Blackheads and whiteheads are commonly thought to be caused by dirt, sweat, and poor hygiene — but that's just a myth! The real cause of these "comedones" is clogged pores from excessive sebum (oil) production in the skin. When it touches the oxygen in the air, the comedo "oxidizes," turning it the black color from which we get the term "blackhead." Trying to pop comedones by hand can leave unwanted scars on your skin. But safe use of a comedo extractor will help you achieve clear skin without any blemishes or bleeding.
Preparing Your Skin
1. Wash your face. You want to work with clean skin, so remove any makeup or other products that may be on your face. Gently pat the skin dry, taking care not to irritate it by rubbing with a towel.
2. Bring water to a boil over a stove. Comedones are easier to remove when your pores are nice and wide. A little steam facial will not only open your pores up to prepare for extraction, but it will also put you in a nice, relaxed mood!
3. Place a towel over your head. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, find a towel you can drape over your head during the steaming process. The towel will trap the steam and keep it from escaping, improving the effects of your steam facial.
4. Bring your face close to the steam. When the boiling water is producing enough steam, remove it from its heat source.
Using the Comedo Extractor
1. Sanitize the extractor. When you work with the comedo extractor, there will be a small opening in your skin where the blackhead or whitehead comes out. If you’re not working with sterile tools, you may introduce bacteria into your skin, making the outbreak you’re trying to treat even worse! To sterilize the comedo extractor, simply soak it in rubbing alcohol for one minute.
2. Position the extractor properly. The extractor will have a loop on one end of it. Position the loop around the whitehead or blackhead you are trying to extract.
3. Press down gently but firmly.
4. Re-sanitize the extractor before using it again.
5. Protect your opened pores.