Ah, the pore strips - those amazing inventions that do battle with our sebacious glands! Before I use the pore strips I steam my face or apply a hot cloth to the area for a few minutes. That opens up the pores and allows the strips to attach better to the dirt (My opinion only - totally unscientific!).
My regimen is salicylic acid gel at night (Clinique Nighttime Acne Treatment Gel), light loofah in the morning to exfoliate, cold water to close and tighten pores, then pore strips about twice a week. When I'm disciplined about it, it's keeps me ahead of the breakout curve. I've found the trick is to let your skin slough off those cells over a few days, but the salicylic acid and exfoliating certinaly helps the process along and prevents more bacteris from getting in there to exacerbate the situation.