Pore Strips


Pore strips may be just what you need to help put your best face forward.
Pore strips may be just what you need to help put your best face forward.
©iStockphoto.com/Silvia Bukovac

Nobody likes blackheads. They're unsightly, and to make matters worse, they tend to pop up on your nose, which just happens to be the centerpiece of your face. If frustrating blackheads are pestering you, pore strips may be just what you need to help make blackheads a thing of the past.

Our pores secrete a substance called sebum, or oil, which helps moisturize and protect our skin, but sometimes sebum and dead skin cells can clog our pores, causing acne [source: Gordon]. Blackheads are a type of acne in which the impacted pores push material out through the follicles -- the bacteria's reaction to oxygen causes the black color [source: WebMD]. Because this material emerges from your pores, pore strips can be handy tools. All you have to do is apply one to the affected area, allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then peel it away. Afterward, if you look closely, you'll be able to see what appear to be tiny hairs stuck to the strip, but they're actually not hairs at all -- they're the sebum and dead skin cells that were clogging your pores [source: Goodheart]. Think of it like waxing -- pore strips just remove blackheads instead of hair.

The effectiveness of pore strips varies on an individual basis. They won't prevent blackheads or acne, but they can help you reduce their appearance. And if you don't want to pay for pore strips, you can even try making your own at home. Read on to learn how.

Homemade Pore Strips

Next time you're at the supermarket, take a stroll down the skin care aisle. You'll probably find several different types of pore strips, each one claiming to have an edge on the competition -- but in reality, they're all pretty much the same. You can probably even get similar results by whipping up your own concoction at home.

If you've used a store-bought pore strip before you know it's got two main components -- an adhesive and some type of material. To make your own homemade pore strips you need the same things --some type of adhesive or binding agent and some thin strips of cloth. If you've ever made an at-home pore-cleansing mask, then you already have a good idea of what kinds of ingredients might work for your adhesive -- buttermilk, egg whites, gelatin or honey to name a few. You want something that's going to be sticky going on and will then dry within several minutes. While the mixture you use is wet, place a strip of thin fabric -- pieces of an old t-shirt or sheet will work or maybe some gauze -- over it. Then, after letting it dry, you peel the cloth off in one swift motion as you would with a store-bought strip.

Try following your homemade pore strip application with some homemade astringent or toner. Witch hazel, yogurt or a combination of water and citrus juice can all work as well as most store-bought astringents and toners [source: Gabor].

Keep reading to learn how to use pore strips safely.

Are Pore Strips Safe?

Pore strips are perfectly safe to use as long as you follow their instructions. When used correctly, they can help remove blackheads, make your pores appear smaller and improve the overall appearance of your skin [source: WebMD]. However, if you overdo it, you could end up looking like you just had a chemical peel. Pore strips aren't meant to be used every day. In fact, you shouldn't use them more than once a week -- using them more frequently could irritate your skin.

The skin on certain areas of your face is more sensitive than others. For example, your cheeks tend to be more sensitive than your nose, so don't be surprised if using a pore strip on them leaves you with red, sensitive cheeks. You should also be careful if you're using a topical acne medication -- they can dry the skin and make it more sensitive to pores strips [source: Fried]. While it may seem counterintuitive, you also shouldn't use pore strips on areas of your face that are broken out. The skin around a pimple can be incredibly sensitive, and using a pore strip can irritate it further [source: Roppatte].

For more information on pore strips and their benefits, see the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

Sources

  • 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

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

Sources

  • 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