ABCs of Skin Care- E is for Extractions

Are you ready to admit your addiction to binging episodes of Dr Pimple Popper?

Do you spend hours in the mirror scouring every pore on your face for blackheads?

Is your favorite part of a professional facial when the esthetician cleans out your pores?

If you answered yes, you may have an extraction addiction.

Not that its the worst addiction to have really, HOWEVER if you are constantly digging deep into your skin looking for small treasures, this could be a problem.

All joking aside, some people actually do pick at their skin excessively and leave physical marks. These fingernail gouges are called excoriae, which can lead to secondary infections including staph, and often leave scars. This behavior is often associated with anxiety and body dysmorphic disorder. If you think this might apply to you, please reach out to your doctor for assistance.

Skin Extraction means the removal of impactions from the pores. This can be done in several ways, usually chemical or manual. This is best done by your well trained, experienced esthetician, or your dermatologist. They will typically use a softening enzyme or peel agent to start the process, and proceed with manual extractions. This usually means fingertips wrapped in cotton, or cotton tipped swabs. In some states or with a medical professional, a lancet may also be used. A professional can also use a galvanic current device with an alkaline solution to literally melt the impactions. Other effective devices include the Vortex Extractions of the Hydrafacial. This is much more effective and gentle than using a knock-off “suction” device.

Not everyone needs extractions. Not everyone needs extractions ~every~ facial.

Lets be clear if you DO need extractions. There is NO WAY that any one can possible clean out EVERY SINGLE PORE on your face at once. You have over 250 pores per square inch, so that would be a superhuman feat.

Often clients will come here to our skin care clinic, expecting to get their whole skin clear in one treatment. Umm, no. That clogging in the pores took time to build up, and it takes time to clear out too. Regular biweekly or monthly treatments will yield the best results.

Extractions cannot be done on skin that is very dehydrated, irritated, sunburned or inflamed. The skin must be hydrated, softened and properly prepared for effective extractions.

Although we don’t recommend at home bathroom “surgery”, we do understand the stress that comes when you wake up one morning with a huge red ZIT on the end of your nose that clearly was not there last night.

First, DON’T put a hot pack on it! Heat will just make it more red and inflamed. Don’t put toothpaste on it either, as that may temporarily “dry” it out, but will often make it worse in the long run. Besides, most commercial toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is highly comedogenic. Hellooo more pimples…

What you SHOULD NOT DO, is pick at your own (or someone else’s!) skin with your dirty fingernails or a safety pin. You should NOT squeeze , pinch or scratch a pimple till it “pops” and then wonder why its all bloody and scabbed the next day.

We DO recommend you apply ice for 1-2 minutes directly on the inflamed area. Keep moving the ice, this is vital! Holding ice directly to the skin in one place may result in permanent damage to the tissues AKA Frostbite.

You can then apply a topical spot treatment directly to the blemish, and then LEAVE IT ALONE. Trust me on this one. It’s extremely rare that clients do their own extractions and don’t make a mess of their skin.

Its best to make a call to your skin care professional to remove pimples or other impactions.

If you are in Rhode Island or Southeastern MA, you can call Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies 401-632-4444 for that exact kind of help.

Questions? Post them in the comments! We love to hear your thoughts.

And we really, really like cats.



Photo by Destiny Wiens on Unsplash


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s