While a stellar at-home skincare routine is a start, deep pore cleansing (more commonly known as facial extraction) is a major key in tackling breakouts - particularly blackheads - that pop up more frequently than we’d all like. Below, we shed some light on all things extractions plus what you can *safely* handle at home.
Blackheads Vs. Whiteheads, Can Both Be Extracted?
The shortest and most straightforward answer is no. When performing facial extractions, our Skin Therapists (aka estheticians) specifically focus on blackheads for a few important reasons. Blackheads are technically called open comedones, which simply means the comedone has a wide (but clogged) opening to the skin. The buildup that sits closest to the surface gets exposed to oxygen, so it turns dark brown or black, thus the beloved title of blackhead. Extracting them is the process of nudging the gunk out—it doesn’t involve ‘breaking’ the surface of the skin.
Whiteheads, aka pustules, are closed, inflamed blemishes that contain a mixture of oil, dead skin cells, debris, and bacteria. Extracting a whitehead runs the risk of infection and scarring, so we opt for a spot treatment, exfoliating peel, or LED light therapy to speed up healing during facials. In order to maintain your skin’s integrity and health, it’s rare that whiteheads or cystic acne bumps will be disturbed.
Easy Does It
Extractions get a bad rap because most people assume that they “hurt”—which doesn’t always have to be the case. At Heyday, our Skin Therapists rely on double cleansing followed by facial massage to assist in gently loosening stubborn blackheads instead of steam machines, which tend to dehydrate skin. Facial massage floods the skin with moisture, all while safely prepping pores for extractions.
We don’t use tools, because excessive force can cause everything from scars to hyperpigmentation. Bare hands and fingernails often carry bacteria too, so our therapists always wear gloves to avoid unwanted infections and irritation.
The benefits of facial extractions include an even, clear complexion, less congestion, better product absorption and efficacy, and less breakouts in the future.
Our extraction technique has benefits beyond removing congestion, and will also stimulate stagnant lymph to get you glowing.
Well, what can I do?
In between facial visits, it’s extremely important to maintain a consistent skincare routine that incorporates cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliation. Here’s why: Blackheads thrive because all of that “gunk” has time to build up, settle into the skin, and stick to your skin’s natural oils. Daily cleansing helps combat surface grime, excess dirt, and of course, makeup.
Moisturizing (even areas where you get blackheads) is equally as important because dehydrated skin makes extractions harder to execute. And, likely in turn more painful because your Skin Therapist has to work even harder to get to them. Think of it like this: Trying to remove a blackhead out of dry skin is like digging a plant out from dry soil – everything just crumbles. To pull a plant out of the ground cleanly, you need to first moisten the soil. Make sense?
Finally, exfoliation (inclusive of peels) also effectively helps remove dead skin cell buildup that ultimately traps debris in your pores. One to three times per week is all you need (don’t get overzealous here) to help with cell turnover, while sending gunk along on its merry way.
Products To Reduce Blackheads At Home
This Acne-Banishing Cleanser
A powerful mix of salicylic acid, colloidal silver, and cranberry extract work together to clear current breakouts and prevent future ones from happening.
This Gentle, Exfoliating Peel
Take the guesswork out of using an at-home peel with these easy-to-use pads. Simply swipe on thoroughly cleansed skin, and wait 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing.
This Lightweight Moisturizer
Happy skin requires hydration—oily and acneic skin types are no exception. It may seem counterintuitive to add more moisture, but this milky formula includes skin-loving ingredients (aloe, sodium hyaluronate, and mung bean extract) to protect and soothe without clogging pores.
The Bottom Line?
As tempting as it is to pick at your skin and pop budding blemishes, keep those hands to yourself. Yes, facial extractions are a tool at our disposal, but for the benefit (and health) of your skin, leave it to the professionals, pretty please!
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering going off of the birth control pill; maybe you’ve already begun the process. You’ll want to ...
A Q&A with AbsoluteJOI founder, Dr. Anne Beal