How to Get Rid of Blackheads If Pore Strips Don’t Work for You

Victoria Moorhouse
face washing

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You’ve gone through a box and a half of pore strips and all those blackheads are still there. So what’s up? Before you decide you’ve purchased a faulty kit and demand your $$$ back, consider it might be because they’re not the right pore-removing option for you. If you can relate to this scenario and are jealous of anyone who does find grim on their used sticker (gross, but true), listen up! We went to a skin pro to find out exactly how to get rid of blackheads without pore strips.

First, just because pore strips don’t work for you, doesn’t mean they won’t work for everyone. According to Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC dermatologist, host of and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz, it may have something to do with the size of your pores. He notes that pores can vary in shape and depth, which means the pore strip might not be able to penetrate as deeply as it needs to on all pores.

So what’s the alternative? Not picking or squeezing your pores, that’s for sure!

It’s all in the cleansing process. First, you’ll need to work to open up the pores. To do this, Dr. Schultz suggests steaming your face in the shower before washing.

Next, he suggests using a cleanser formulated with glycolic (he says this is the gold standard of exfoliating ingredients) and salicylic acids. You can find these two ingredients in many anti-acne face washes, including Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash ($7, and Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser ($16,

Finally, he says you should follow-up by using a granular cleanser.

And if you have time, a visit to your facialist or dermatologist could help zap those blackheads. “A glycolic peel followed by simple pressure extraction of the blackheads is easy and painless and can be done by either a derm or facialist,” notes Dr. Schultz. “This is very effective for blackheads,” he says.

The takeaway? If blackheads tend to invade your pores and strips aren’t performing, make sure to invest in a solid cleanser that is made with just the right ingredients. And if you’re unsure, asking your derm about formulas or product suggestions never hurts.

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