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Beauty Myth or Truth: Are Blackhead Pore Strips Actually Bad for Your Skin?

They’ve been a staple in our beauty cabinets for years. In fact, they’re basically the O.G. spa night necessity. Pore strips were as essential to your middle school sleepover as sheet masks are to your present day Netflix night with the roomie. And although these handy strips are on the frontline in the war against blackheads, pore strips have more recently garnered a reputation for potentially causing longterm damage.

So, is it true? Must we forgo the blissful satisfaction of peeling off a pore strip full of pesky blackheads?

We chatted with two derms to get the scoop on what’s really going on—both good and bad—with your pore strips, once and for all.

First, How Do They Work Exactly?

We all know the basic rules of using pore strips: peel off backing, place on desired damp area of skin (e.g. nose or forehead), take some cute selfies, wait ten minutes, peel off and “ooh and ahh” at the grossness on the sticky side. But how do they really work?

Well, think of each strip like a magnet. “When the strip is applied to the damp skin surface, the adhesive is activated and like a magnet ‘grabs’ the blackhead so when the pore [strip] is peeled off, it ‘lifts’ the blackhead,” explains Dr. Francesca Fusco at Wexler Dermatology in New York City.

Verily August 2017.