Nose Strips vs. Blackhead Balms: What works better?

Since moving to Manila from Cavite and commuting regularly to school, blackheads have become a top skincare issue for me. I keep my face clean but daily exposure to pollution, dirt, and sweat has resulted in the formation of too many pesky black dots on my nose! Unfortunately I can’t easily get rid of them with just facial wash and my student budget can’t afford a monthly trip to a facial center for extractions. So I found two cheap alternatives to try out at home!

Nose strips are a pretty popular solution for removing comedones, and you can easily buy some almost anywhere you go. I picked up Megan Purifying Nose Pore Strips from Mercury Drugstore, and the pack of four only cost P49! Pretty cheap, right? I’ve seen a lot of other pore strips around but I was particularly interested in trying these out because they’re supposedly formulated with witch hazel extract, a natural ingredient known to be effective at minimizing the appearance of pores.

To use, I cleansed my face and left my nose a bit damp from rinsing. I stuck on a nose pack (each is individually-wrapped) and left it on for 15 minutes as recommended on the packet. When it was dry, I carefully pulled the strip off – it can be a bit painful especially if it’s your first time, so you can lightly moisten the area to make removal easier. Seeing the strip and everything stuck to it was so satisfying! It managed to pull out every bit of gunk, except for one really stubborn and deep-seated blackhead I can’t seem to get rid of. Otherwise, I was pretty happy with the results!

After two weeks, I tried the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Blackhead Out Balm (P300 at Althea PH). It’s a white, solid balm that turns into an oily consistency as it melts in the warmth of your hand. Starting with a dry nose, I picked up a bit of the product with clean fingers and applied it to my nose. As I gently rubbed it in, I could see and feel some blackheads becoming more prominent and then coming out from my pores (gross but fun).

I rubbed it in for a few more minutes to allow the product to better penetrate my skin and in the hopes that the pressure would displace all the comedones. I felt a few blackheads and whiteheads come out but I could feel that there were still a few stuck in my skin. I followed the instructions to wash off the balm with a facial cleanser and hoped that doing so would displace the rest. Unfortunately, it did not. I was pretty disappointed but perhaps I need to try using this with the rest of the Jeju volcanic line to get the results I want.

The nose strips worked better for me as it got more of the gunk out but it almost made my skin feel pretty sensitive afterwards. There are also some claims saying that using nose pore strips could do more harm than good and actually make your pores permanently larger because of the stress your skin is subjected to. If you do opt to go for this peel-off option, use it sparingly (no more than once in a week) and make sure to apply a soothing moisturizer afterwards. Do not use this product if you have sensitive skin!

On the other hand, the balm was gentle on my skin and I feel that I may even be able to use this product every day. With continued use, I think that it may be able to rid me of all my issues once and for all. It’s slower progress but I like that it doesn’t harm my skin and that the tub of product will come out cheaper per use compared to the strips.

If you have any skin conditions, make sure to consult with your dermatologist first before purchasing and using these products. Before applying it to your face, check for potential allergic reactions first by applying a bit of product in a less conspicuous area then observe for a few hours.

Do you suffer from blackheads, too? How do you get rid of them? Would you opt to try the nose pack or the balm?