The 7 Best Pore Strips of 2023, According to Dermatologists and Editors

Satisfying, for sure. But do they work?

woman applying a pore strip
(Image credit: fizkes/Getty)

I’m the first to admit there is something oddly satisfying about blackhead-removing pore strips. I’ve spent my fair share of hours staring at little black dots on sticky adhesives. But though the best pore strips have come a very, very long way over the past few years (there are newly-launched hydrocolloid options and ones infused with acne-fighting ingredients), it’s important to know that pores strips aren’t really going to treat your acne in the long-term. “I like to think of pore strips as blackhead Band-Aids,” says board-certified dermatologist and founder of GlamDerm Dr. Lian Mack. “They work in a very transient way to improve the appearance of pores.” 

While the adhesive will effectively peel away dead skin cells and debris and make a clogged-up T-zone look clearer in the here and now, using pore strips is not a long-term solution to fight acne—you’ll need a solid skincare routine designed to treat acne. That said, if you’re in a pinch and need a quick, blackhead-busting fix, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the best pore strips out there. 

What to Look For in a Pore Strip

A simple sticky adhesive isn’t going to get you all too far. The good news: Pore strips have come a long way over the past couple of years. Now, some of the best pore strips are made with a hydrocolloid dressing, which gently draw out impurities, or are infused with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. “Consider purchasing a pore strip with clay or charcoal in it,” advises Dr. Mack. “They help to absorb dirt and reduce excess sebum or oil production.” 

Who Pore Strips Are Good For

Anyone with oily skin or a blackhead-ridden complexion may want to use a pore strip and that’s all well and good. Well, well and good with a few caveats. You’re going to want to steer clear if you’re using a retinoid. “Vitamin A, like retinol or Isotretinoin, increases the fragility of the skin and when a pore strip is applied, it may result in an inadvertent removal of a very superficial layer of the epidermis, resulting in irritation,” explains Dr. Mack. 

The same logic holds true for those with sensitive skin or adhesive allergies. “Pore strips may cause irritation and abrasion of the skin when removed, so anyone with sensitive skin or a known allergy to adhesives should not use them,” urges board-certified dermatologist Dr. Viktoryia Kazlouskaya. You may end up with allergic contact dermatitis. 

The Downside of Pore Strips

While pore strips will remove dead skin cells and compacted oil in the moment, they’re by no means addressing the core of the problem. “They don’t help with cellular turnover and they do not work to reduce oil or sebum protection that cause acne,” explains Dr. Mack. “For this reason, pore strips do not effectively replace traditional acne-fighting ingredients like retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.” 

The Best Pore Strips

Meet the Dermatologists

Dr. Lian Mack, MD

Lian Mack, MD is a board certified dermatologist committed to excellence in comprehensive dermatological care. She holds a special interest in skin conditions as it applies to skin of color, as well as all aspects of aesthetic enhancements including neurotoxins, injectable fillers, and laser treatments. She has achieved a Master Injector Certification from Allergan, the largest makers of dermal fillers and Botox. Dr. Mack graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University, Columbia College in the City of New York. She continued her postgraduate studies at Weill Cornell Medical College, during which she did a one-year research fellowship in melanoma research at the NYU School of Medicine. After a one-year internship at New York Hospital, she went on to complete her residency in Dermatology at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center where she served as Chief resident during her final year. Prior to GlamDerm, Dr. Mack worked in Chelsea alongside her mentor Dr. Michael Eidelman. Currently, she volunteers as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Mack has authored numerous peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a member of several professional societies including the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and has actively served as a member and on the board of the Women’s Dermatologic Society.

Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, MD, PhD

Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, MD, PhD, is certified in dermatopathology and dermatology by the American Board of Dermatology. She practices at University of Pittsburgh Physicians, Department of Dermatology, Division of Dermatopathology and is affiliated with UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Altoona, UPMC Shadyside, and UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. She completed her medical degree and residency at Vitebsk State Medical University, followed by a residency at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and a fellowship at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.