Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nose strips—good or fad?

What are pore cleansing strips? 

Pore cleansing strips are a very well-marketed skin care fad. I wish I had been an investor in these products because I’m quite sure they have made millions. You can find a package of a dozen or so strips for under $10. If only a fraction of the country bought just one box, well, you can do the math.

Years ago when these strips first came out, it seemed like every single client was asking me about them. I tried hard to find a store that had them in stock, but couldn’t. Finally when I found some, I immediately went home to see what all the buzz was about. I followed the instructions, and when all was said and done, I was not impressed.

You are instructed to wet the pore cleansing strip and place it over your blackheads. (The first strips out on the market were specifically shaped for the nose. Now several companies make them for other parts of the face as well.) After the strip dries on your skin, it is ripped off (like a bandaid—ouch!) to reveal debris the sticky strip has pulled out of your pores. For those of you who don’t know, the main ingredient in the pore cleansing strip that does the grabbing is an essential ingredient in hair spray. It’s called polyquaternium-37, and it acts like glue to pull out plugs from below the surface of your skin.

Once the strip is ripped off, the skin underneath may look red and irritated. Long-term use has the potential to cause capillary damage at the pull-off site. Yes, it does pull out some of the superficial debris that your cleanser doesn’t get. Yes, it is OK to do something like this once in a while, but you wouldn’t want to use these on any kind of a long-term, regular basis. A clay mask is a far superior way to deep clean your pores. You can apply a mask to your entire face, not just small sections. And clay is soothing to the skin. Pore cleansing strips, once removed, are anything but soothing.

I’m sure this fad product is popular with teens who think it’s cool to see the junk from their pores left on the strip. Some people may see these strips as an easy way to get rid of blackheads, but be forewarned: pore cleansing strips are one of those shortcuts to good skin that do not deliver. True deep cleansing of the skin is found through consistent practice of good skin care habits, not from using a well-marketed, ineffective fad product. Like many things in life, the effort you put in usually equals the results you receive.

Pore cleansing strips are a quick fix to a long-term problem (clogged pores) and will more than likely disappoint you and quite possibly cause problems with your skin. Use these strips once or twice, for novelty’s sake, then go back to your more serious skin care routines.

For more information on what a good skin care routine looks like plus alternatives to nose strips, see: