With the black head removing strips, depending upon how you apply them can greatly differ your results. I am using them much more effectively now compared to when I first started using them. Before applying them, I would recommend steaming your face. This can be accomplished by a nice hot shower or applying a VERY warm (warm enough to be just short of unbearably too hot) to your nose prior to adding the strips. After this, make sure that your nose is very wet before adding the strips (make sure your hands are dry though when you are actually putting it on!). Once the strip is on, with a dry wash cloth, press the strip firmly onto your nose and smooth out all of the air pockets. Most strips recommend leaving on the strip for about 10-15 minutes, but I tend to get better results when I leave it on for AT LEAST 20 minutes. When taking off the strip, don't quickly take it off or you'll just done all those steps for nothing. Take it off extremely slow. I can spend up to a minute or two taking mine off.. the slower, the better. I also hear people have luck by applying Elmer's nontoxic glue to their nose/face and peeling it off once it dries. I tried it, and it's okay-working, but definitely not great. But anything is worth a shot. Try using an apricot or sugar scrub on your face daily. Continuous use can really help break up clogged pores and can make your skin glow. Drink more water and eat foods rich in carotids, such as carrots that are rich in beta-carotene and are said to be beneficial inside and outside of your body. And I apologize in advance because you specifically asked to not suggest this, but there are some spas that will offer certain facials that help with blemishes for under $20, you just have to research the places in your area. I tend to find great deals on GroupOn (download the app, it's great).
Stressed out college student who is on a budget and can get occasionally break outs due to stress