How to Safely Use a Comedone Extractor on Blackheads and Whiteheads

The comedone extractor can easily push blackhead- and whitehead-causing gunk out of your pores—if you use it properly.

Comedone Extractors

Life-changing events like waking up with my first period, passing my road test and receiving my driver’s license, and dealing with my first blackhead are all placed in the “important memories” category in the back of my brain. The unsightly pimple appeared on my right nostril, just where a nose piercing would go. I smeared concealer over the dark and enigmatic bump before I left for school as a 13-year-old without any knowledge of beauty or skin care, and prayed my fingers that it would suddenly go on its own.

After several months, the blackhead simply grew bigger and bigger, and I was ultimately so ashamed that I gave in to my aunt. She suggested purchasing a comedone extractor. When I went to Ulta for the first time (another event that is kept in that memory folder), I brought her advice with me. Later that night, I carefully pushed the metal device on the huge outbreak. The dead skin that was obstructing the pore erupted outward in that horrifyingly satisfying Dr. Pimple-Popper manner. My wish for a nose free of blackheads suddenly came true.

Since then, the comedone extractor has been my go-to gadget for zit removal. Essentially, it is a four-inch metal rod with two wire loops—one large and thick, the other short and thin—at either end. According to Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., a dermatologist in New York City, when you have a whitehead or blackhead that is begging to be popped, you should wrap one of the loops around the pore’s opening and gently press the skin to extrude the contents, which are typically dead skin and sebum.

If a small opening in the blackhead is not immediately accessible, certain comedone extractors feature a sharp tip on one end that is intended to make one. This will allow whatever is clogged to escape by opening up the pore. However, Dr. Garshick advises against utilizing this portion of the equipment on your own because doing so increases the chance of skin damage, such as irritation, edema, bleeding, or scarring.Comedone Extractor

Despite how easy and quick the procedure may seem, dermatologists and skin specialists *usually* do not advise utilizing a comedone extractor at home. I apologize, Dr. Garshick. If you apply too much pressure, you could inflict further damage to the skin, which is why many dermatologists frequently advocate against trying this at home, she claims. In addition to having the potential to cause more harm than good, it is challenging to attain the same level of sterility that a dermatologist can offer during an in-office session, which helps lower the risk of infections.

A professional is able to avoid harm and injuries from comedone extractors for extremely difficult breakouts by using the right amount of pressure to release the buildup beneath the skin-and knowing when to stop. Additionally, it might be dangerous to try to remove inflamed breakouts and cystic acne (big, severe, deep outbreaks) at home. According to Dr. Garshick, “I think those tend to be the ones that people have the most difficulty with when they try to pop.” “Many times, not much wants to come out, so they continue to dig. They start to really push at it at that point, which causes extra problems with scarring, inflammation, or even the development of a little scab.” You’re better off getting a prescription for these types of outbreaks.

However, if you do have a blackhead that requires immediate attention and you are unable to visit the dermatologist (whether it be because of a busy work schedule or a pandemic), avoid starting to squeeze it with your fingertips. According to Dr. Garshick, not only do you face the danger of infection, but you are also placing pressure on more skin than is necessary for a minor breakout, causing greater swelling and irritation. If you’re going to pop it, she advises, a comedone extractor is probably preferable to using your fingers. “I would suggest that the tool can help and enable a more positive extraction experience when utilized in the proper way,” the author said.

If you can’t get a doctor’s visit, here’s how to securely use a comedone extractor and where to buy one.

How to Use a Comedone Extractor Safely

To soften and open the pore, apply a warm compress to the afflicted area (such as a warm, damp washcloth).
Alcohol should be used to clean the comedone extractor and the skin.
Choose the wire loop that you want to employ. The smaller, narrower loop is usually preferable since it relieves pressure from the problematic area. Dr. Garshick advises using the larger loop on a bigger breakout, but with caution.

Wrap the blackhead or white head in the wire loop. Press lightly to remove the sebum and dead skin cells obstructing the pore. Stop squeezing and allow it to rest if nothing emerges from the breakout right away. Stop pressing if there is blood. In this case, it’s likely that the clogged pore’s contents have already been expelled and nothing is left, or that the area itself wasn’t prepared to be burst. As a result of the comedone extractor’s pressure, a small bruise may form around the breakout; this bruise will eventually disappear.Wash your face gently with soap and water to get rid of any bacteria that may still be on the skin’s surface. Avoid spot treatments because they can aggravate the skin even more. Do not start your typical skin-care routine until the next day.

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