Pore Strips Are Weirdly Addictive, but Here's How They Might Be Damaging Your Skin

When the fix is actually the problem.

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There's no denying it—pore strips are extremely satisfying. But like many things that give us instant gratification (Seamless, procrastinating, etc.), they're probably not the best thing for you in the long run. Why? Here's the low-down on your pore strip habit.

1. You're relying on them too much. Yes, they're useful for removing blackheads in a pinch, but according to board certified dermatologist  Dr. Whitney Bowe, "usage of these should be followed up with a proper skincare regimen consistently to avoid the blackheads from reappearing." Furthermore, they're only removing the top layer of gunk, leaving the rest of the "plug" unaddressed.

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2. You're damaging your pores. Lack of natural oils can make pores vulnerable and thus, that much more prone to irritation. This can lead to a variety of things from blemishes to stretched-out pores to build-ups of pus under the skin AKA pustules. 

3. They strip skin of natural oils. By now, you know that it's possible to over cleanse your skin. While you want to get rid of dirt and free radicals, you don't want it to be at the expense of your natural essential oils, which keep skin healthy and balanced. Like all things, it's best to use strips in moderation—meaning no more than once per week. The best alternative? A cleanser with gentle exfoliating acids like Murad's AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser ($36).

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4. They might be scarring the skin. If you have damaged a pore and you keep stripping the skin over and over in that area, it could tear the skin and *scar* if not properly treated. If you're seeing any kind of irritation at all, you should stop using the strips immediately and consult a dermatologist to ensure there's no permanent damage.

5. They are exacerbating your other skin disorders. Whether you have textbook sensitive skin or suffer from a condition like rosacea, pore strips can be too abrasive, both physically and chemically, because of the aggressive ingredients they might contain, like polyquaternium-37 or menthol. And that just makes everything worse.

6. They're causing spider veins. If your skin is thin, or your consistently getting chemical peels, using pore strips makes you that much more susceptible to broken capillaries, AKA the permanent dilation of superficial blood vessels. Typically, these can only be fixed with expensive laser treatments.

The more you know...

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