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When your nose looks like a game of connect-the-dots, there's little more satisfying than plastering a pore strip to your face and peeling it away to reveal the goopy blackheads that had taken up residence in your nose. But if you have sensitive skin, pore strips could be doing more harm than good. In which case, step away — I repeat — step away from the nose strips and try a more soothing remedy instead.
How They Work
A pore strip is a cloth or paper strip that contains an adhesive on one side. When you dab the adhesive with water, it gets tacky. As the pore strip dries and hardens on your nose, it bonds with both your skin and the little comedos — a fancy word for blackheads — in your pores. As you peel the blackhead strip off your skin, the comedos and some of your skin cells get pulled off, too. Although you might not be completely blackhead free, you'll probably notice a bunch of gross gunk that used to be in your pores has now transferred itself to the strip.
Blackhead strips might be successful at getting at least some of the blackhead gunk out of your nose, especially if you have really clogged pores. But because blackheads don't adhere very well to sticky substances, you probably won't get all of the blackhead goop that lies under the surface, says dermatologist Stuart H. Kaplan, M.D., in a "Chicago Tribune" article.
Because pore strips involve laying something sticky on top of your nose and then peeling it away from your skin, it's natural to lose some dead skin cells during the process. But if your skin is sensitive, or you're using a harsh medication like Accutane, you could seriously irritate your skin, causing redness and pain. Talk to your dermatologist before using pore strips if you're taking any medication. If you have sensitive skin, stay away from pore strips and opt for a more gentle blackhead removal process instead.
Sensitive Skin Alternatives
Don't put your skin through the ringer if it's too sensitive for pore strips. Instead, choose a gentle treatment, like an exfoliating scrub, to minimize blackheads. Or, try a tried-and-true homemade treatment that melts away blackheads, recommends Dina Gardner, a New York-based esthetician. Combine 1 teaspoon baking soda with 8 ounces distilled water to a cotton cloth and place it over your nose for 10 minutes. Apply a hot towel to the skin to open the pores, then gently squeeze on either side of the blackhead with a tissue until the pore is clear.