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Getting the Dirt on Skin Strips

November 13, 1998|Beauty BARBARA THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Skin strips are one of the fastest-growing cosmetic products, but how well do they work?

Biore originated them a few years ago and Pond's, Elizabeth Arden and Neutrogena have followed with their own versions. The idea is simple enough: Put the strips on your nose and, in 15 minutes, pull out all those dreadful blackheads.

Users will either tell you the strips are the greatest invention since baked potato chips or that they pulled off an entire layer of skin.

Lisa Oki, a Simi Valley dermatologist, admits such a fascination with the strips that she tried them herself. "They worked fairly well."

But, she says, there is a catch. "You have to use it on nice skin to be good."

The strips work best, she says, on sebum--oily residues in the pores. Many people mistake these for blackheads, which are little balls of keratin that sit underneath the pores.

"How can you pull something like that out?" she says.

Oki says the strips are probably too harsh for people with sensitive skin. The strips should be applied to clean, dry skin that is clear of cuts, inflammation, acne or rashes, she says.

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