Our pores secrete a substance called sebum, or oil, which helps moisturize and protect our skin, but sometimes sebum and dead skin cells can clog our pores, causing acne [source: Gordon].
Blackheads are a type of acne in which the impacted pores push material out through the follicles — the bacteria’s reaction to oxygen causes the black color [source: WebMD].
Because this material emerges from your pores, pore strips can be handy tools. All you have to do is apply one to the affected area, allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then peel it away.
Afterward, if you look closely, you’ll be able to see what appear to be tiny hairs stuck to the strip, but they’re actually not hairs at all — they’re the sebum and dead skin cells that were clogging your pores [source: Goodheart]. Think of it like waxing — pore strips just remove blackheads instead of hair.