"The strips pull off anything on the surface of your nose, which includes oil that's been oxidized and turns black (blackheads), dead skin, dirt, and hair — but they only remove a very superficial layer," says Nagler. Sometimes they might only remove the top or half of blackheads.
The pore strip hardens as it dries, and the adhesive attaches to the top layer of dead skin cells, dirt, hair, oil and, yes, blackheads (not to be confused with sebaceous filaments). All of the above is the goo you find on the used strip, and it can create quite the dramatic visual.
"Nose strips or pore strips remove top layers of dead skin cells and blackheads by using a very strong adhesive," says Shah, who notes that this is how they're similar to Band-Aids, which most of us know from experience have a tendency to pull out hairs (and sometimes skin) when they're removed.
The technical term for the little dots on your nose you're trying to get rid of is keratotic plugs, according to King. These keratotic plugs are made up of dead skin cells, dirt, hair, and oil.
Pore strips can damage more sensitive, thin skin and even pull out both skin and hair. That's why there's a warning within the instructions to only use nose strips about once a week. Overusing nose strips can make your skin actually look worse. Pore strips can be abrasive, causing skin irritation and turning red.
Pore strips may make your pores appear bigger over time
Pore strips might get you a quick cosmetic fix, but it won't stop enlarged pores from coming back (via Allure).
According to board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, pore strips can temporarily remove the top layers of dead skin cells and blackheads by using an adhesive. However, King noted that pore strips won't prevent the buildup of either over time.
Blackheads look like black dots that have formed on your skin. Blackheads are called open comedones. Comedones are the skin-colored bumps that form when you have a pimple. In the case of blackheads, these comedones consist of follicles beneath your skin with very large openings, or pores.
Don't squeeze the pores on your nose
It's tempting to squeeze your pores. While it may get rid of the darker dots short term, it can also: damage skin tissue. enlarge the pores.
A sebum plug can look like a tiny bump under the surface of the skin or it may stick out through the skin like a grain of sand. When a sebum plug forms, bacteria that normally lives harmlessly on the surface of your skin can start to grow within the follicle. Inflammation follows, causing a breakout.
They work best when they are used right after your skin has been exposed to moisture. Applying pore strips right after a shower or after the skin has been exposed to steam are both perfect times. Moisture helps pores slightly open, loosening the plugs and allowing for easier removal.
Now for the good news: If your skin is on the normal or oily side, dermatologists say that you can benefit from using pore strips to treat blackheads. "Oily skin does best with pore strips since there are more blackheads to address," says Dr. Patel.
While pores strips possibly can be effective at removing buildup inside the pores, the effects are not long-lasting, and the strips can cause more harm than good to the skin.
Rhinophyma is a skin disorder that causes the nose to become enlarged.
Treatment Areas. While pore strips are most commonly used around the nose area, they can also be used on the chin and forehead.
Although people can pop some noninflamed whiteheads and blackheads if they take the necessary precautions, they should never try to pop or extract inflamed acne. This type of acne is deeper in the skin and may be more likely to cause scarring and infection if a person tries to squeeze it.
"They're clogged pores or hair follicles that collect sebum (the natural oil that the glands on our face make), dirt, skin cells, and bacteria," she said. "They are more likely to form on the nose because the nose has lots of glands." Sarkar noted that not every black spot on your nose is a blackhead, though.
Can I pop a pimple if I can see the white part? It's tempting, but popping or squeezing a pimple won't necessarily get rid of the problem. Squeezing can push bacteria and pus deeper into the skin, which might cause more swelling and redness.
Bacteria make the pore swell up and turn red. Pus, a thick, white substance made up of bacteria and white blood cells, sometimes fills the pimple.
“Gently press on each side of the blackhead until it begins to release,” she says. “Apply slow and even pressure, and once you are able, lightly pinch the tweezers and pull the blacked out material from the skin to extract it. If the blackhead does not release easily, do not continue to attempt the extraction.”
Complications from a blackhead
If pores are infected, the skin can become inflamed and cause acne, which is the inflammation that results from clogged pores. The pores can also become inflamed if the blackhead isn't treated. Other conditions can occur as a consequence of the inflamed tissue if you pop pimples yourself.
While cellophane tape could possibly remove surface dead skin cells, it's unclear how effective this method is in removing clogged gunk in your pores. Don't use masking, duct, industrial, or any other type of tape that could be harmful to your skin.
When oil collects in the pore and combines with dirt or makeup, the pore can become blocked. This blockage stretches the pore, making it look bigger. If the pore remains clogged, a pimple may develop. Genetics and the size of a person's pores help determine how active a person's sebaceous glands are.
Because pore strips aren't strong enough to remove blackheads, but are able to pull out sebaceous filaments, they end up stripping our skin of our natural oils and getting rid of the pore's protection from bacteria.