TikTok is not the best place for skin-care advice as we’ve found out time and time again. This time the advice comes from user Sue Hally, who recommends using hot wax instead of using nasal pore strips to remove blackheads and sebaceous filaments.
While you may find some blackheads on your nose, chances are most of what you’re seeing are sebaceous filaments, the tiny hairs that act as a “bridge” for oil to reach the surface of the skin. “They cannot be removed as they are part of the anatomy of skin on the nose,” explains Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman. “I’ve had many patients cause scarring using comedone extractors.”
In the video, Hally says using hard wax is the better alternative to pore strips because the warmth of the wax allows for better removal. “The best part about using hard wax on the face or body, is that it will always mold itself to your body shape or facial feature, giving you a customized removal. Unlike poor nasal strips, it’s recommended to work on one side of the face at a time when removing hard wax, although not ideal.”
As far as following this advice, Louisville, KY, dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD, says don’t do it: “Every time I see a TikTok beauty suggestion, I cringe,” she says. Dr. Cassis and her colleagues recommend light to medium exfoliation instead of a harsh wax treatment.
So, yet again, we’ve learned that you can’t always trust the advice you receive on social media. While hot wax to unclog pores is not recommended by our trusted skin care experts, they say using a topical solution is the gentler way to treat this area.
Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias adds, “[sebaceous filaments] are a normal part of the skin. I recommend using salicylic acid wash, as it may help diminish their appearance.”
“My office dispenses salicylic acid pads and cleansers with and without glycolic acid,” adds Dr. Haberman. “Depending upon how oily the skin is, product can either be used alone or in combination daily or every other day. This works well to smooth the skin and diminish the appearance of these sebaceous filaments.”