Pore strips and vacuums strip away clear complexions


Tina Yong on YouTube

Tina Yong’s review and close-up video of the pore vacuum she purchased.

I’ve always had a weird obsession with some pretty stomach-turning content, but based on the number of views on each of the YouTube videos, I’m certainly not alone. It is one of the most satisfying things to me to watch pore strip and pore vacuum clips; seeing all of the pores become unclogged is one of my greatest joys.

Because I’ve found such pleasure in viewing these videos, it’s only natural that I wanted to try some of these strategies myself. In fact, I was using pore strips from Bioré before I even launched myself into the world of skincare. After I made my discoveries in that field, though, I haven’t grabbed pore strips off of the shelf or picked up my pore vacuum.

Although satisfying and appearing to benefit the appearance of the skin, neither pore vacuums nor pore strips are a good path to take when seeking a flawless complexion. To begin with, most of these products are advertised as “sucking out blackheads.” This, right away, is severely misleading and straight-up false. Those little black dots on the nose that are filled with small amounts of sebum are actually called sebaceous filaments and are completely normal; everyone has them. People are supposed to have them. However, there is no harm in trying to minimize their appearance, but it is unrealistic to expect them to disappear completely.

It’s not just the ineffectiveness of these products that renders them a waste of money and time; they can be harmful as well. The pore strips certainly strip; however, they rip away more than the excess dirt and oil. The healthy, moisturizing oils are also pulled off, which damages the skin more than it benefits, and redness is almost certain.

Pore vacuums are also a tool to avoid. Their suction is powerful; too powerful. Even on the lowest power setting, redness, irritation, and even bleeding can occur from this piece of technology. Like the pore strips, when the sebaceous filaments are emptied, they only appear this way for the moment. They quickly fill back in, and aren’t truly “emptied.” The vacuum is quite damaging to the skin barrier and is rarely recommended by skincare experts. 

I have my own experiences with each of these, and neither of them were positive or ones I am willing to repeat.

I have my own experiences with each of these, and neither of them was positive or ones I am willing to repeat.

When I had my endeavors with the Bioré, there were several different types of strips that I selected. My first box was the original, classic, white strips. They typically “worked,” as in stuck to my nose, but there were instances where the strip failed to adhere to my nose. I’m not sure if it was a mistake on my end of the process or a faulty piece, but somehow, the strip turned slimy and disgusting. These strips had pretty minimal results; the little “gunk beads” were few and far between.

After my disappointing results with the classic pore strips, I decided to give the charcoal version a try. Perhaps it was just the placebo effect playing tricks on my mind, but I was fairly certain that I could see a slight increase in the dirt and oils that were drawn out. The increase wasn’t significant, though, so it still wasn’t a great success. Additionally, black residue was left on my face in an outline, which was annoying to scrub off.

On top of the pore strips, I also picked up a pore vacuum one day against all professional advice. This was even more of a letdown than the Biore strips. The sucking power of the vacuum was certainly strong, but not in a good way. Almost nothing left my pores except for the natural color. My nose was completely red, had odd folds and creases, and looked no cleaner than it had before. In fact, it looked worse. Because of the slight suction, the sebaceous filaments were only partially pulled out, so they were much more noticeable and closer to the surface.

Despite the fact that pore strip and pore vacuum videos will continue to fascinate me and disturb my peers, the use of these rarely produces the same results as this internet phenomenon. More often than not, the face is left with damage and no clearer than it was before. Rather than stripping the oils from the face, a much more effective and healthy method of minimizing sebaceous filaments is through a salicylic acid cleanser or masque. These chemically exfoliate rather than physically, which when used correctly, cleanse without the damage that pore strips and vacuums cause.

So, hold back that urge to grab one of these products that pull the gunk out of your pores; the costs far outweigh the benefits.