Blackheads are a common skin concern, even for people who don’t suffer from acne. If you’ve noticed those little brown dots on your nose, cheeks, or forehead, you’ve probably wondered how to get rid of blackheads quickly — and chances are, you’ve tried pore strips to get the job done.
There’s something utterly satisfying about using pore strips to remove blackheads—peeling it off to reveal all the tiny blackheads and sebaceous filaments that have just been extracted from your nose. The payoff is too good (even if it is a little gross).
But do pore strips really work to get rid of blackheads?
In short, no. To fully understand why, it’s helpful to know a little bit more about what causes blackheads. These little black dots crop up (particularly on the nose) due to a buildup of excess sebum, the natural oil produced by the skin, in the pores. When pores get clogged, sebum breaches the skin’s surface and then oxidizes and turns dark, leaving them visibly enlarged.
It’s tempting to reach for one of those infamous strips to get rid of blackheads. Why not? Seeing blackhead remnants stuck to it post-extraction is one of life’s simple pleasures—and also cold, hard proof it worked, right? Not quite. It’s a short-term solution for removing blackheads, at best. According to the experts at Beautypedia, you may have successfully removed the top layer of blackheads, but the root of the problem—the excess oil—remains, and they’ll probably just recur.
Repeatedly using pore strips to remove blackheads may even rob the skin of natural oils and lead to dryness, which can ultimately exacerbate breakouts. To help them adhere to skin, these products are typically coated with polyquaternium-37—a film-forming agent that’s also used in hairsprays, which could penetrate the pores and cause irritation.
There are a number of different ways to get rid of blackheads. To remove blackheads individually you can try an extraction tool, which manually squeezes blackhead-causing dirt, oil, and debris out of the pores. (Follow the instructions on the package carefully to avoid damaging the skin.)
The best way to actually get rid of blackheads and keep your skin clear is to regularly deep-clean the pores. A bentonite clay mask (like this one, exclusively available at Thrive Market) is one of the most powerful weapons to remove blackheads. Try this regimen once a week (or every other week if you have dry skin):
Certain skincare products, when incorporated into your daily or weekly routine, can help get rid of blackheads and even prevent them from forming in the first place.
Getting rid of blackheads, just like any form of effective skin care, is a long game. Rather than acting on an impulse and expecting instant results, have some patience and treat your skin right. You’ll beat those blackheads in the end.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho
Download the app for easy shopping on the go
By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive marketing text messages from Thrive Market. Consent not a condition to purchase. Msg & data rates apply. Msg frequency varies. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel.