Tiny pores have always been a skincare goal, but unfortunately, it’s one of the more difficult skincare goals to achieve. As with most challenging to resolve skincare issues, pore size is something that requires addressing by a skincare expert like a dermatologist or qualified esthetician.

The problem is that these pore size reducing treatments rarely come cheap. With the desire for invisible pores and an intact bank account weighing on our shoulders, those simple and cheap pore strips look extra-enticing. Not all drugstore skincare products are what they seem, however. While people have been using pore strips forever, are they actually helpful, or are pore strips a waste of your money? Here’s the final say on pore strips.

According to senior esthetician Stalina Glot of Haven Spa in NYC, pore strips are a waste of money, but that’s not the worst part about them. She says, “It’s the same if a person at home without any preparation (steam) will squeeze those blackheads. […] It leaves the rest of the oil inside each pore and then another portion of oil produced by sebaceous glands, pushing forward old oil […].”

It’s every skincare lovers nightmare — a product that does the opposite of what it purports to do. Since pore strips can’t remove all the contents in a clogged pore, the remaining oil gets pushed further into the pore, causing pores to expand even more and ultimately appear larger. Here, the harm in pore strips is not the waste of money but the damage they do to our skin.

Another esthetician from Haven Spa, Debbie Moore, told us to “avoid them, especially those with dry or sensitive skin and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.” She explained that pore strips are too rough on our skin and can remove the entire top layer of dead skin along with blackheads. Without proper skin prepping, removals like this can cause damage to the skin and irritate sensitive skin.

Overall, the experts have told us that not only are pore strips a waste of money, but they’re actually a significant risk for doing more harm to our skin than good. If you’re hunting for ways to minimize the appearance of your pores, the best and safest method is to meet with a qualified esthetician or dermatologist.

Glot recommends that after a professional cleaning with an esthetician, use a natural seed scrub once a week on dry skin. She instructs, “to remove the oil before oxidation, do it on a dry face, work with it 30-40 seconds, and then wash it off.” This is the surest path to minimized pores — no pore strips included.