Blotting Sheets—What Are They Good For?

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There are blotting papers and then there are Tatcha's Aburatorigami, traditional Japanese-style facial blotting sheets speckled with gold leaf. So elegant and dainty are these little guys, which come in a chic-as-hell booklet, it's hard to stop using them, oily-faced or not. Not to mention the whole instant gratification thing: Press them on you your forehead, nose, chin, or anywhere that needs a little help (be it from your sebaceous glands or that sunscreen you dutifully put on this morning) and it's like pizza grease on a napkin—a really lovely napkin that doesn't ruin your makeup in the process. All of a sudden, boom. LOOK WHAT'S ON MY FACE! Which is how nose pore strips evidently became a thing for a while.

Though, for those of us with oily or combination skin, sometimes it's inevitable to wonder, 'Does oil blotting actually do anything?' There's nothing wrong with wanting to control your oil production, but wiping it off is quite the reactionary solution. As is often the best solution, ask an expert:

'I don’t think oil blotting papers do much at all. In my opinion, the appeal is in the satisfaction that you can visually see the oil that was once on your skin,” Dr. Rita Linkner, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, said. “If oily skin is contributing to your acne, then topical medications like a retinoid based night cream or gel are what's really needed to decrease oil production at the level of the glands.” So essentially, it's all in the expectations. Want a quick-fix before you run into a meeting? Blotting papers do the trick, but if you're constantly frustrating yourself because you're going through the dainty little sheets like free paper towels (a luxury item in their own right, to some) maybe switch to something that packs a bit more punch. Maybe spring for an oil-controlling primer/mattifier. Just know you've got options.

Photographed by Tom Newton.

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