Depending on who you ask, pore strips are either fascinating or revolting. They're odd-looking pieces of paper you plaster across your nose, and then peel off to reveal the deep, dark contents of your pores. There can be something satisfying about the process. However, it can also be disconcerting to face the gunk residing in your t-zone.
Regardless of how you view the unclogging procedure, there's no denying that pore strips play a valuable role in cleaning the face. Dead skin cells and oil known as sebum can clog pores, leading to all kinds of problems -- including breakouts.
To help ensure your skin is both healthy and attractive, consider this straightforward pore treatment. On the following pages, we've provided you with five quick tips you need to get started.
They Target Blackheads
On the previous page we discussed substances building up in pores. It's that process that leads to blackheads. Technically a type of acne, a blackhead occurs when the material in a pore is pushed out through a follicle. It's when the buildup reaches the skin's surface and reacts with oxygen that it turns black.
Blackheads are what pore strips are designed to remove. If you look closely at a strip after it has been pulled from your face, you can see dozens of tiny, dark, hair-like stalks on the underside of it. What're you're looking at are the contents of your pores. And once these blackheads have been removed, you'll notice clearer-looking skin.
Of course, such results aren't permanent. You'll find out why on the next page.
They Treat, not Prevent
As satisfying as blackhead removal with a pore strip can be, it's only a temporary fix. It won't stop your pores from collecting oil, dead skin and even dirt. Such a process is a natural, ongoing occurrence in the skin. What a pore strip can do, however, is get rid of the buildup before it leads to a breakout or becomes aesthetically unappealing.
So, as a treatment, pore strips aren't a one-time remedy. They must be used over and over again. Fortunately, they're a simple, fairly inexpensive part of a skin care regimen. However, if you're interested in reducing costs further, you can make your own pore strips. Keep reading to learn how.
You Can Make them Yourself
If you're cost conscious, you can create do-it-yourself pore strips. All you need are two main elements: a covering material and an adhesive.
For the material, gauze or thin strips of cloth from an old t-shirt will do. For the adhesive, the substance that will temporarily bind the cloth to your skin, you'll need to get some items out of your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. A combination of buttermilk, egg whites, gelatin or honey should give you the texture you need. (Just be sure to wash your hands and face after handling raw eggs as they can spread salmonella.)
Place the material in the adhesive, then apply it to your skin. Once it dries (within about 10 to 15 minutes) you can peel it off in a swift motion -- the same way you would a store-bought strip.
On the next page we address another fact about pore strips.
They're Simple to Use
Unless you go the homemade route we detailed on the previous page, pore strips are incredibly simple to use. To apply one, you simply remove the adhesive's cover, then wet the side that will be placed against your skin. You then press it on your face (typically the nose area) and let it remain there until the strip hardens.
While you're waiting on the pore strip to dry -- a process that usually takes around 10 minutes -- you can kill time with any activity. The strip will stiffen when it's fully dried. Then, you simply pull it off.
After you've used a pore strip, it's ideal to follow it up with an astringent or toner. This will help thoroughly wash the newly cleaned out pores.
There's one more thing you need to know about pore strips. Keep reading to find out what it is.
You Shouldn't Use Them All the Time
If you have concerns about stripping pore debris from your skin, don't. It's perfectly safe. But to ensure your skin remains as healthy as possible, you shouldn't ignore the pore strip manufacturer's instructions on or in the package.
Overdoing pore strip use can make your skin look worse instead of better. Have you ever seen a person's face after a chemical peel? A similar red, irritated look can develop when pore strips are used too often. So, be sure to only apply them as recommended, which is usually about once a week. If you have particularly dry skin, a breakout or you're undergoing a topical acne treatment, you may want to delay using pore strips until your skin issue has been resolved.
You should also be careful where you place the pore strips. The nose is an ideal location for the treatment because that's an area where you have a lot of pores. It's also a tougher part of the face. Cheeks, on the other hand, have more sensitive skin.
We have lots more skin care information on the next page.
When it comes to exfoliating your face, you need to proceed with caution. The skin on your face is sensitive! Try these tips for exfoliating your face
- Biore. "Deep Cleansing Pore Strips: Fun Facts." (Accessed 09/28/2009) http://www.biore.com/usa/products/pore_strips_detail.asp?productID=9
- Fried, Richard G. "Healing adult acne: your guide to clear skin & self confidence." Google Books. 2005. (Accessed 09/28/2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=XGwrMQaapKsC&pg=PA70&dq=pore+strips&lr=&client=safari#v=onepage&q=pore%20strips&f=false
- Gabor, L. "Improve your pore health." Prevention 44, no. 6 (June 1992): 110. Accessed online via MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (Accessed 11/10/09).
- Goodheart, Herbert P. "Acne for Dummies." Google Books. 2006. (Accessed 09/28/2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=ot2C-Q_OU0AC&pg=PT99&dq=pore+strips&lr=&client=safari#v=onepage&q=pore%20strips&f=false
- Gordon M.D., Marsha & Alice E. Fugate. "The complete idiot's guide to beautiful skin." Google Books. 1998. (Accessed 09/28/2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=GmK1eeGGjP8C&pg=PA172&lpg=PA172&dq=%22sleeping+with+makeup+on%22&source=bl&ots=JJeoqmgw0V&sig=hHnNXedrqY2WScQF9deIpaE651I&hl=en&ei=fJKtSuf2BpSwsgPSmbWBBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#v=onepage&q=sebum&f=false
- Ling, Low Chai. "In full bloom: look fabulous during and after pregnancy." Google Books. 2007. (Accessed 09/28/2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=_IhD0NbhTTQC&pg=PA104&dq=pore+strips+milk+gelatin&lr=#v=onepage&q=pore%20strips%20milk%20gela&f=false
- Roppatte, Vincent, et al. "Cool Hair: A Teenager's Guide to the Best Beauty Secrets on Hair, Makeup and Style." Google Books. 2003. (Accessed 09/28/2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=eUa5HHRLjOkC&pg=PA118&dq=pore+strips&lr=&client=safari#v=onepage&q=pore%20strips&f=false
- Vinakmens, Kristen. "Myths and truths about your pores." Best Health Magazine. August 2009. (Accessed 09/28/2009) http://besthealthmag.ca/look-great/skin/myths-and-truths-about-your-pores
- WebMD. "Acne: Home Treatment." (Accessed 10/14/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/acne-vulgaris-home-treatment
- WebMD. "Skin Conditions: Teenage Acne." (Accessed 10/14/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/teenage-acne?page=2