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Pore Strips: Do They Really Work?

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Jul 24, 2023

Pore Strips: Do They Really Work?

What Are Nose Pore Strips? How Do They Work?

Having clear skin is vital in the generation of selfies and impromptu groupies. Having visible acne, such as blackheads and whiteheads, also affects one’s self-esteem and psychological wellbeing. A common method of how to remove blackheads and whiteheads is by using nose pore strips. But do pore strips work? Are they safe? Read on to find out.

What Are Blackheads and Whiteheads?

how to remove blackheads nose pore strips

Whitehead vs blackhead vs pimple? What’s the difference?

Blackheads and whiteheads are comedones, a common form of acne lesions. Comedones appear as a result of increased cornification of the cell lining of the sebaceous duct and there is an increased sebum production. Inflammation may occur due to increased production of skin oil, or the abnormal formation of keratin, the protein that builds your hair, skin, and nails. Inflammation can also arise from an increase in the hormone androgen, or acne-causing bacteria in the skin. Blackheads are scientifically known as open comedones, and whiteheads as closed comedones. When left untreated, these can develop into papules and pustules4.

How To Remove Blackheads

how to remove blackheads nose pore strips

There are practical do-it-yourself ways to remove blackheads. One of these is through nose pore strips. Do pore strips work? 

Pore strips are a skincare product that contains a sticky adhesive on one side. The sticky side adheres to the skin, and pulls out the blackheads when the strip is removed3. Pore strips can help remove the blackheads on your nose, chin, and forehead. 

While pore strips can be placed directly on the skin, there are other things that you can do to increase their benefit and effectiveness. If you follow the instructions on the product label and prepare your skin, you’ll be able to get the most out of your pore strips, typically on the nose.

A study on pore strips found that they were also effective in removing microcomedones6 (small bumps, or papules7). The strips remove debris that collect in the pores that may become blackheads. 

However, pore strips offer only a temporary effect and should be used only as part of a holistic skin care regimen for acne8.

Risks of Using Nose Pore Strips

Nose pore strips and other kinds of adhesive tend to have the immediate result that most people with comedonal acne are looking for. 

However, nose pore strips don’t treat the underlying acne condition.  Regular usage of nose pore strips can also have detrimental side effects, such as excessive dryness and irritation1.

What Is a Blackhead Remover Tool?

Another option to remove blackheads is a blackhead extractor, also known as a comedone extractor4. This is a metal rod with a small loop that is designed to remove the skin blockages that cause blackheads.

Some blackhead remover tools can be purchased over-the-counter. It is used by encircling the pore opening with one of the loops and gently pressing the skin to push out the contents.

While a blackhead remover or other tools can be used at home, it’s imperative to know precisely how to use them or ask a professional to use the tool on you. Improper use of this extraction tool may further aggravate the skin by causing bruising, capillary damage, and scarring. This may also push back the bacteria deeper and cause more inflammation and breakouts2. If used incorrectly, it can cause lasting skin harm and scarring4.

Why You Should Talk to Your Dermatologist for Treatment

While the common go-to process to treat blackheads is to do things at home using over-the-counter tools and medicines, this may not be the most ideal solution. Doing this may be potentially harmful to your skin in the long run, and does not treat the underlying causes of acne. 

It is best to consult your dermatologist and get the appropriate treatment that best suits your acne. Your dermatologist can answer questions as to why you are experiencing blackheads, and the best products to treat both the underlying causes, and prevent recurrences.

They can also give you advice on whether it is a good idea to use nose pore strips or comedone extractors on your own. 

If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Suffering from acne? Try our acne severity screener and our acne scarring risk screener, and get connected to a dermatologist.

Please click here to send your questions or concerns. Foods, Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics Act prohibits dispensing of ethical or prescription medicines without prescription. For suspected adverse drug reaction, report to the FDA at

Learn more about Acne here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Martha Juco, MD


Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Jul 24, 2023

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