Deep Cleansing Pore Strips is the gimmicky product that put Biore on the map several years ago. The concept remains the same as when these first hit the beauty scene: you place a piece of cloth with an incredibly sticky substance on it over your nose or elsewhere on the face, as you might do with a Band-Aid, wait 15 minutes for it to dry, and then pull it off. Along with some amount of skin, blackheads are supposed to stick to it and come right out of the pore. The main ingredient on the strips is polyquaternium-37, a film-forming, hairspray type ingredient—so it’s basically a piece of gauze with a form of hairspray on it. You may at first be impressed with what comes off your nose. (Well, there is no question: you will be impressed.) Most people do have some oil sitting at the top of their oil glands, and most of the face’s oil glands are located on the nose. So whether you use these strips or a piece of tape, black dots and some skin will be removed.
Is that helpful? Only momentarily, although if you use the Biore product, the plastic-forming agent can get into the pores and possibly cause breakouts and irritation. The way these strips adhere, they can absolutely injure or tear skin and cause spider veins to surface. They are especially unsafe if you’ve been having facial peels; using Retin-A, Renova, AHAs, or BHA; or are taking oral vitamin A (isotretinoin) for acne; or if you have naturally thin skin or any skin disorder such as rosacea, psoriasis, or seborrhea.
Biore claims this product can pull an entire blackhead plug out of the skin. It can’t. If you could grab a blackhead out of the skin, your skin would be left with an empty hole (and there is nothing in this product that will close it up), but that’s not what happens. Instead, just the top layer of the blackhead is removed, and then the blackhead returns because the source of the problem was never corrected. Nothing was done to reduce irritation, exfoliate skin cells, help keep oil flow normal, or reduce the enlarged pore. Without question, this product is not preferred to a well-formulated, leave-on BHA exfoliant, which, in most cases, effectively dissolves and controls blackheads (in addition to its other positive traits). Please see our list of Best BHA Exfoliants for options.
Pore Strips are the deepest way to clean your pores. In just one use, Bioré® Deep Cleansing Pore Strips are twice as effective as the leading pore cleanser at getting rid of pore-clogging build-up, dirt and oil that can cause blackheads. Plus, with regular use they can actually reduce the appearance of your pores!
Polyquaternium 37, Silica, Water, Glycerin, Polysilicone 13, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Titanium Dioxide, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Butylene Glycol, Methylparaben
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists for every product on the company Web sit; improved cleansers.
Weaknesses: Known for their pore strips, which aren't as helpful as they seem; lots of products that contain alcohol and/or menthol, neither of which improve the look or function of pores; the sole sunscreen option lacks the proper UVA-protecting ingredients.
This drugstore line wants you to know it is serious about keeping your pores unclogged. They pledge that their products will rid your pores of the dirt, oil, and grime that can cause them to enlarge to "manhole-sized proportions." Although that size is clearly an exaggeration, most of the claims Biore makes also stretch what's possible. For example, neither their products nor the manner in which they function take into account the fact that pore size is more often than not genetic and controlled to a large extent by the oil glands that lie beneath the skin, which are themselves controlled by hormone activity, and none of that can be affected from the outside in.
None of the Biore products can shrink the oil gland or help keep it unblocked, and that is the only surefire way to reduce pore size. One of the bonuses of taking prescription Accutane for acne is that in most cases the patient's pore size becomes remarkably smaller due to the manner in which this potent drug works internally. We are not suggesting anyone should take Accutane simply to shrink large pores. But we do suggest it would be better to stop believing that skin-care products that claim to do so are the answer. Effective skin-care products (including some items in the Biore line) can remove or absorb excess oil, which makes pores less noticeable, and a well-formulated cleanser will remove grime and surface oils without drying skin, which temporarily makes pores look slightly smaller. And believe it or not, sun protection plays a role in pore size. As skin becomes more sun damaged, it becomes thicker and unable to exfoliate normally. The buildup of dead skin cells coupled with thickened skin can make pores expand. This can be remedied by using a well-formulated AHA or BHA product along with daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen—products that Biore lacks.
That's the extent of it, which is why to a large extent (no pun intended) pore size is something that you must learn to live with, because beyond avoiding sun damage and trying Accutane, there is little that can be done to change it. However, the outlook isn't as bleak as it may seem. With conscientious skin care and proper use of makeup, you can successfully minimize the appearance of pores and prevent them from enlarging any further.
For more information about Biore, call (888) BIORE-11 or visit www.biore.com.
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