Is Elmer’s Glue Good for Your Skin? (Guest Post Part 2 of 4)

Personal/Inspirational, Skin Care

About the Author:

This is the second of a four-part series about the efficacy and safety of at-home facials, written by the very talented Monica Huynh. (Part One: Aspirin Facials was published yesterday.) Born and raised in California, Monica Huynh received her bachelor degree at University of California, Berkeley and is currently a medical student at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. Aside from skin and beauty products, Monica loves to travel to new places, scope out delicious restaurants, and experiment with fashion.

Elmer’s Glue


Three things come to mind when I think of elementary school: cooties, recess, and Elmer’s glue. Elmer’s glue was the item to have in the backpack because not only did it help you craft up a storm, it was fun to spread the gooey mess on your skin and peel it shortly after it dries. I left this habit once I moved on to middle school but some people took it one step further – Elmer’s glue as a facial peel.

If you’re familiar with pore strips, a popular method to extract blackheads from the nose, forehead, and chin, then you might see where this is heading. Pore strips contain a side covered with glue, which is applied and pressed into the skin. Glue sticks to dirt, oil, sebum, and anything else it makes contact with. Once the strip dries and is peeled off, everything that made contact with the strip should be peeled away as well. Elmer’s glue, or any white glue, has been purported as the frugal alternative but is it really something worth taking home from school at the end of the day?


Blackheads are the bane of my existence. Perhaps that was an exaggeration but anyone with blackheads knows they can be a pain to deal with. Pore strips seemed like an answer from above and though its extraction abilities were inconsistent, few things seemed to be as satisfying as seeing a sea of blackheads pulled from my nose. That feeling changed when I realized that as my blackheads were being pulled out of my pores, the strips were also enlarging the pores. As Nicki mentioned in her article of 5 mistakes to stop making on your skin right now, mechanical pore extractors expand the borders of the pore. Though pores may seem cleaner and smaller this is a temporary effect. Since pores cannot permanently shrink, the unfortunate consequence of continual use of pore strips will lead not only to bigger pores but possibly more and bigger blackheads. Unless you’re seeing a licensed professional it’s best to leave any pore extractor alone.

As for Elmer’s glue? First off, Elmer’s glue or any white glue was not formulated with skin-grade chemicals so it is possible to have an adverse skin reaction. Secondly, though it does seem to be a cheap alternative to pore strips, there will be varying results due to application and handling of the applied glue. Users may notice the glue facial peel to be flakey, much messier than using pore strips, and overall less effective. However, is it worth the price to use either pore strips or Elmer’s glue when in the end you may be wrecking long-term havoc your own skin? Though it is one method to temporarily extract blackheads, I have to say it may be the best bang for your buck to consider skincare products with ingredients known to combat blackheads such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Like this post? Come back tomorrow as Monica discusses at-home vitamin C facials!

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