difference?, https://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skincare-advice/blackheads/do-blackhead-strips-really-work.html.

“Blackheads vs. Whiteheads.” https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/blackheads-vs-whiteheads.

“Do Pore Strips for Blackheads Really Work?” https://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skincare-advice/blackheads/do-blackhead-strips-really-work.html.