Best Pore Strips (SEO Roundup)
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The 6 Best Pore Strips That Actually Work on Blackheads

Let your pores breathe.
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No matter how pristine your skincare routine, sometimes you still get blackheads. And while it may be very tempting to squeeze them out yourself, you can easily damage the skin and push the blackhead deeper inside the pore. 

When used correctly, pore strips are a safe and effective way to remove blackheads instantly, as they are more gentle than using pressure and your fingers, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian. And we can't deny how oddly satisfying it is to examine all the gross gunk they pull out from your pores. Since they should be used with care, we asked dermatologists how to select and safely use pore strips. With their advice, we compiled a list of the best pore strips that leave your pores clear without any redness, irritation, or broken skin. Biore has been making pore strips for as long as we can remember, and the brand's Original Pore Strips win the Best Overall spot with its simple design that effectively pulls out blackheads, not skin.

Whether you are looking for pore strips to implement into your regular routine or want to degunk for a special event, these are the best pore strips for the job.

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Deep Cleansing 18 Nose Strips for Blackhead Removal
Credit: Courtesy

Best Overall: Biore The Original Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

View at Amazon ($6-$8)

What We Love: These classic pore strips are safe, easy to use, and effective. 

What We Don't Love: They may not stick on dry skin, so wet your nose before applying.

These Biore strips were likely your first foray into the world of pore strips, as the beloved skincare product has been a go-to since their launch in the '90s thanks to their ability to unclog pores quickly and efficiently. Not only are they extremely easy to use, they are also dermatologist-tested and safe to use on all skin types. The brand's patented c-bond technology ensures the strips stick to the blackheads, not skin, for painless removal. 

One of our editors tested the strips out and found the best way to apply them. "The trick is to wet your skin with plenty of water before sticking one on and then steadily peeling it off after it has completely dried. The result? A dehydrated paper dotted with oils and dirt. Definitely gross, but I can't complain about my nose's newly smooth skin."

Shape: Nose | Number of Strips: 8 | Added Ingredients: Witch Hazel

Pore Strips
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Best Value: Starface Lift Off Pore Strips

View at Target ($6)

What We Love: These cute, affordable strips contain soothing aloe vera.

What We Don't Love: Some say they have a weird smell.

Shoppers love these Starface pore strips because they not only unclog pores and pull out blackheads quickly and efficiently, but the aloe vera-infused strips also help calm skin and control oil production. Plus, they love how affordable the strips are. You can buy an eight-pack for less than the cost of lunch. One of our writers was pleasantly surprised how the strips didn't leave her sensitive skin red or flakey, writing, "The only side effect I experienced was complete amazement, as the strip pulled out a bunch of stuff that once clogged my pores." Plus, we can't get over the sunny yellow design.

Shape: Nose | Number of Strips: 8 | Added Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel

Deep Cleansing 18 Nose Strips for Blackhead Removal
Credit: Courtesy

Best Splurge: Peace Out Pore Treatment Strips

View at Sephora ($19)

What We Love: They help to shrink the look of pores.

What We Don't Love: It's best to use these overnight, so try another brand if you are short on time.

If you have large pores, opt for these Peace Out pore strips that will both clean pores and minimize their appearance. The strips feature hydrocolloid polymer technology, which absorbs the oil, dirt, and bacteria from inside pores, as well as the vitamin B-derived compound DMAE and vitamin A, which work together to shrink them. Unlike other pore strips that work in a few minutes, the brand recommends wearing these strips overnight (or for at least six hours at a time) to really get a deep clean.

 "After four to six hours of wear, the strip gently peels away to reveal all the horrifying gunk that's been sucked out of your pores. All it takes is one use to notice a significant difference," says one of our writers who swears by these strips. The package comes with eight strips — four for the nose and four for other parts of the face. 

Shape: Nose and Face | Number of Strips: 8 | Added Ingredients: Vitamin A, Hydrocolloid Polymer Technology

Best Set: Pacifica Cosmic Vanish Pore Strips

View at Amazon ($6)

What We Love: These strips come in three different shapes to tackle your entire face.

What We Don't Love: They have a strong scent some may not like.

While most pore strips are meant to fit your nose, this set from Pacifica comes with strips that are designed to fit your nose, chin, and forehead, so you can easily unclog pores and remove blackheads on your entire face. The strips are infused with tea tree oil, witch hazel extract, and hemp seed oil to control excess oil, reduce redness, and prevent future blemishes. Coming from the eco-friendly brand, the strips are also vegan, cruelty-free, and made without parabens, phthalates, SLS, or mineral oil.

Shape: Nose, Chin, Forehead | Number of Strips: 6 | Added Ingredients: Tea Tree Oil, Witch Hazel, Hemp Seed Oil

Best Three-Step System: TonyMoly Strawberry Nose Pack

View at Amazon ($18)

What We Love: They absorb oil rather than pulling out blackheads.

What We Don't Love: They can be tricky to put on since they are very thin and stretchy.

If you are worried that a pore strip may irritate your skin, check out Hero's Mighty Patch for the nose. The product is more akin to the brand's pimple patches than a traditional pore strip. Rather than using adhesive to pull out blackheads, it uses medical-grade hydrocolloid to gently absorb oil overnight. It also helps reduce the size of pimples, so the strips also are a good solution for whiteheads. Rest assured you'll still get the gross-satisfaction that comes with a pore strip — the patch gradually whitens in color as it absorbs oil. 

One of our writers put the product to the test and found it was a great solution for her oily nose, writing, "My nose is notoriously oily and after using the sticker for an entire week, I have definitely noticed a difference in this area of skin. In fact, I even received a few compliments."

Shape: Nose | Number of Strips: 10 | Added Ingredients: Hydrocolloid

Deep Cleansing 18 Nose Strips for Blackhead Removal
Credit: Courtesy

Best Oversized: TonyMoly Tako Pore One Shot Nose Pack

View at Amazon ($4)

What We Love: This strip covers your nose and up between your eyebrows.

What We Don't Love: There's only one strip.

This TonyMoly pore strip can unclog more pores at once than other strips on this list, thanks to its unique oversized shape that fits your entire nose, including the area in between your eyebrows. Besides removing impurities in just 15 minutes, the strips also feature a marine root-up complex that helps nourish, soothe, and shrink pores. The Korean beauty brand uses the cutest packaging for its products, making pore cleaning that much more fun.

Shape: Nose and Forehead | Number of Strips: 1 | Added Ingredients: Dead Sea Salt, Taurine, Black Peat Water 

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients 

All pore strips fundamentally function the same, except they have different added ingredients, like vitamin A or witch hazel. Witch hazel is used to soothe irritated and inflamed skin while vitamin A works like a retinol to eliminate debris and oil in the pores. Board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of BalmLabs Dr. Robin Schaffran says that these ingredients can be irritating for certain people, so if you have sensitive skin, you might want to choose patches like those by Hero that just use hydrocolloid to absorb oil rather than pull out blackheads.

Another common ingredient in pore strips is charcoal, which is supposed to further help draw out oil from the skin. However, Dr. Schaffran says it's not clear how effective charcoal really is at absorbing oil. "There is little to no evidence to substantiate the claims that skincare companies are making about the use of activated charcoal in skincare products, and for this reason, I do not recommend pore strips containing charcoal," says Dr. Schaffran.

Size & Shape

While most strips are designed for the bridge of your nose, there are some oversized options that will cover the area in between your eyebrows as well. And if you're looking to remove blackheads and clogged pores on your chin or forehead, consider a set that has strips specially designed to fit on each part of your face.

Your Questions, Answered 

How are blackheads formed?

"Blackheads are a result of dead skin cells and oils getting clogged in the pores," says Dr. Schaffran. "When that oil and dead skin cells get exposed to air, it oxidizes and turns black, leading to the appearance of blackheads."

How do I use a pore strip? 

Using a pore strip is fairly straightforward — you put it on the desired area, wait the recommended amount of time, and then slowly pull it off and stare in wonder at all the gunk it pulled out. For the best results, board dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, recommends taking a hot shower first to steam your face and open up your pores.

"The prep beforehand is the important thing because if you have dry skin and your blackheads are dried up in your pores, chances are anything you do isn't going to effectively remove them," Dr. Lee once told InStyle.

Some pore strips recommend placing the strip on wet skin so it adheres better. It's always best to check with specific products on how to put them on and when to take them off.

Are pore strips safe to use?

"Pore strips are safe to use; however, I caution against overusing them or being too rough when stripping them off since this can traumatize and irritate the skin," says Dr. Schaffran. She recommends using them up to two to three times a week rather than daily.

Can pore strips make your pores look bigger?

"No. Pore strips won't make your pores look bigger, but they often don't work, so sometimes pores are simply getting larger on their own despite using pore strips," says Dr. Schaffran. 

While pore strips can help unclog your pores, they don't prevent them from getting clogged in the first place, so once you remove the blackheads, dead skin and oil can refill the pores. 

What can I use instead of pore strips to clear my pores?

Besides physically removing blackheads with a pore strip, you can use certain chemicals to exfoliate dead skin and prevent clogged pores.

"Using topical products that help naturally exfoliate is an alternative but can also be used in conjunction with pore strips. Salicylic acid is a commonly recommended blackhead remedy but can be irritating and drying for adult skin," says Dr. Schaffran. "Instead, I recommend products containing gentler AHAs, like glycolic acid, which can provide daily exfoliation without the risk of irritation."

If you rather keep the pore extraction up to the pros, Dr. Schaffran recommends getting regular facials to treat blackheads.