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Nose strips: how they work and how to use them to shrink pores, control acne and more.

Are you having fun extracting blackheads with a nose strip? They can be useful, but they are just a start.

But first, what’s a blackhead?

From my book

Pores secrete sebum. One of the effects of the not-very-useful sebum is acne, so I can see why pores’ popularity is low. Pores get larger and more visible during adolescence when hormones increase sebum secretion. Pores can get clogged with sebum, keratin, and dead cells, resulting in an environment lacking in oxygen and favorable to the growth of the acne bacterium, C. acnes. The products of bacterial metabolism cause the inflamed pimples characteristic of acne, a real problem that good skincare can prevent and correct. A comedo may be closed, a whitehead—or open to the air—blackhead. Being open to the air causes oxidization, which turns the lipids at the top of the “plug” black or brown.

Why do I like pore strips? Because people who use these strips are less likely to pick, a bad habit that can lead to infection and scarring.

Pore strips acknowledge the very human activity of picking. Pinching away pimples may sound disgusting, but it is probably an adaptive activity acquired during evolution. It resembles the grooming done by primates, which serves a hygienic purpose. Grooming removes dirt, insects, parasites, dead skin, tangled fur and generally helps to keep animals’ skin and hair in good condition. Grooming benefits an animal’s physical condition and health, making well-groomed animals more likely to survive, mate and reproduce.

How do nose strips work? They adhere to the complex biological material that forms the comedo (or blackhead). Some have adhesive (glue), which may also take some skin together with the blackhead (not ideal).

Skin Actives does not make nose strips. Biore strips do an excellent job; no point in trying to duplicate them; they take the blackhead (and comedones) and don’t seem to disrupt the skin.

Now that the pore is “unplugged,” what you do next is critical for the future of that skin area.

Wash with a good cleanser; I suggest our salicylic cleanser. Then rinse thoroughly.

The next steps depend on where your skin is. Are you a teenager or a young person battling acne? Or are you a mature person with old blackheads marring your appearance?


For skin with acne problems, go for T-zone serum. This product will decrease oil production in the sebum glands that secrete into the pore. Keep vigilance and go for Zit ender if you see an active acne lesion. Vitamin A serum will help keep pores open by preventing the accumulation of dead cells and keratin in them. Try Skin Actives acne control products and find out what works for you. The alpha/beta exfoliator is great at keeping pores open long term.

Older skin

The pore strips will help your skin look better. But now you have to keep the pores clean, even “closing” them. Collagen serum will help the skin synthesize collagen and hyaluronic acid at the edges of the pores, effectively shrinking them. Vitamin A cream will help with skin renewal.  Go for the other anti-aging Skin Actives products and find out what works for you.  In our late years, sebum secretion and acne are not a problem, but dry skin is. Every lipid serum will help a lot. By supplying essential fatty acids your skin can’t make (but needs), ELS will help build up skin volume.


So go ahead, follow the dictates of evolution and groom yourself, but please don’t hurt your skin. Don’t pick your skin or pluck eyebrows. If you keep having problems with these activities, maybe a mental health professional could help.


DISCLAIMER: These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.