Advertisement

Are extractions of active acne safe?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Extraction of blackheads is a commonly conducted procedure for dermatologists. It is essentially safe when performed by a professional, but should not be done by those who haven't been trained. Improper extraction can result in infection.
Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology
Extractions of active acne (whether it is the pustule type we call a pimple or a comedone, which we refer to as a blackhead) are tricky and unnecessary and can be unsafe too. Although extractions seem to miraculously (and sometimes painfully) take away the gunk in your pores, it's basically a manual form of exfoliation (extracting the keratin plug from your pore). Putting so much pressure on the hair follicle (or pore) to pop out the dead keratinocytes squeezes the base of the follicle. In the case of a comedone (a type of acne referred to as a "blackhead" or "whitehead"), this can push the oils and benign bacteria so far down the follicle shaft that they burst out the bottom into your skin tissue. That rupture can cause inflammation and ultimately leave a scar or a cyst on your skin, especially on darker skin types. Often, blackheads on the nose are just hair follicles, so trying to extract something from them is ineffectual and could cause scarring or hyperpigmentation. Dermatologists are trained to look at the skin using a microscope, so we truly see it with X-ray vision. We can tell a whitehead, or comedone, from a benign cyst and a blackhead from a hair follicle. Even the best, most skilled facialist doesn't understand the skin microscopically and isn't a medically trained diagnostician.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

Continue Learning about Acne Treatment

Is there an effective way to treat acne and wrinkles?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
There are plenty of over-the-counter creams, lotions and washes. For those looking for other remedie...
More Answers
What are the most common side effects of oral acne antibiotics?
Dr. Doris Day, MDDr. Doris Day, MD
The most common side effects of antibiotics include upset stomach and nausea. Other side effects...
More Answers
How Can I Get My Acne Scars Treated?
How Can I Get My Acne Scars Treated?
How Can an Adult Treat His or Her Acne?
How Can an Adult Treat His or Her Acne?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.