A comedone extractor is a useful little device that can be used by dermatologists or at home for the removal of blackheads and whiteheads. Many people are worried about how to use a comedone extractor at home, but it’s actually quite easy, safe, and hygienic. It’s important not to neglect your skin’s basic hygiene and if you frequently get breakouts of blackheads of whiteheads, it’s better to invest in a comedone extractor rather than using your fingers. Here is a quick overview of this common skincare tool and some tips on how to use a comedone extractor.
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What is a comedone extractor?
Comedone extractors are also known as blackhead extractors or even “pimple poppers”. It’s essentially a metal rod, about four inches long, with a small wire loop on each end. The two loops are different sizes, one is small and thin and the other is long and thick. These loops are designed to fit neatly around the opening of the pore at the centre of the blackhead or whitehead. By pressing gently you will be able to use the comedone extractor to “pop” the blackhead or whitehead.
Some comedone extractors also have a sharp point at one end which can be used to make a tiny opening in particularly stubborn blackheads. These types are often used by dermatologists, and it’s necessary to be very careful when piercing your skin at home. Having said that, a comedone extractor is easy to use and is considered one of the most preferred home-based solutions for removing blackheads.
What causes blackheads?
Blackheads form on your pores and are mostly a combination of dirt, dust, pollution, and your skin’s natural lubricant, known as sebum. These can plug or clog your pores. This will then form a little bump or a “comedo”. The reason blackheads are black is that the skin over the bump opens and it gets exposed to air. Blackheads are a common skin ailment and aren’t usually a sign of any underlying condition. It is, however, important to care for your skin to prevent your pores from getting blocked.
Unfortunately, some people are more naturally prone to blackheads than others, but there are certain factors that can increase your chances of getting blackheads. Dead skin cells and oils collect in your hair follicle, and the surrounding pores, meaning that producing too much body oil can cause blackheads. Sometimes these hair follicles get irritated when dead skin cells don’t shed regularly. Hormonal changes are also a common cause of blackheads so often people experience breakouts during adolescence, menstruation, or from taking birth control pills.
There’s no real evidence that what you eat and drink can cause blackheads, but certain drugs have been connected to them including androgens, lithium, and corticosteroids. Blackheads aren’t generally painful but finding a hygienic way to remove them will help to reduce any redness, swelling, or irritation. Not to mention, the aesthetic reasons for getting rid of blackheads to achieve clearer, healthier-looking skin.
What are whiteheads?
Whiteheads actually have similar causes to blackheads and are also the result of blocked pores. The main difference is that the skin over the comedo bump stays closed and they’re white or yellowish in colour. Whiteheads are sorer to the touch than blackheads and can cause more redness, irritation, and swelling. They are the more classic type of pimple and also occur due to hormonal changes, and sometimes as a type of friction rash.
It depends on the person. Some people are more prone to blackheads and others to whiteheads, and some even both. Although they may be irritating, whiteheads can also be removed safely and carefully using a comedone extractor. Whiteheads tend to be larger so need the larger loop, whereas the smaller loop on the other end is more typically used for blackheads.
How to use a comedone extractor
So, here’s the important part, how to use a comedone extractor at home. The whole process is very simple and will only take minutes to do. We can break this down into six easy steps.
- Wash your hands before you begin
Before you use a comedone extractor, it’s essential to ensure that your hands properly sanitised. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. A great time to use your pimple popper is after having a shower.
- Disinfect your blackhead remover tool
You should disinfect your comedone extractor before every time you use it to ensure there is no dirt or bacteria on it. You can either clean it with alcohol, or wash it in hot soapy water, but the best way to submerge is in hot water with added disinfectant.
- Thoroughly clean the area
Now that your tools are ready you also need to thoroughly clean the area, whether it’s your face or another part of your body that has blackheads or whiteheads. If you’ve had a shower the warm water and steam will help to open up your pores aiding the release of oil and various sediments. Washing will also remove any dirt, oil, and bacteria on your skin. If you’d rather not have a shower you can also try washing the area with warm water and holding a warm cloth to it for a few seconds. This will also help to open up your pores. Washing the area beforehand with warm or hot water will soften and loosen the skin making the extraction process much easier.
- Gently extract the blackhead/whitehead
Place the appropriately sized loop over the blackhead or whitehead and push gently on one side of it to ease the plug out. It’s important to do this carefully and not push too hard, especially with blackheads on your face. The skin on your face is sensitive and tender so make sure you don’t cut or scratch it while using a comedone extractor. It’s normal to feel a little pinch as you extract the plug, but it should be a pretty much painless procedure.
Ease any pus or oil out gently. If nothing comes out immediately wait and let it rest, don’t force it. If it starts to bleed stop pressing with the comedone extractor, this means that either the plug has already come out, or that the spot wasn’t quite ready to be popped. You might see a small mark around the area after pressing with the comedone extractor but this will disappear quickly. Don’t worry if you can’t pop the pimple, you can try again another day.
- Wash your face again
Dab away any fluid or pus that came out of the popped spot gently with a tissue. You can then wash the area again with warm soapy water. After washing, splash the area with cold water, this is especially nice and refreshing on your face. Splashing with cold water will also help to shrink the pores afterward. Pat yourself down with a clean towel to dry.
- Apply any creams or moisturiser (with caution)
If you normally use toners, moisturisers, or ointments you are now free to do so. Check on the label if these are suitable to use on broken skin or after popping spots and blackheads. Moisturiser is good to use after extracting spots and washing your face because it helps to reduce any redness or inflammation. Use the moisturiser that you’re used to and if you have sensitive skin, use one that doesn’t normally provoke any kind of reaction. Toner and moisturiser help to lock your pores after washing and will make your skin stay soft and supple.
There you have it, in a few quick steps, you can safely and hygienically use your comedone extractor at home, and will immediately be able to see the effects. Your skin should look and feel fresher. Once you get the hang of this, you’ll be able to extract any blackheads or whiteheads with ease, and you’ll get used to knowing when is the right time to do it.
How to clean your comedone extractor
Using a comedone extractor is more hygienic than other methods of removing blackheads and whiteheads but you need to clean it before and after every use. Wash it in warm soapy water, or better yet, disinfectant, to ensure that there is no dirt or bacteria on it. The best way to do this is by submerging your blackhead remover into hot water with disinfectant. If you don’t have any disinfectant, you can also use alcohol. Wipe your comedone extractor thoroughly and ensure all the alcohol has evaporated before using it. After washing, ensure you leave it on a disinfected surface to dry out completely before using or before you put it away. With proper care, you can use your comedone extractor multiple times.
What are the benefits of using a comedone extractor?
Using a comedone extractor is the easiest and most hygienic way to get rid of pimples. Many people are tempted to use their fingers but a comedone extractor is cleaner and will reduce the risk of infection. As long as you keep them clean, they are hygienic to use and cause minimal damage to even sensitive skin.
Comedone extractors are also a more economical option than other alternatives for blackhead removal. Pore strips, for example, tend to be one-use only whereas you can use a blackhead extractor as many times as you like, making it a more long-term solution.
Professional dermatologists also use comedone extractors as an effective treatment for blackheads and whiteheads. The procedure is quick and pretty much pain-free and often won’t have any side effects as it’s very hygienic, gentle, and non-invasive. Professional extractions are recommended for more severe cases.
How can you prevent blackheads and spots?
Often blackheads and pimples are often caused by your hormones or even stress so, unfortunately, some people are more prone to these at certain times. There are a few things you do, however, to try to prevent breakouts.
Wash regularly. To remove oil build-up or makeup, wash your face in the morning when you get up and once before bed. You shouldn’t wash more than this as it may cause irritation and dryness. Your skin needs to keep some of the natural oils it produces. You could also look into getting an antibacterial cleanser, specifically designed for acne or blackheads.
Opt for oil-free skincare products. You can check the label on things like makeup, lotions, and sunscreens. Oily or greasy products or excessive use of these can also lead to a build-up of oil causing new blackheads. You don’t want to make the problem worse! The best thing to do is find the best products for you that don’t cause a negative or allergic reaction in your skin.
Exfoliating products such as scrubs and face masks are also useful for removing dead skin cells that might clog up your pores. Use these once or twice a week, and this might help reduce blackheads. Again it’s important to choose products that don’t irritate your skin in any way.
If the problem is persistent, speak to a GP or dermatologist for help and advice. They’ll be able to suggest the most suitable treatment for you and help you with any harder to extract blackheads or more severe cases. They might also be able to get to the root of the problem and offer the best solution accordingly.
Blackheads and whiteheads can be annoying but they are treatable. The comedone extractor is just one of the ways you can get rid of these unsightly blocked pores and achieve clearer, fresher, and more glowing skin. There are plenty of great blackhead extractors on the market that won’t break the bank and with multiple features. They’re economical, and not to mention an environmentally-friendly addition to your skincare collection. If you’re getting irritated by your blackheads and spots, why not invest in one today? You’ve already learned how to use a comedone extractor so there’s no need to wait for healthier-looking skin.
If you would like to learn more about how to use a comedone extractor and other useful skincare tips, check out our blog.