Oh, blackheads. Those dark, juicy, dots on your nose that are just begging to be picked or squeezed. Incredibly common and frustrating to treat, blackheads are formed when the dirt, oil, and debris that's clogging up a pore or hair follicle oxidizes and then turns black. If you've ever tried to pop a blackhead, you know that it can lead to inflammation and more blemishes.
Instead, why not try a pore strip?
"When you use a pore strip you get the benefit of blackheads getting removed, says board-dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, MD, aka Dr. Pimple Popper. " If it doesn’t come out easy, then it’s probably not a blackhead because you shouldn’t have to push it that much. In that case, see a dermatologist about it because we have the proper training and equipment to help you treat whatever it is."
Dr. Lee, who's teamed up with Bioré, the brand behind the OG pore strip, says that aside from the blackhead you're trying to remove not being an actual blackhead, improper skin prep is why your pore strip is still clean when you pull if off.
"The prep beforehand is the important thing because if you have dry skin and your blackheads are dried up in your pores, chances are anything you do isn’t going to effectively remove them," she explains. "First, take a hot shower to make sure your skin is soft, your pores are the most dilated they can be, and that the debris in them is softened." Once you use the pore strip, following up with a salicylic acid cleanser can help further exfoliate and clean your pores.
VIDEO: Ask Dr. Pimple Popper
When treating blackheads, paying attention to how your skin responds to the products you're using is more important than the products themselves. "Use common sense because we all have different skin and some people can tolerate deeper extractions, while other people have more sensitive skin," says Dr. Lee. "Pay attention to how your skin responds. The way you do something is not necessarily the same thing your best friend or family member should do."
The bottom line: If your skin tolerates them, pore strips are a good starting point for getting rid of blackheads — just prep your skin like Dr. Lee suggests to get the best results.