A lot has been said about certain devices called “Comedone extractor” on this site. However despite their difficult to pronounce name, there is nothing mysterious about these handy tools.
First of all, what are Comedones?
From Wikipedia we learn quickly that a comedone is a kind of a catch-all name for a clogged up pore.
As we can see from the picture, a clogged pore can turn either into a whitehead or a blackhead. In a sense, both blackheads and whiteheads start out the same way! Therefore the scientific name for both these starting situations is called “Comedone”.
So we understand that a blackhead, or a whitehead, is just a more specified version of a Comedone. Essentially they are the same thing.
The only way a black- or a whitehead differ from each other is how the pore evolves after being clogged.
If a comedone stays open, i.e. the skin does not grow over the pore, the sebum stuck in the pore has a chance to oxidize and turn black. Hence the name blackhead!
If a comedone grows over on the other hand, the sebum stuck in the pore does not oxidize as it is not in contact with air. As a result the sebum does not oxidize and remains white. Resulting in a single pimple on your skin.
We can now use a comedone extractor in an effort to get rid of either black- or whiteheads from your skin.
How to use a comedone extractor?
By far the most used tools are the ones pictured above. A lot of people however are hesitant to use them. I believe there isn’t any reason available to be scared of these tools as long as you use common sense.
If you have to apply an extreme amount of pressure on your comedone extractor, it might make more sense to go see a professional to get rid of your blemishes. Too much pressure on your skin using a sharp tool as this might leave your skin prone to scars.
However if you feel that they come out relatively easily, there isn’t any harm in using these. Anyone who has been to a dermatologist knows full well the pressure that they have put on these tools to get your gunk out!
Making it easier on yourself
In an effort to make the whole process more enjoyable there are a few steps you can take. Your skin reacts extremely well to changes in temperature. Your pores for example have a tendency to “loosen up” (note not open!) under the influence of warm temperatures.
Steam in particular. That is why before a facial a lot of dermatologists and beauticians will use a facial steamer to loosen up your skin. That way when pressure is applied, the sebum stuck in your pores will come out more easily. As a result less pressure is required, saving your skin and your mental health at the same time!
Using a comedone extractor
As we can see in the video above, the right tool needs to be selected for the job at hand. Your hands, are NOT the right tool for this job. Hands are one of the most dirty parts of your body. You really should wash them more often, however very few of us ever do.
Therefore if you do decide to use your hands, use gloves when touching your skin. Or then, be smart and use a comedone extractor!
In the picture above a kit persisting of 5 tools are pictured. These include a lancet tool, used for popping whiteheads before extraction, and comedone extractor tools to fit a variety of comedone sizes.
As seen in the video the way to use these are relatively simple. Place the right sized loop over the right sized comedone, then use a sweeping motion to apply pressure to the comedone. If all went well, you might even hear a small pop, after which the sebum pops out of the pore.
Alternative comedone extractors
My personal favorite tools to treat skin are so called microdermabrasion devices.
For example this Trophy Skin MiniMD Handheld Microdermabrasion Device is just such a tool. Not only does it work as a comedone extractor, it also offers some exfoliation of the skin.
The diamond tip at the top of this device gently exfoliates, making comedone extraction as easy as pie.
You do not need to apply as much pressure as with the comedone extractor tool, as this device, after exfoliating, also sucks the blackheads out from your skin.
The MiniMD features: (1) TWO levels of vacuum suction, (2) 100% crystal free professional diamond exfoliating tip, and (3) a simple operation that is easy for beginners. Product comes with a diamond tip, 30 pack of black wool filters, user manual, 100-240V power adaptor, and a 6 month manufacturer warranty.