Blackheads are the most frustrating thing you have to deal with when you're washing your face.
These small dark spots form when pores become clogged, but unlike pimples, they're not painful. That being said, they're not any less of a nuisance.
Blackheads often accumulate on and around the nose, and they're not easy to manage, which is why pore strips were invented.
Nose strips have been advertised to death in commercials and movies (like The Princess Diaries).
And once we peel off a nose strip with great satisfaction, we become addicted to stocking up on the product.
But are these strips all they're made out to be? According to some beauty experts, they're not as helpful as you might think.
Here's why pore strips don't work
Dermatologists revealed to Allure that these strips are only a Band-Aid solution for your problem.
"Nose strips or pore strips remove top layers of dead skin cells and blackheads by using a very strong adhesive," Sejal Shah, a New York City-based dermatologist and founder of Smarter Skin Dermatology said.
While these strips try to stick to your skin to remove the blackheads, they also remove essential natural oils in the hair follicles of your nose, which can lead to breakouts.
If you have sensitive skin, many nose strips are coated with ingredients that could irritate your skin.
According to natural beauty experts, one of the main ingredients you should look out for is Polyquaternium-37, which is a hairspray-like substance, that is believed to stretch our your pores, leading to bigger blackheads.
Also, pore strips don't prevent the buildup of blackheads, and some people argue that the strips only pull out the skin's natural oils.
"Blackheads are a blocked plug, so pore strips are unlikely to be effective enough to loose and extract those," facialist and aesthetician Andy Millward told metro.co.uk.
All in all, this short term solution may not be worth it in the long run, especially if you're using pore strips once a week.
The right way to remove blackheads
After years of using pore strips, only to find that my pores are getting deeper and my skin is becoming more sensitive, I decided to make a change.
Here's a short list of natural ways to remove blackheads, without damaging your pores or skin.
1. Wash your face daily
Whether you have oily or dry skin, you should be washing your face at least once a day, especially before bed.
Removing makeup and sunscreen is key to keep your skin healthy and free of dirt.
For dry skin, make sure you're washing your face with a gentle, milk cleanser.
2. Apply a bentonite clay mask, which has been rated the best pore cleanser.
There are no amount of words that can express how much I love clay masks. They're made of natural ingredients that penetrate deep into your pores to clean it the right way, without stripping your skin of essential oils.
Right now, you can buy this clay mask for only $9.50.
If you have dry skin, apply this product every other week.
3. Embrace steam
To remove those blackheads with ease, open up your pores with steam.
Cover your head with a towel and hold your face at a safe distance from the steam of boiling water for a few minutes.
Just make sure you're not too close to the steam, or else you may develop a red rash and further harm your skin.
4. Make your own pore strips that work!
Not only have pore strips been found to not work as well as we were advertised to believe, they're also costly.
You can save so much money by making your own! All you need are two ingredients: unflavored gelatin and milk.
Mix a tablespoon of gelatin and milk and heat until it's warm. (I like to add a drop of tea tree oil, which has been found to be antimicrobial, or chamomile oil, which is great for sensitive skin).
Spread the mixture over your face and allow it to dry before you peel it off.
What are your thoughts on commercial pore strips?
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