When I ask if someone would like extractions in their facial, sometimes my clients ask, “Is that when you pick my skin?” Proper extractions are not quite the same thing as picking. Extractions are the gentle removal of clogs and blackheads. When I do extractions, I do many things beforehand to prime the skin and soften the clogs, so that I can get as much debris out of the pore as possible while causing minimal damage to the surrounding skin. It’s not just about popping a whitehead and hoping for the best. And, from years of experience, I generally know whether a clog is ready to come out or if it needs a little help from some products at home.
Estheticians who do not believe in extractions generally argue that extractions damage the surround tissue and that the skin should be allowed to function on its own. I am in favor of extractions, because I believe that the skin’s functions naturally lead to clogs, and that it needs help moving them along. I also believe that good preparation and careful extractions do not have to cause damage to the surrounding skin.
So do you really need them in a facial? I say yes.
- A clog in the skin is one step closer to a blemish. All acne starts with a clog that then becomes infected with bacteria. So if you are concerned about acne (and who isn’t?), you certainly want to remove clogs that make it more likely for you to break out.
- Glowing skin is even toned. If you are trying to get your best glow going, you don’t need blackheads marring an otherwise clear surface.
- Pores, like trash bags, stretch when there is something inside of them. Having a blackhead makes the pore appear larger. Cleaning the pores out allows them to shrink to their original size.
- Blackheads and clogs can cause an uneven texture. Skin that glows is smooth, so extractions get us closer to that goal.
The worst part about extractions is, yes, they can be uncomfortable. Clogs have a tendency to accumulate in sensitive areas, like the folds of the nose. It often takes some directed pressure to get the pore fully cleared, and it’s not always enjoyable. And even good extractions may leave your skin pink in some areas. But they should not be torturous. You should find an esthetician who will work with you on your pain tolerance and desired level of extractions. I like to check in with my clients to see where they are at. Some days you may be more sensitive than others or have a lower pain tolerance. You might have an important event and we should be less aggressive. I always try to work within my clients’ limits. Extractions may be uncomfortable, but they should not ruin the entire experience.
Facials are great because, as an esthetician, I can do lots of things to get your skin radiant. Extractions are just one part, but they are a big part of that process. Even if it’s not your favorite time in the facial, try not to skip the extractions. And remember you can help your esthetician out! Using products at home that help to minimize blackheads can make a huge difference in the ease of the extractions. And of course, when you get extractions regularly, it becomes easier each time. So it helps to be consistent!