Unnecessary Skin Care and Beauty Products: Blemish Extractors
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Unnecessary Skin Care and Beauty Products: Blemish Extractors

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Posted: 05/15/2012 Acne in Acne/Pimples in Professional Facials with , , , , , , ,


This is my third installment writing about skin care products you don’t need, and I have to say, this one pains me the most. As a skin care professional for 30+ years, I know there’s nothing that can permanently harm your skin more that trying to perform your own extractions at home. And using a blemish extractor is a one-way ticket to scarring, infection and even more breakouts.

Blemish Extractors: Run, don’t walk, away from them!

Blemish Extractors (sometimes called ‘Blackhead Extractors’) are tools with metal loops that squeeze the skin to extract impactions. Some versions even include a pointed lance to pierce and break the skin.

I cannot stress enough how harmful these can be to your skin. Trying to “pop” zits or breakouts on your own is a bad idea, and using a tool like this only makes it worse. Stick to using the best skin care products for acne – extractions should only be performed by a licensed esthetician. Here’s why:

NO PORE IS SAFE: Let me put it this way, most skin care pros don’t even use these metal extractors. Why? Because they are dangerous. They dent in the skin and have no “give,” meaning they can push dirt and debris further deep into the pore, causing infections and even more breakouts. And the very last thing you should do to your skin is stick a lance in it. If a pore is closed, it is closed for a reason! Poking holes in your skin will only cause it to scar.

Some extractors come with instructions like: “for easier removal, first steam your face.” I’ll be clear with you about this – there is absolutely no way you can steam your skin at home that will prepare your pores for extraction. Your shower will not come close. Hovering over a pot of boiling water won’t, either. Only through a professional facial will your skin be prepped and steamed correctly for extractions – by the hands of a trained, licensed esthetician. No metal tools required.

For even more reasons you should leave your extractions to the professionals, check out my previous blog on “how to pop a pimple.”

Have an at-home pimple emergency and no time to see a pro? If you’re acne-prone, take 15 minutes to put your breakout in its place with an Amino Mask. Applied all over, or just on select pimples, this sulfur-packed mask will remove excess oils, gently exfoliate, and penetrate your pores to reduce acne pimples. If you only have the occasional pimple, a treatment targeted at acne might not be right for you. Instead, reach for a benzoyl peroxide serum to spot treat troublesome areas.


Barbara Salomone

One of the first-ever licensed estheticians in the U.S., Barbara is an architect of the modern American facial. Her point-of-view is that a balance of nutrition, fitness and daily skin care is the only realistic way to great looking skin. Since launching the Bioelements line in 1991, she has trailblazed the skin care industry, incorporating nutritional supplements into topical skin care products including antioxidants, calcium, probiotics and lutein.

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Comments (3)

tht1guy says:
Mar 16, 2014

i have been popping zits and removing blackheds on myself for 20+ years. Never an infection nor problems. Just zits gone .

Jessica says:
Jul 22, 2014

It seems to me, that the only people saying “dont use it” are the ones who stand to gain from people making appointments to see a so called “pro” Some one who is really trying to help people don’t use blogs as sales pages.

Teresa Stenzel says:
Jul 22, 2014

The problem with doing it yourself (and if you’ve had no problems or infections, I’m really relieved), is that when the skin has a raised red pimple, especially one that is hard or has a white head with a red ring around is that infection is already present within the pore. Causing pressure by squeezing your fingers together at home can cause pain, push the infection deeper into the skin, and even rupture the pore underneath the skin. Licensed professionals go through several steps in the treatment room to ensure the skin and cellular debris is softened, and then if it’s appropriate, the blackhead is removed. However, as a rule, we leave the red, raised and infected ones alone and just treat them topically. This blog is here to educate people on the reasons why we recommend not doing it yourself (and to offer the right solutions). Extractors can do damage, and lead to more problems down the road, including scarring. Thanks for your comments!

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