We know, the struggle is real. When faced with a large, ripe pimple right smack in the middle of your once-flawless face, the temptation to touch it, pick at it and pop it is very great. But hold your horses — is popping your zit the way to go or is it doing more harm than good?
Even Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hands Are Tied
Wait, what? The extraction we are talking about isn’t of the kind the movie Inception was espousing. We are talking about the act of removing comedones, with or without the help of sterile instruments. If you are no stranger to getting regular facials, then you know that this is a commonly performed procedure by a lot of beauticians and aestheticians.
You may even have done this yourself at home before, without realising what you were doing was essentially ‘extraction’. Before you consider extracting your acne though, do you know what types of acne are most suited for this technique? Should you even be doing it yourself (DIY)?
Blackheads or Open Comedones
Blackheads (open comedones) are tiny bumps that look dark at the top. Experts agree that blackheads, together with whiteheads, are the types of acne most effectively and safely removed by extraction. The presence of both blackheads and whiteheads usually causes the skin to look bumpy and rough.
Whiteheads or Closed Comedones
Whiteheads (closed comedones) are tiny white bumps that tend to occur in clusters. Usually, extraction is attempted when other treatment modalities like oral or topical medications have not been effective at clearing out these clogged pores. The reason is because it is easier to prevent new clogged pores than to clear old clogged pores of sebum and dead skin cells, which are better expelled by extraction.
To DIY, or Not To DIY, That’s the Question
Regular facial goers will attest to their skin looking red, blotchy and perhaps even swollen after an extraction session. If your skin already has such a reaction to a professional performing this procedure, what more when you try to do it yourself, especially since you probably do not have the right sterile tools and techniques to perform it safely?
Getting Your Hands Dirty?
When you do attempt to pop a zit on your own, you could unwittingly risk pushing the contents of your clogged pore deeper into your skin. If you are not careful, you may also be introducing more bacteria into your already-inflamed pores through unclean hands. Lastly, you run a greater risk of scarring, when you do this without any professional help. Do you really want to worsen your acne and scarring, just for the instant gratification of removing that zit?
Why Seeking A Professional Works
Extraction is not usually performed to remove inflamed pimples, especially those deeper in the skin like nodules and cysts, as this will very likely cause too much damage to the skin. Other treatment methods are usually recommended for these types of acne, like oral antibiotics, retinoids or laser treatments. However, some dermatologists are equipped with the necessary tools and techniques to extract acne lesions like papules and pustules.
How Extraction is Properly Performed
Dermatologists will tell you that extraction, when performed correctly, is perfectly safe and can actually help to clear up your stubborn comedones, while preventing new clogged pores, if you take the proper precautions and use the right skincare products.
They will also tell you that this procedure is best left to the professionals, because there are a number of important factors that will help you prevent the impending nightmare of acne scars, further inflammation or infection, and worsening acne.
- Sterile tools are a must to prevent introducing bacteria into pores and infecting them.
- Applying the correct amount of pressure is integral to prevent undue skin damage.
- Correct identification of acne types and clusters is important to minimise skin damage and bruising.
- Specialised tools are required for the extraction of pimples, rather than comedones.
Ingredients in Acne Treatments to Soothe Skin
At Geo Aesthetics, these are some of the key ingredients used in the professional methods to soothe skin that has undergone extraction, refine pores and prevent future acne.
Thyme is a powerful ingredient harnessed in acne treatments to kill acne bacteria due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to control sebum production in skin, effectively rebalancing the skin and refining large skin pores, which normally come with the territory of acne-prone skin.
You know how you get that refreshed feeling when you drink mint tea or eat mint-flavoured ice-cream? Well, menthol extract helps to refine and tighten pores gently, thanks to this cooling and refreshing sensation when applied to skin. It has even been noted that menthol can help improve problem skin.
This ingredient is well-known in many skincare products to be a non-oily emollient that helps soften and moisturise skin, and is beneficial in calming itchy, irritated skin due to dryness.
Allantoin is another popular skincare ingredient that is derived from comfrey. It is a beneficial protein that eases skin inflammation by promoting skin repair and renewal, and also acts as an anti-irritant, especially if you have sensitive skin.