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Are You Extracting Acne the Right Way?

Posted on: May 29th, 2015 by California Skin Institute

Acne can be a terribly bothersome problem, regardless of age. Here at California Skin Institute we’ve created individualized treatment plans for thousands of patients; including the use of medicated topical creams, antibiotics, laser acne treatments and acne extractions.* However, one problem we see almost as often as acne are the effects of skin damage that individuals cause themselves when trying to extract acne at home.

Look, we’ve all done it at one point or another. You look in the mirror, you see either a whitehead or a blackhead and you’re just itching to squeeze it out. You don’t want to think about it, you don’t want to see it, and you certainly don’t want it anywhere other people can see it. So you lean over to the mirror, take a good look, and start pulling and squeezing on your skin.

Or, maybe you’ve seen those commercials for “professional grade” extraction tools that claim to be “just like your dermatologist uses,” and decided to buy one. So you take it out of the drawer, look at the instructions and start squeezing the metallic edges to your skin.

Here is the big problem with at-home acne extraction…

You’re Damaging Your Skin!

Your skin is the largest organ on your body. And although it may look quite simple to the naked eye, your skin is a complex combination of layers that contain a multitude of cells with different functions, protein fibers and hair follicles. It is in fact so complex that an entire field of medical study – Dermatology – is devoted to understanding and treating all the intricacies of skin health!

Now, although your skin can be quite resilient, most people make huge mistakes when attempting acne extractions at home. Here are just some of the problems we see almost on a daily basis with acne patients who’ve tried to extract acne on their own.*

  • Exacerbated Acne: When trying to extract acne at home, it is very easy to actually make it worse in the long term. The reason for this has to do with how you apply pressure to the pimple. If you press on it incorrectly, a lot of the bacteria will be pushed deeper inside the skin! This causes the pimple to heal longer and can create more inflammation and more breakouts. Such occurrences are especially common when individuals use their fingers; they apply too much pressure and cannot target the pimple effectively because the surface area of the fingers is too large.
  • Scarring: Another big problem with at-home acne extraction is scarring. And scarring is in many ways worse for your skin than the actual breakout, because it takes so much longer to fade once you’ve caused the damage. Scarring can occur for several reasons, including; applying too much pressure to the skin and using extraction tools incorrectly. In other cases, scarring can occur because the pimple isn’t opened properly before extraction. This causes the skin to tear as the comedone is pushed out, leaving a mark that may need laser treatments or chemical peels to be removed.*
  • Infection: This is a big one, because most people don’t use sterile tools and don’t wear gloves when trying to perform an extraction at home. It is so easy for bacteria to get into the skin damaged by extraction, and can lead to long term inflammation, as healing times can become very prolonged if bacteria make it deep inside the skin.

Is a Professional Extraction Really that Much Better?

The answer to this question is a resounding “Yes!” California Skin Institute Aestheticians aren’t just licensed and trained, but have spent hundreds of hours performing acne extractions.*

For example, it is vital to apply pressure to the skin in the correct manner.* It must be applied to the right part of the pimple and the comedone must be pushed in the right direction.* Just as importantly, it’s important to know when to stop if removing the comedone may cause excessive damage to the skin.*

Another step our Aestheticians take is loosening the comedones.* This can be done with specialized topical solutions and suctioning devices we have at the office.* Why is this so important?* Because if the comedones are loosened, less pressure is needed to remove them, and less pressure means less potential for bruising or other skin damage.*

Also, knowing the direction of the pore is absolutely vital.* If you look at your skin, all the pores seem to be just little dots, but underneath, these pathways can run in many different directions.* By understanding which direction the entire pore or follicle is pointing to, California Skin Institute Aestheticians can apply the pressure much more effectively, pushing out the comedone with significantly less effect on the surrounding skin.*

Lastly, an extraction in a professional setting will always be performed with sterile tools. Individuals who try to do this at home will keep these tools in a drawer and just rinse them off before use.* This is not enough!* To minimize chances of infection, we only use sterile acne extraction equipment for all of our clients.*

Full Face Extractions

Another benefit to professional acne extraction is that an Aesthetician can perform the procedure on the entire face.* Rather than focusing on just the areas where the pimples have already become inflamed, California Skin Institute Aestheticians can carefully examine the entire face and unclog pores that have dirt and sebum buildup.*

Such acne extractions are excellent preventative measures, because by removing the pore plug, the breakouts can be prevented in the first place.*

How Often Should You Get Extractions?

Every individual’s situation is unique, but the general rule is if you’re dealing with acne you may need several extraction sessions (possibly combined with other treatment options) to first help get your acne under control.* Once the breakout has been minimized, the extractions can be performed every few weeks as a preventative measure – to help remove pore plugs that may develop over time.*

If you’d like to learn more about acne extractions please visit our Aestheticians page here, or click the scheduling link below to set up a consultation!

*Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.