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Aug 29, 2017
by Vivant Skin Care
Extraction is an acne cycle disruptor that promotes overall healthier skin. Done properly, it speeds the healing time of pimples, reduces future breakouts, and minimizes the chances of scarring.
But it can also be tricky. If not performed with precision and care, the process can make problems worse—inflammation, scarring, spreading of acne bacteria, to name a few.
There’s an art to extraction. It requires a steady hand, a sterile tool, an understanding of which impactions to address and which to leave alone, plus one imperative step that is often overlooked.
The secret to successful extraction is treating the underlying issues first by preconditioning the skin. Extraction on its own is not enough because it doesn’t get to the real culprits, the micro-comedones that are working unseen beneath the surface to undermine your best efforts. As long these micro-comedones are developing, no amount of extraction will clear the skin because while you’re busy rooting out surface comedones, a new crop of impactions is already forming.
To maximize your efforts, an acne treatment regimen should be used at home for at least two weeks prior to any extraction work.
Preconditioning loosens impactions, which makes extraction easier and less painful.
It reduces the chances of breaking open the follicle and creating an infection. And it treats micro-comedones, the seeds of future breakouts, to reduce the likelihood of new flare-ups soon after.
Vivant offers a range of professional systems perfect for preconditioning different skin conditions. Choose a Clear Complexion System based on your client’s skin type and tone to prep his/her skin for extractions.
With preconditioning done, it’s time for the extraction phase, and you can proceed with confidence.
Always use gloves. Extraction must be a sterile procedure to avoid spreading bacteria or introducing an infection.
Sterilize your tools! If you don’t have a sterilizer, you can use a pressure cooker with water.
Know what to extract and what to leave alone. Not every impaction is a candidate for extraction. Inflamed papules and cysts, for instance, are generally better avoided during extractions because the impaction is deep in the skin and trying to root it can cause scarring. A blackhead or whitehead can be extracted easily because the pore opening is already dilated and the impaction has moved up to the surface.
Don’t force an extraction of an immature whitehead or papule as you may force it deeper and cause acne bacteria to spread.
Never hold an extractor above a 45-degree angle or you risk pushing it through the skin.
If the "pearl" does not pop out, don’t force it. Move on to the next area of impactions. Go back to the stubborn spot after about five minutes when a small amount of swelling has developed. The swelling gives you some leverage to push against to remove the rest of the comedone.
Don’t leave any part of the comedone behind or you risk a papule or pustule developing.
Extractions can also be done by wrapping 2”x2” gauze sponges around your two index fingers, placing them on both sides of the lesion, and gently pushing down and in toward the lesion to get it to pop out. This is part of the Vivant Two-Step Acne Extraction Method™.
Be gentle. Less pressure means less chance of damage to delicate skin.
To help the healing after the extraction, use an ice compress for three to five minutes.
Dr. Fulton’s preferred extraction tool was the Schamberg Comedone Extractor made in Germany. Beware cheap imitation knock-offs prevalent on Amazon. Look for the real Schamberg extractor. The one pictured below is made by Miltex, one of the several companies making the extractor.
Click here for the complete guide to Vivant’s Two-Step Acne Extraction Method™.
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