Tools of the Acne-popping Trade

In the office I sometimes pull out a comedone extractor to remove stubborn comedones on my patients. They eye the tool and ask “where can I get that?” I am not afraid to share my sources, but I do have a few words of caution when taking a tool to your face…

It works best on open comedones (black heads). It’s not that it won’t work on other types of pimples, but it can cause more inflammation and scarring if you get too creative.

Do you have an autoclave? That’s the special sterilizing equipment we have in the office. Chances are that you don’t have one handy, so you have to take care to keep your instrument clean. Soak the extractor in isopropyl alcohol prior to each use. Also, make sure to wash your hands before extractions.

Be gentle! Place the “loop” of the extractor around the blackhead and apply gentle pressure. If you get too aggressive you will cause inflammation that can lead to more breakouts. Yes! Too much muckin’ around on your face can lead to more’s true.

Clean up. If your skin can tolerate a mild astringent, you can finish up with that. A cool water and gentle soap rinse will work too.

Know your limits. Broken record yet? If something is not easily extracted it’s probably not appropriate for bathroom mirror surgery…take it to a professional.

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