Blackheads are a form of acne that causes black dots the size of pinheads to develop on the face. This occurrence is often the first incidence of acne. Blackheads can be extracted to remove the built-up dirt and oils that can cause blackheads to occur. Whether by simply using your own hands or using a blackhead extractor tool, blackhead extraction must be performed carefully to prevent the development of acne scars.
Blackheads typically begin when you start puberty. During this time, hormones in the body stimulate excess production of oil in the skin's pores. When your body produces too much oil, this oil can clog the pores and develop into a ball of oil that gets pushed toward the skin's surface. When the oil is exposed to the air, this causes the oil to turn black, resulting in a blackhead.
Different types of tools have been created to facilitate blackhead extraction. These include blackhead extractors, which are slightly smaller than a pencil and made of metal. There are several different types of extractors, such as a metal loop extractors, which have a stainless steel loop on both ends and can be pressed over a blackhead to build pressure around the pore, causing the blackhead to be pushed out. Another type is a blackhead extractor with a lancet. This features a sharp end that can be used to pick at the blackhead, creating more area for the blackhead to eject. The other end has an extractor loop that is pressed over the blackhead for the blackhead to pop out.
Both tools are recommended for use by professionals because of their potential to damage the skin. However, another blackhead removal tool--blackhead remover strips--can be applied to the face without a professional's supervision. These strips bind to the skin's surface, pulling out blackheads from the pores.
In addition to extraction tools, blackheads can be extracted by the simple method of using the hands and a tissue or cloth. The Acne Talks website recommends this routine for removing blackheads. You begin with a scrub to loosen blackheads on the face. Wash the face with soap and warm water. This will rid the face of harmful bacteria. Gently towel the face off; take two fingers on either side of the blackhead and push down. If the blackhead does not come out after several attempts, do not continue attempting to extract the blackhead because this can cause scarring.
While blackhead extraction is effective at removing the pesky blackheads, there is an opportunity to harm the skin, either by causing scarring, irritation or breaking capillaries. One way this can be avoided is not to squeeze the blackhead but to place pressure around the blackhead, which causes the blackhead to come out. If you experience these side effects as a result of your extraction attempts, you may wish to consult a skin care professional, such as a dermatologist or an aesthetician, to ensure you are extracting your blackheads properly.
Other methods to experience blackhead extraction success include steaming the skin for a few minutes before attempting to remove the blackhead. This involves placing the face over a steaming bowl of water, which encourages the pores to open. Additionally, you should always sterilize any blackhead extraction materials--including your fingers--before removing a blackhead.
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