Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Which Biore Acne Products Can You Trust?

By Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

Biore is famous for its acne strips. It was one of the first companies to list all of the ingredients for its products on its website. Its complexion clearing products, unfortunately, are more “interesting” than effective. Let’s take a look at the topsellers in this subbrand.

biore for acne
Although there are benefits to using the pore strips, the filming agent used in the strips can create new blemishes in adjacent pores.


  • Biore’s claim to fame is its deep cleansing pore strips for blackheads, although it also makes cleansers, face wash and scrubs.
  • Biore makes an “ice cleanser,” which cools your skin with menthol, and a “warming cleanser,” which warms your skin with zeolyte. Both gimmicky products can make your skin break out.
  • The Biore unclogging scrub contains waxes that can clog your pores—so you’ll keep coming back for more.
  • The acne cleansing strips contain the same ingredient used to make hairspray. It dries on your skin to form a fine film that can remove the “black” in blackheads as well as a little bit of your skin.
  • The problem with the pore strips is that any benefits are temporary, and the filming agent can create new whiteheads and blackheads in adjacent pores—again, keeping you coming back for more.
  • If you are looking for a product that will actually help your skin, consider Exposed Skin Care.

 Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cream Cleanser

This unique product contains a compound called zeolite, which releases heat as it dissolves in water. Spreading the Biore Warming Anti-Blackhead Cream Cleanser will dissolve the zeolite and warm your skin. That warming action, however, is more interesting than curative. Warming your skin does not melt oil out of pores or stimulate growth of new skin. And although it also contains 2% salicylic acid, which is a fairly effective concentration, rinsing the cream cleanser off your skin also most as soon as you put in on negates any benefit of this ingredient. All you get for the US $7.99 you pay for 6.25 fluid oz/187.5 ml of this product is a so-so cleanser for normal to dry skin.

Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub

Biore advertises this product as a “creamy, pearly formula with micro beads and maximum strength salicylic acid that unclogs pores and removes dry, dull skin so your pores can breath a little easier. Helps prevent blackheads and breakouts from forming.” Like other Biore products, it contains 2% salicylic acid that won’t do you any good because you have to rinse it off too soon. And unlike other Biore products, it contains waxes that stick to your skin and—guest what—clog pores. The menthol in this cleansing product irritates all skin types and increases sebum production, for which you will need to use more cleanser. The formulation of the product is designed to keep you paying US $7.99 for 5 fluid oz/150 ml and you’ll just need more and more to remove the wax the scrub leaves on your face.

Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser

Here is a product that is advertised as “giving blemishes the cold shoulder.” It actually would be an extremely effective cleanser except for the two main ingredients that makes it feel cool on your skin, eucalyptus and menthol. Many people who have even slight skin sensitivity can break out after they use products containing menthol. This cleanser also contains 2% salicyclic acid, which breaks up dead skin around blackheads and counteracts other irritant ingredients, but users wash the salicylic acid down the drain just a few seconds after application to the skin, too soon for it to do its work. Not to mention that the pH level of this product is too high for the salicyclic acid to be effective. Even as low as US $5.49 for 6.7 fluid oz/204 ml, Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser is not a bargain.

Fresh Mint
Menthol and eucalyptus may seem refreshing, but they can be especially irritating to skin.

Biore Triple Action Astringent

Biore claims that this astringent will open pores and eliminate blackheads. The problem with the product is that it contains not just one but two kinds of alcohol plus witch hazel, all of which can irritate your skin. The product might be OK if you have very oily skin, a problem with blackheads, and absolutely no history of irritation or redness after using skin care products. Otherwise you are just rinsing your US $7.99 per 8.5 fluid oz/255 ml down the drain.

Two more Biore products are not technically part of its Complexion Clearing line but are well known for treating acne.

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

If you are familiar with any Biore product, chances are it is the Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips or the Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. Looking a little like a tiny Bandaid, you place these strips over clogged pores overnight and, the product promises, 15 minutes later you can just pull the deep cleansing strip and the clogs in your pores off your blemished skin. Biore used to make one version of the product for your nose and another version of the product for the rest of your face, but now one product is used for any area of your face.

Most users of Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, however, find that they remove a little skin along with any contents of pores that stick to the strip.

The active ingredient in the deep cleansing strips is polyquaternium-37, which is also used to make hair spray. Polyquaternium-37 dries into a thin film on the skin. When you pull the cleansing strip off your skin, you will definitely notice a lot of “stuff” on the strip, but a lot of it is the dried hair spray ingredient. The strip will pull some oil off your skin, especially when you use it on your nose, but it will also leave polyquaternium-37 in your pores.

What’s the problem with polyquaternium-37 in your pores? As is the case with so many acne products, this treatment will cause new blemishes even while it treats old blemishes.

But that’s not the worst potential problem. If you have rosacea, this chemical can irritate the capillaries beneath the pores in your skin. They will leak tiny amounts of blood that look red but that can’t be removed with any pore cleanser. The blood can clot and leave a purple spider vein in your skin where you use the pore strips.

Pore strips are not safe if you are using Retin-A, Accutane, Differin, or Tazorac, and they are not a good idea if you have psoriasis, contact dermatitis, or seborrhea. But at least they get rid of blackheads, right?

Wrong. The tiny black spots you may see in the sticky film on the back side of your Biore pore strip is just the top of the blackhead, the dark, oxidized hardened sebum at the opening of the pore. The pore strip does not remove the base of the blackhead, and in a few days they will just darken again at a lower level. The strip does nothing to reduce sebum production, loosen dead skin cells, or cleanse pores. But both Biore Deep Cleansing Strips and Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Strips may give you up to a day that blackheads are less noticeable before they come back.

Deep Cleansing Strips retail for US $10.49 for 14 strips and Ultra Deep Cleansing Strips retail for US $6.49 for 6 strips. The only difference between the two products is that the Ultra Deep Cleansing Strips include menthol and a tiny amount of tea tree oil, enough menthol to irritate your skin but not enough tea tree oil to kill acne bacteria.

Looking for acne products that actually work? Check out Exposed Skin Care.

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