Extracting Blackheads

By: Paul Gibbons

Of all the types of acne teenagers and adults have to deal with, blackheads seem to be the most pesky and unsightly. Blackheads form when the hair follicle (or pore if you wish) becomes partially clogged. A pimple never forms so the dead skin remains lodged in the pore. Many people become irritated at the fact that these lesions don't respond to conventional acne treatments. So, they turn to drastic measures to remove them. While you will have to resort to more intrusive methods to eliminate blackheads, some precautions need to be taken to prevent skin irritation and to ensure that you don't introduce new bacteria to the surface of the skin. Below we will describe some tips to help you clear your skin of blackheads without causing unneeded damage.
The fact that our skin responds in various ways to hot and cold water is important in treating blackheads. When we apply cold water to our face, for instance, our pores contract becoming less visible. The exact opposite is achieved with hot water, which enlarges our pores. Since blackheads can become embedded pretty deeply within our skin, we need to utilize the help of hot water for an effective extraction. This is by no means a request for you to drench your face in boiling water. This will irritate your skin and may lead to burns. A better approach is to sit surrounded by shower steam for at least ten minutes. You can conduct your regular shower routine as you are doing this.
Once you have completely showered, it is time to get in front of a mirror. Before you can do any squeezing, you should take a quick glance at your nails. They can get in the way of the extraction process if they are too long. While they may provide for some more leverage, they can cause acne scarring, which is definitely something we want to avoid.
With your fingernails in good order, place your index fingers on either side of the blackhead. Begin applying equal amounts of pressure to both ends. The contaminants inside the pore should begin to rise above. Again, do not bring your nails into the mix! If the blackhead seems to remain stationary, keep applying gradual amounts of pressure. It should eventually budge. When all the contents of the hair follicle seem to be emptied, clean the contaminants off your skin. If any bleeding occurs, apply a clean tissue to the extraction site with some pressure.
If you performed the extraction correctly, the site of the extraction should heal within a day or two. You can remove more blackheads with this method as needed. Just be sure not to exaggerate and do too many on the same day. Listen to your skin. Do not use pore strips as they will irritate your skin and eventually cause more breakouts. If you do not feel comfortable performing these extractions yourself, an esthetician may prove to be a wise investment.

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