Is there a safe way to extract a pimple at home?
I am not one of these people who thinks that you should never extract a pimple, especially if it is ready. In my skin care practice, several of my clients refer to me as the “extraction queen.” I have been asked about proper procedure for home extractions by many people, so I decided to put it up for all to see.
Extracting pimples is much different than picking them! Picking often causes scars and infers the use of fingernails and dirty fingers ripping off the top skin cell layer of a pimple, and can take place on the bus, in the office, or anywhere where your hands are searching for something to do. Extractions are done in a sanitary environment using sterile or at least highly sanitary practices.
Aside from letting your pimple heal on its own or, when ready, extracting it, the only thing you can do is use cover up. Mineral powder concealers are great since the pure mineral products cannot harbor bacteria. If a pimple has been there for a while, sometimes the only thing that will work is to get it out so it can then heal. Sometimes this means that it will get a little more red before it gets better, but not much and usually only for a couple of hours.
If a pimple is ripe for extraction (if you can see puss under the skin or if you have a large blackhead), here are the steps to take:
1. If your index fingernails are long, trim them so that they will not poke against your skin while doing this procedure. If you are unwilling to trim them, please do not proceed.
2. Cleanse your skin and follow with non-alcoholic toning lotion.
3. With super clean hands, take a cotton round and tear in in half as if it were a mayonnaise sandwich and you were pealing the pieces of bread apart. Now you will have two thin cotton rounds.
4. Apply a medium hot (not scorching) compress to the area for about ten seconds.
5. Moderately soak the cotton with non-alcoholic toner.
6. Wrap your index fingers in the cotton.
7. Place your fingers on either side of the pimple and gently squeeze. If nothing comes out the first time and you are sure it’s ready repeat from step 4.
8. If nothing comes out still, discontinue and try again in about 12 hours.
9. If you see results (puss or white/blackhead coming out), it’s okay if there is a bit of blood that follows. This means that the infection is flushing out.
10. If you see blood, apply a Q-Tip with alcohol to the spot. Do not use alcohol all over your face as this will trick your skin into thinking it needs to produce more oil which equals more pimples for some people.
11. Use a good clay mask after extractions that contains soothing ingredients like azulene and chamomile. The Pevonia Skin Care Sensitive Skin Mask is excellent for soothing red, irritated, problem skin. For full on acne, you could use the Pevonia Purifying Skin Mask.
12. After the mask, tone your entire face and apply your moisturizer.
13. Now, do not touch your face or area again until it is time to cleanse again, like the next morning.
14. Make sure you use fresh pillow cases often to avoid excess bacteria.
There are comedone extractors out there, but they are difficult to use in a mirror and are for blackheads. Improper use can lead to scarring. Leave these for estheticians to use. If you have acne or more than a few pimples, make some calls to some skin care clinics and ask if the estheticians are trained and comfortable doing extractions. Much to my own amazement, many estheticians refuse to do extractions. This reduces most facial treatments for blemished skin to nothing more than fluff, in my opinion.
I hope this helps. You might want to print this out so you can follow the steps and have a reference. Once you learn the steps it becomes second nature.