Why You Should Think Twice Before Extracting Your Own Blackheads

Everyone deals with blackheads. Even celebs like Cardi B need help with them. It’s tempting to try to extract that blackhead when you see it pop up on your nose or chin. Perhaps you have an extraction tool, or maybe you just grab a bobby pin. However, you should think twice about removing them yourself the next time you see one of the dreaded blemishes. Doing so risks causing long-term skin damage like permanent scarring and dark spots (via Garnier). 

The List spoke with Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, top NYC Dermatologist and empowerment leader, and he gave us the lowdown on all things blackhead-related. “We all get blackheads. It’s basically the cost of living. They are a downer — I totally get it, and the temptation to self-treat them is real,” Dr. Mudgil noted. However, Mudgil explained that there are several reasons why you shouldn’t attempt to extract blackheads yourself because it can cause many unintended consequences. Ultimately, he believes that you should leave the delicate procedure to the professionals to avoid some potentially severe skin issues.

The downsides to extracting blackheads yourself will surprise you

Dr. Mudgil cautioned that attempting your own blackhead removal could leave your pores enlarged, which is the opposite of what you likely want when removing the dark oily plug. “You can actually make your pores larger by manipulating your skin the wrong way, which is the exact opposite outcome you’d hope to get when treating blackheads!” the doctor cautioned. Another problem you may encounter is an unwanted dark spot. “You can cause long lasting hyperpigmentation, particularly in folks with darker complexions. The hyperpigmentation can be more of an eyesore and bummer than the original blackheads,” said Mudgil. 

Unfortunately, removing your own blackheads could cause inflammation and infection, which could worsen your acne. “Manipulating blackheads in an effort to remove them can inflame/irritate your skin, which can lead to more acne!” warned the doctor. “You can cause an infection, particularly if the skin is not prepped properly or instruments are not sterilized properly.”

Finally, instead of removing the debris from your pores, you could end up pushing it deeper, which could lead to scarring. “You can permanently scar your skin, particularly if you’re using those instruments you purchased on Amazon incorrectly,” Mudgil said.

Here's why professionals are the best for blackhead removal

When you go to a professional to get your blackheads extracted, she or he uses properly sterilized instruments and knows precisely how to prepare your skin for the removal process. “As you can see, blackhead management is best left to the professionals! You can do a lot more damage than good when taking matters into your own hands,” said Dr. Mudgil.

In addition to avoiding the pitfalls of attempting to extract blackheads yourself, you can also get information on preventing blemishes altogether, so you have fewer of them in the future. “Fortunately, the pros (like me) have lots of tricks up our sleeves, both to treat your blackheads and to prevent them,” encouraged the doctor.

It is frustrating to see blackheads, especially on your face. While it may seem easy to prod the clogged pore yourself, it could leave you with lasting problems and make your skin worse. To avoid regret and potential damage to your skin, make an appointment with a trusted pro.

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