As an esthetician, I’m often talking to clients who have acne and blemishes about the importance of not picking at their skin (in fact, I encourage many of them to sign my No Picking Contract). Picking at your skin can lead to long-term scarring or, at the very least, dark or red marks that can linger for months.
That being said, I recently met with a client who told me that she never squeezes her blemishes or skin at all since she has heard me discuss on Twitter and Facebook how harmful it can be to the skin. After analyzing her skin, imagine her surprise when I told her that in her case, squeezing her blemishes at home would actually be helpful in clearing her skin and giving her a more even tone complexion.
Now before you touch your blemishes, let me explain the circumstances that caused this exception to the no picking rule.
This particular client had the following symptoms:
· Clogged pores. These are raised, white-ish bumps under the skin that never get infected. They just remain as little bumps that never go away—no matter what she used to try to get rid of them.
· Re-appearing blemishes in the same exact place. She said she would spot treat these blemishes with a drying blemish product and while they will go away for a bit, they would always reappear.
· Dark spots leftover from blemishes. These discolorations are dark red and purple in color and result from blemishes—even though she never picked at them.
In regards to the client’s clogged pores, these white-ish bumps are actually sebum (oil) blocked under the skin. While they are not getting infected and turning into anything bigger (such as blemishes), these bumps can still damage surrounding tissue leading to discoloration.
As for the re-appearing blemishes, when a blemish comes to the surface, this is the body’s way of getting rid of infection. In this client’s case, because the pore remained blocked, more bacteria continued to build and a pus-filled blemish kept reappearing. Continuous high levels of bacteria cause inflammation, which results in discoloration.
Bottom line: Without squeezing at the blemishes and removing the infected sebum, her skin will never get clear.
The best way to address clogged pores is through manual extractions by a licensed esthetician. During a deep pore cleansing facial treatment, the skin can be properly softened prior to extractions and allow an esthetician to safely remove these clogged pores, which will also lessen her discolorations. To treat this client, I properly softened her skin and pores and gave her a deep pore cleansing facial to thoroughly remove all those blocked pores so her skin would start to clear up. In turn, the dark spots will also start to fade. She is now using our BHA Clarifying Serum, which has helped expedite this process. I also instructed her the proper way to extract blemishes in between her facial visits so she can start having clearer, more even toned skin.
Clean pores are essential to keeping the skin looking healthy, so while you do have to put in the effort regularly to keep the pores clean, my expert advice should give good results.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”