When it comes to the skin advice beauty pros preach the most, "Don't pick at your skin" is right up there with "wear sunscreen every day" and "drink lots of water." But despite the experts' best efforts, a lot of people still pick at their own zits from time to time. And although you should leave your extractions in the hands of a professional to prevent scarring and infection, it isn't realistic for most of us to make an appointment with a dermatologist every time a pimple pops up.
So what should you do? If you're dealing with pimples without whiteheads (called papules if they're small, and cysts if they're big and deep), esthetician Renée Rouleau says to leave them alone and try other methods to get rid of them instead. But, she says, if you're dealing with a pustule and the whitehead is clearly visible (and only when it is visible!), you it's OK to rid the pimple of the infection. Here's how to do it in four easy steps:
1. Prep the skin. It's best to try this before bed to give your skin time to heal overnight. First, remove all makeup and wash your face to cleanse the area. Then, lightly press a warm (not hot), damp washcloth on top of the area for two minutes to soften the skin.
2. Pierce the skin. Use a lancet, a tool used to pierce the skin, to create a clean opening down the center of the blemish.
3. Wrap your fingers, and press. First, cover the tips of your two pointer fingers with clean tissue. Then place them along the sides of the pimple, and gently squeeze and press unless the infection is released. Renée says little bit of blood and clear liquid is normal and to be expected. If you're struggling to remove the whitehead after three tries, it's not ready! Renée says to stop, and try again the next day.
4. Apply a spot treatment overnight. Once the whitehead has been extracted, apply a spot treatment to eradicate any additional infection inside the follicle.
And that's all there is to it. If you're gonna do it, at least do it right.
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