By BR Natalie
I’ve said it before. I love pore strips. Not for the smooth skin or the insanely fresh feeling you’re left with. I love pore strips because once I’ve peeled one off I get to study the little forest of pore gunk that has been yanked from my skin.
Am I proud of this? No. Does shame prevent me from taking photos of the used strip and sending them to my sister? Again. No.
In the 20 years I’ve been using pore strips I’ve heard a lot of opinions of them. From teen magazines telling me they were the secret to blackhead free skin, to skin care experts instructing me never to subject my skin to them again. I once found myself reading about a DIY pore strip recipe before stumbling upon an album of used pore strips. A Hall of Gunk if you will from strangers around the world. Yeap, there’s a Pore Strip Subculture y’all.
But what is the truth behind pore strips? Do they work?
Wellllll. Sort of. But not really as you think.
In a nutshell a pore strip is a fabric backed with a glue that activates when applied to warm, wet skin. As it dries, it stiffens and upon removal it pulls out what looks like blackheads. And that’s where the ‘sort of works’ comes into play.
Those little peaks of ewww on a used pore strip aren’t what you think they are. They’re dead skin cells, oil, hair, grime and dirt. They don’t go deep enough to pull out the hardened plug that causes blackheads.
They also do nothing to prevent blackheads from forming.
image source: a meme via Pinterest!
Ok, but are they bad for me?
Pore strips stick well. Really well. Its recommended to re-moisten the strip and gently remove it, but that leads to a post-pore-strip anti-climax. Yes, true Gunk-Hunters will squint our tearing eyes as we peel the top layer of skin off along with the strip. Doing so can tear and irritate the skin, which for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin is particularly bad. In fact, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say if you're suffering from breakouts, acne or have sensitive skin, do not use and especially don't use and peel off when dry. Get your gunk fix elsewhere.
Pore strips offer a quick, temporary cleanse. They don’t replace regular exfoliating and cleansing. It’s kind of like that surface clean you do right before your mum comes over. Gives the appearance of a sparkling clean environment, but the grime runneth deep and it’ll be back to its usually untidy state an hour after she leaves.
To sum up – pore strips will cleanse and remove the top layers of dead skin cells and pore gunk, but they won’t go deep enough to fully remove blackheads or prevent them from returning.
Think of pore strips as an optional extra to your skincare routine – they don’t achieve much, but they sure are fun to use!