Blackhead Extractor - The Dermatology Review

Blackhead Extractor

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The Ins and Outs of Using a Blackhead Extractor

A blackhead extractor, also called a comedone extractor, is a special tool designed to remove the dirt and skin cell plugs that cause blackheads. A blackhead extractor tool is commonly used by dermatologists, or during facials, because it can remove toxins from the skin without causing significant damage. The tool is available through beauty stores or even in drug stores. However, it is important to learn how to use a blackhead extractor tool properly, because if used incorrectly, it can cause permanent skin damage and scarring.

Different Types of Blackhead Extractors

There are two main types of blackhead extractor tools, and each has a specific purpose. The first type of extractor has two heads. One side of the tool has a small spoon with a hole in the middle. The hole is small enough that it fits snuggly over the blackhead. As gentle pressure is applied to the area, the trapped sebum is pushed out and released from the skin.

On the other side of the extractor is a small, and very sharp, lancet that can be used to puncture a whitehead so that the sebum can be released. Lancets are sharp and can be very dangerous. It is important that only a competent skin care specialist use a lancet when working with blemishes or whiteheads.

The other type of blackhead extractor has a cupped end on one or both sides of the tool. Each spoon-like end is in a different size so that it can accommodate different sizes of blackheads. Sometimes, one end of the extractor may also be angled so that it can reach difficult areas like crevices of the outer ear or the side of the nose.

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How to Use a Blackhead Extractor

To get the best results from a blackhead extractor, it is important to fully cleanse the skin with warm water beforehand. This serves to expand the pores and loosen the trapped sebum. You can even steam your skin before a treatment to open pores and make them easier to clean. Once your face is clean, you can begin to use the blackhead extractor. Place the tool over the blackhead and press gently on one side, moving the tool across the affected area. The motion is very similar to spreading butter on bread.

After you perform the blackhead extraction, it is important that you cleanse your skin again so that the pores will not become infected. You should follow the cleansing with a quality facial toner and the best face moisturizer for your skin type.

After completing the extraction, wash the blackhead extractor in hot, soapy water in order to disinfect the tool.

Combine with a glycolic based exfoliator.  Take a look at Drunk Elephant, Glytone, Kate Somerville and Mario Badescu 

Warnings for Use of Blackhead Extractors

If you choose to use a blackhead extractor, you should never push too hard on a blackhead. Sometimes a blackhead can be stubborn or difficult to remove. If it does not become dislodged with gentle pressure, you should treat it with a topical acne cream such as salicylic acid. Pushing too hard on skin can damage skin cells, causing more problems than will be initially evident during the treatment.

Also, before you try to dislodge trapped sebum, make sure you are indeed working on a blackhead. Sebaceous filaments are small blackhead-like pores that cover the oilier areas of your skin. They are not the product of infection. Sebaceous filaments tend to have a tan or gray tone rather than the dark black center of a blackhead. They are also normally smaller than a blackhead. By trying to extract sebaceous filaments, you can cause further infection on your skin.

When used correctly, a blackhead extractor can serve to remove trapped sebum from the skin. Your dermatologist or skin care specialist can help you learn to properly use a blackhead extractor so that you do not damage your skin.

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