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Are pore strips bad for your skin?

31.03.2022 | Skincare

Keeping pores clean and clear is a fundamental objective within most skincare routines - whether it’s to reduce breakouts, brighten the tone or even the texture. Whatever your reason, there are varying degrees of treatments and products available to serve this cause - including the classic pore strip. 


The pore strip is a piece of fabric or material with an adhesive backing that activates when pressed onto wet skin - these are typically placed across the nose and t-zone area but can be used anywhere with congestion. Left to dry, the strip is then forcibly pulled off, bringing with it any blockages, dirt and debris from the surface and within the follicles. The pores appear to reduce in size and blackheads become less visible. 

Whilst this is a quick method to clear some of the plugs out of the pores, they can be considered a temporary solution and can have the potential to cause irritation and longer term concerns.

To attach to dead skin, oil and dirt, pore strips use adhesive which can cause irritation to the skin especially if the skin is sensitive or you suffer from conditions such as eczema or rosacea. Irritation to the skin, if not resolved, can then have an inhibiting impact on the skin’s barrier leaving it open to free radicals and longer term damage. Furthermore, the unnecessary force used to remove pore strips can lead to skin trauma and damage.


At The INKEY List, we don’t recommend the use of pore strips due to the risk of long-term damage to the skin barrier. Our approach is to prevent the build up of congestion in the first place with some key products in our range to target the pores…  


One of our favourite pore-focused products is BHA - an exfoliator that works deep beneath the surface of the skin to help unclog pores, target blackheads and reduce excess oil.



If it’s the quick fix of the pore strips that draws you in, our 2% Succinic Acid targeted treatment is an alternative speedy solution. The treatment gently reduces blemish size, reduces oil levels and unblocks pores whilst also helping to prevent them from clogging again after use. 


Bringing exfoliation into the equation, Glycolic Acid removes dead skin cells from the surface to reduce the appearance of pores, blackheads and fine lines, as well as support smoother and brighter skin. As an alternative for sensitive skin, our new PHYTIC ACID is a gentle and soothing acid that is also rich in antioxidants and has excellent free radical scavenging properties.

If you have a severe blockage or you’re looking for an extraction method, we would recommend visiting a professional such as a dermatologist. For more information or advice, contact us at askINKEY

Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.