If you are acne prone then I'm sure you are quite familiar with blackheads. Extracting them is a typical step during a professional facial. However, if done properly you can safely do it yourself.
You may be saying, "what do you mean by extracting?" Extracting is just a fancy word for manually unclogging the pores.
The start of a pimple begins deep down in the pore where oil and skin cells collect forming a plug. These plugs can be sticky and embedded in the pore so much so that simple cleansing is not enough. This is where manual extractions come in.
Here's what you will need:
tissue or gauze pads
While showering, cleanse your face and neck with a good cleanser preferably one that contains sulfur or salicylic or alpha hydroxy acid to unclog the pores and thoroughly wash away dirt and surface oil. The steam from the shower will help soften the skin and make extractions easier.
Pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Using either your two index fingers or your two middle fingers, wrap them with tissue or gauze pads.
While looking into your mirror, assess your skin and look for any obvious blackheads where the head is clearly visible.
You’re going to be using the sides of either your index fingers or middle fingers to apply gentle rolling pressure. Never use your nails!
With the sides of your fingers on both sides of the blackhead(not too close, be sure to widen a bit), apply a gentle, rolling pressure almost like you are scooping the plug out from the skin. Start with the 9 and 3 position. And repeat using different positions so you don't bruise the skin. Do 12 and 3 and 10 and 2. If nothing comes out after 3 tries, then the area is not ready and should be left alone.
Do not keep picking or squeezing!
Once you are done with the extractions, apply your toner to your entire face and neck and continue with the next steps in your skin care regimen.
It is best to do extractions before bed because you will experience some redness and swelling. This is normal and will subside while you sleep.
Manual extractions can be performed every 3-4 weeks depending on how congested your skin is. If you are using an effective skin care regimen the amount of extractions should lessen over time.
I'd love to hear your comments below!
Tasha Nelson is a registered nurse who works the night shift at a large midwest hospital. She is also a skin care and wellness enthusiast who firmly believes in the importance of taking care of yourself. Nurses spend the majority of their time serving others but often put themselves on the "back burner". It is possible to be a night shift nurse and feel good and look great!
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