TPDTY: On Sebaceous Filaments & Why You Don’t Need Pore Strips

This is a post from the Beauty Skeptic archives that has been given a facelift! Content is the same but may have been edited for clarity and flow, as well as some small content updates noted in line.

Pore StripOh look, a pore strip!

Yeah, you’re familiar with them, probably from Biore. Other brands make pore strip products, too, often more expensive for the same (lackluster) result.

But you don’t need them.

Yeah, there are DIY pore strip tutorials online with weird suggestions involving egg whites or Elmer’s Glue. And listen, I can appreciate getting a little mad scientist in my beauty/skincare as much as the next person…

But you don’t need to.

Wash your face, leave it sopping. Dry your hands, open the thing. Slap the pore strip on your nose and smooth it down. Wait until it feels ridiculous, then rip it off.

But you don’t need that.

Here’s the thing – what many of us bought those things or played mad scientist for was because we believed we had a ton of god-awful blackheads on and around our nose, right? Oh god, we have to fix it. We’d peel away the papier-mâché pore strip and marvel in disgust over what we just ripped out of our faces with this pore strip. Right? Don’t lie, if you’ve used this, you have. You’re elated for a day or two because your skin looks a little better…and then things return to normal – and you strip again.

A waste, indeed, of time and money for such fleeting results.

But here’s the thing – in so many cases (I wish I could quote you a percentage) those are not blackheads. They are sebaceous filaments – they occur naturally on everyone, ever, and are not blemishes…and they cannot be, “removed,” not even by a pore strip. Yes, they aren’t the cutest thing in the world, and yes, that is irritating. Proper skincare, however, can make them less obvious.

The Routine

Your skincare routine should consist of (at minimum), daily cleansing, exfoliating as often as your skin wants/needs it (some people like a daily gentle exfoliant, some of us like to break out the big guns 2-3 times per week), and moisturizing. You can get more detailed than this if you wish (I like to!) but it isn’t a dire necessity. (Bonus points if you use a face brush like an Olay Pro-X or Clarisonic!)

In terms of cleansers, I like something basic and simple. (2017) CeraVe Foaming (2014) Cetaphil Gentle is my favorite. As far as exfoliants go…in terms of what is best for your skin, a chemical exfoliant is technically best and I have (2017) this AHA gel from Alpha Skin (formerly Alpha Hydrox) (2014) this one from Alpha Hydrox .

That said, I also commit “skincare sins,” and indulge in physical ones (theoretically the gritty nature of these can cause tiny cuts in your skin. I haven’t had problems, personally, but I get it – especially with the St Ives, it can be a bit much if you overdo the pressure) such as this classic from St Ives and my long-time favorite from Burt’s Bees 2017 Update: The only physical exfoliation my face sees these days comes from my Clarisonic or Luna Mini.

Moisturizers are very personalized depending on your needs but I am currently happiest with (2017) Mountain Rose Herbs Argan Oil (2014) Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light. Those things help me keep my skin healthy and looking well-cared-for.

The Bottom Line

Stop wasting your money on pore strip products, your time on playing face-goop-alchemy, and just get back to basics. They’re fun, but they are a gimmick – and a costly one, at that. Chances are if you don’t have other acne issues, you don’t have a nose rife with blackheads…you, like most people, just have some sebaceous filaments which are normal and healthy. Not gross, just kind of odd looking when you actually notice them.

June 2016 Favorites

June 2016 FavoritesJune 2016 Favorites
1. Stridex Pads, $5 / 2. Sensationail Polish to Gel, $8
3. Excipial, $12 / 4. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, Moonstone, $19

Thanks for bearing with me last month since my favorites were a bit of a mess, but I’ve got my act together just in time to share my June 2016 Favorites.

Read moreJune 2016 Favorites

Skincare Basics

Splash Rinsing. No one actually does this.

I wish there was a study or survey with data regarding average budgets or amounts allocated to beauty expenses. Unfortunately, it would never be accurate because we, as people, do not want to admit our own vanity. Or perhaps you’re willing to admit to it, but not to its extent.

Many people dole out for cosmetics to cover up and hide what they perceive to be imperfections. I would be willing to bet, however, that most spend more money on things to hide what they feel they need to rather than improve it. Skincare is neglected because, unlike slapping concealer on your face when you feel you need it, taking care of your skin is a daily effort. No amount of makeup is going to, “fix,” poorly cared-for skin – not even high end ones, don’t let the girl at the counter suggest that (be a skeptic!). Clean, well-cared for skin looks and feels better, ages better (who can argue with that?) and takes less effort to, “dress up,” if you will. I have also found that there is this thought that taking care of your skin = huge expense – not so. You don’t need to go drop cash at the Clinique counter or on Murad. My entire routine is readily available online, in various drugstores, and in mass merchants.

After the jump is a peek into my skincare basics and current routine. It isn’t costly, it isn’t very time consuming once you establish a routine. For reference, my skin is normal/combination T-Zone/non-sensitive.

Read moreSkincare Basics