Image Management

Skin Blemishes: A Delicate Subject

BY: Judith Rasband • Jan 20, 2020

Pimples, zit, bumps or blemishes – call them what you will, but how to take care of them is a “closet” subject nobody really likes to discuss.  (I must agree, it’s not the most marvellous after-dinner topic).

Yes, in private and on paper, it is a question that comes up continually and one we all face now and again.

I’m talking about whiteheads, blackheads and redheads.  Each of these types of blemishes may be considered conditions of acne at various stages and can afflict anyone, from teens to senior citizens.

While you may have heard of read that you should not squeeze a blemish, many doctors agree that you cannot only can, but should squeeze.  The problem isn’t the squeeze itself, but how you squeeze.  The trick is to gently push clogged or infected material outward, not inward.

When done correctly, you can open an escape route for clogged material and bacteria.  Keep in mind that you squeeze only those blemishes that respond easily to the gentle pressure of your fingers or a commercial blackhead remover called a comedo extractor.

A comedo extractor is a short metal tool with a rounded, spoon-like extension on each end and a hole in the center of each extension, one smaller and one larger.  It can get into areas where fingers are just too large and awkward.

This medically approved instrument is available or can be ordered in many drugstores at a very reasonable price.

These products and procedures are not new and are exactly what cosmetologists in sleek salons or a dermatologist in his office would do for you.  But who can afford a salon or wants to run to the doctor every time a blackhead appears?

So at home and on your own, learn to care for yourself and teach everyone in your home to do the same.

Always clean your face and hands thoroughly before attempting to remove any clogged or infected material.  Clean the extractor and sterilize it with alcohol. Apply a moderately hot, wet washcloth to the area for about five minutes to soften the skin and clogged fatty material.  Then swab the area with alcohol.

Using a sterilized needle, first puncture a whitehead dead center to open an escape route for material trapped by a thin layer of skin. This step is not necessary for blackheads.  They are already open to the air.

Looking into a mirror, please the small-holed end of the extractor directly over the white or blackhead. Press quickly and firmly, just slightly to one side to release the clogged material.  It may take a couple of tries, so be patient.

A redhead should also be punctured with a sterilized needle first.  Looking into the mirror, place the large-holed end of the extractor directly over the pimple and press gently but firmly.

As matter is expelled from a blemish, wipe the area clean with alcohol on a cotton ball.  Then place the small end of the extractor over the opening and press to remove any clogged material that may remain.  Following these procedures, swab the area with alcohol and clean the extractor.

If you don’t have an extractor to work with, fingers will have to do but never use your nails.  The sometimes-frantic digging and squeezing with fingernails may introduce more bacteria into the area and can certainly damage the surrounding skin.

Starting with a clean face and clean hands, puncture a whitehead with a sterile needle as before.  Wrap your index fingers in a tissue and apply gentle pressure on either side of a white or blackhead.  Roll your fingers in an upward and outward motion.

To finger squeeze a redhead, use a sterilized needle and puncture the pimple on one side only.  With tissue wrapped fingers, squeeze the pimple from the opposite side.  You will know all pus has been removed when a drop of clear blood appears.

As before, swab the area clean with alcohol.  Avoid touching the area or using makeup on the area until completely healed.  And in the meantime, shop or send for an extractor.  It really works.

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