How Well Do Pore Cleansing Strips Really Work?

Pore strips may help clean out your pores, but not shrink them

Credits: hezoos at
Tammy Wu
Edited By:
Raja Sivamani , MD, MS, AP

One of the main concerns people have with their skin is visible pores. They are usually more visible in the cheek and nose area, and blackheads are often also a concern. A study was done on the pores of the human skin and they found that men with a history of acne and men with greater facial oil production were more likely to have larger and more visible pores. Pore strips are certainly not new to the market and many people have probably used it at least once out of curiosity or seen a viral video of someone else doing it revealing their gross blackheads on the strip.


What Pore Strips Are Supposed to Do

Pore strips are often in the form of an adhesive strip or in a tacky liquid form. Adhesive strips need to be wet before or after placement on the nose. The strips get left on for a certain time period and then removed. Then comes the most satisfying part: inspecting your pore strip closely to see if all of that gunk from your nose that was pulled out. Blackheads tend to be darker in color due to the open exposure of the dirt and oil in the pore. As your pores hold more things, they also start to expand in size making them more visible. Pore strips are marketed to remove the blackheads from our nose, which are often be caused by our pores not being fully cleansed of the previously worn makeup, sunscreen, skin care products, dirt, and etc.


Do Pore Strips Work?

Maybe... If you are someone looking to reduce the size of your pores, sorry, pore strips probably won’t be able to help you with that. Pore strips clean our pores to a certain degree on the surface and are not able to deep cleanse. They contain polymers that adhere to the oil and dead skin cells in your pores. A study was done testing the efficacy of Bioré pore cleansing strips from 10 women. Each woman used pore strips once a week for four weeks on four different areas of the face: face, cheeks, and chin. There was a reduction in the appearance of the sebum, dirt, short hairs, and other things that were clogging the pores and making them dark in color, especially those on the nose.

Many of you may have used or seen someone use a pore strip and was not able to see anything on the pore strip itself. Instead of automatically assuming that the pore strip does not work it may simply be due to the fact that there were not blackheads present in the first place! It is surprising how often we make the mistake of calling what are actually tiny short hairs as “blackheads”. In fact, most of the time, these tiny hairs are the culprits of causing dark-looking pores. So these short hairs are what you see most of the time after using pore strips, which is why sometimes there is nothing to be found on the pore strips after being used.


Things To Look Out For in Pore Cleansing Strips

Misusage of pore strips can damage the natural barrier on the nose, whether it be using it too much or using poorly made pore strips. Based on the study previously mentioned, pore strips are actually more effective after you have removed your makeup. Also, those of you with sensitive skin should use pore cleansing trips with caution as they may further irritate your skin. 

Even with the popularity of the usage of pore strips, more research is needed on pore strips from various brands to better understand the long terms effects on the skin.

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