Is Dental Floss the Secret to Clear Pores?
This Instagrammer uses floss and mouthwash to clear her pores, but you should think twice before you try it.
In the quest for flawless, baby face skin, many people fixate on their pores, seeking out ways to make them disappear. While there's no shortage of pore strips, masks, and other products on the market that cater to the concern, using DIY remedies are also a popular route. (FYI, while some DIY beauty hacks are perfectly fine, others can cause major problems, so it pays to stay skeptical.) In fact, everything from toothpaste to Elmer's glue has been championed as the solution to squeaky clean pores. The latest household product? Dental floss.
A method for using dental floss and mouthwash to clear pores has been popping up on various beauty sites, and in a popular Instagram video, beauty blogger Sukhi Mann demonstrates how it's done.
In the video, Sukhi preps her nose with a hot washcloth, then scrapes the dental floss pick down the front of her nose. She shows a closeup of the what she was able to scrape off, then rubs mouthwash over the area. In her caption, she suggests using either mouthwash or cleanser for the final step, followed by a moisturizer-and warns against using the method on sensitive skin.
The method seems like a perfect solution to blackheads, right?! It gives you the satisfaction you get from using pore strips (you get to see the little particles you scraped away) and is way cheaper! But according to dermatologist Patricia K. Farris, M.D, you'd be better off skipping this one since it's far too harsh on the skin.
"The notion that you would want to rub dental floss across your nose and put mouthwash on it is overkill, and something that could cause irritation," she says.
And this whole trend of needing to constantly clear pores? Misguided, she says. It all stems from a misconception that pores fill up with dirt, when in reality, your glands are just secreting a normal amount of oil and sebum as they should-so you shouldn't be physically digging it out, she says. (Basically, it's a lot like the way popping a pimple can leave you worse off, as tempting as it is.)
Since abrasive methods of clearing out the pores can cause rashes or irritation, it's better to seek out products that will give a gentler exfoliation, says Dr. Farris. To keep skin clean, Dr. Farris suggests using cleansers with salicylic or glycolic acid which help to keep the pores open or enlist the help of a Clarisonic ($129; sephora.com) a few times a week.
Moral of the story: Keep doing your research before trying a DIY beauty treatment (here are some we've given the thumbs up to), and when it comes to clearing pores, stick to a gentler, less-is-more approach.