Acne Extraction Methods and Treatments

Acne extraction is a common procedure used to treat some forms of acne. Having patience is difficult, especially when it comes to pimples. When a breakout develops – whether it be a blackhead, whitehead, or cystic lesion – resisting the urge to squeeze, prod, and poke at the bump can be nearly impossible. We understand that breakouts are frustrating, and trying to squeeze the sebum out of a pimple might seem like the easiest, most expedient treatment available. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case.

However problematic your breakout looks, attempting at-home extraction will only exacerbate the irritation. Damaging your skin at home can be very serious, as it can lead to bacterial infections, increased inflammation, and visible acne scars. Extracting a pimple safely and cleanly is a lot more difficult than most recognize, and a variety of mistakes can force the sebum deeper into the skin. Only a professional should perform this type of acne treatment to ensure both safety and the best possible results.


Types of Acne Extraction

Acne extraction, a type of topical acne treatment, is typically used to treat comedones, a type of pimple that includes blackheads and whiteheads. The procedure is not generally used to treat pustules, papules, or comedones close to inflamed pimples. During the procedure, a professional will physically remove the material clogging the pore. Additionally, cystic acne is rarely treated with extraction. In most cases, the clogging is too deep for a physician to safely perform a procedure without causing harm. If you have cystic acne, laser treatments, oral treatments, and antibiotics are the better choices.


How Acne Extraction Works

Acne extraction in a dermatology clinic is similar to what you might experience at home, only it is safe, sterile, and practiced. This acne treatment is typically tried with other methods, like oral and topical treatments, are unsuccessful at treating acne. In some cases, it can also be used to quickly treat a blemish.

Skincare professionals will take their time with this procedure, as it is important to reduce the chance of skin damage, scarring, and pushing the sebum further into the skin. The procedure is performed using sterile tools, which minimize the risk of introducing bacteria to the pore.

For most acne extractions, the first step is to open the pore. This is crucial to prevent scarring, as attempting to force sebum, oil, or debris through a narrow pore can cause tearing and bruising. The technician will create a clear pathway for the buildup to travel through. Then, they will apply pressure around the lesion to force the sebum out. This is typically done by identifying the direction of the pore and applying pressure at strategic points to minimize skin damage. During the process, your technician may use a variety of devices, including suction tools and lances to help loosen debris.


What to Expect with Acne Extraction

An acne extraction is a fast, relatively painless procedure. Depending on the size and depth of the lesion, the process should take no more than a few minutes to complete. If you have sensitive skin or a low pain tolerance, your provider may apply a numbing cream to the area to prevent discomfort, but that is typically the only pain relief our patients need. The treated area may appear red and swollen for the hours following the acne extraction, but this should subside within a day or two.

When to See a Dermatologist for Acne Extraction

We understand that waiting to see a dermatologist for acne extraction is not always ideal. Perhaps you’re experiencing a whitehead flare-up the day before a big presentation, or maybe you’re frustrated that the ever-increasing number of blackheads on your face isn’t responding well to other treatments. At-home acne extraction might feel like the most efficient option, but it almost always does more harm than good. We understand that dissuading patients from popping their pimples is not always realistic, but we want you to understand the risk associated with taking things into your own hands.

When you experience an acne lesion, keep your hands off your face and try other methods, such as topical and oral treatments. If you need the lesion removed immediately, schedule an appointment at any of our three Minneapolis-area dermatology offices. Keep in mind that the area surrounding the extraction may be red for several hours following the procedure. The only way to safely extract an acne lesion is to have it done professionally, and Zel Skin & Laser Specialists is uniquely equipped to do the job well. Contact us to schedule your appointment today.