My Skin Journey
I have a love-hate relationship with facial extractions.
Since young, I had been struggling with acne skin problems; it was only through regular facials, I witnessed an improvement in my skin. Like everyone else who has been struggling with acne skin for the longest time, I’ve also been there and done that. I had my first facial at the age of 19. It just
I’ve visited dermatologists before. But they would provide me with drug prescriptions and topical creams which only make my skin more sensitive.
What is my opinion on facial extractions?
After battling with so many years of acne, this is what I have to say about facial extractions. It is painful but necessary. Having visited countless facial salons and aesthetic centres before, this method of clearing the skin works best for all skin types. However, having that said, facial extractions must be done by an experienced professional skin therapist who understands your skin condition.
What are the benefits of facial extractions?
During a facial extraction, the skin therapist will extract out the whiteheads (closed comedones), and blackheads (open comedones) so that it will leave your skin looking clearer. Comedones arise when the pores of the skin get clogged with dirt and debris. Over time, the comedones will develop into pimples.
As such, facial extractions is akin to a form of cleansing step except that it is more thorough. Extraction clears out the pores so that you will have smooth pimple-free skin.
However, if facial extractions are not done properly, it can lead to more breakouts, scars or dark spots.
Which facial salons to go to for facial extractions?
This is a common question which I often get. More than often, it is the skin therapist who works on your skin who matters the most. I had been to many decent beauty salons in Singapore but not all of their therapists are well-trained and experienced.
Hence, it will be more useful if you do some research and go for facial trials before deciding which facial salon to visit regularly. And once you’ve found your ideal therapist, do try to stick to the same therapist as he or she would have a better understanding of your skin condition.
What are the steps to prep the skin before extraction?
The skin therapist will have to remove any makeup first with a makeup remover. They will usually perform a double-cleansing step, which includes a gentle exfoliation.
The exfoliation step may involve the use of scrubs or gentle fruit acid peels to remove the dead skin layer. Once the dead skin cells are slough away, it would be easier for them to squeeze out the comedones trapped in your pores.
Some salons use exfoliating devices like skin scrubbers to clear the dead skin.
Steaming the face
After cleansing, they will usually steam the face to open up the pores and loosen the blackheads from the pores, making it easier for the therapist to carry out extractions. It will also be a less painful process for you as the therapist won’t have to use much force to push the blackheads out.
The steaming process also moistens the skin so that the skin is not taut. It is more difficult to perform extraction on
Some therapist would place a hot towel on your face instead while others skip this steaming step as they felt that the heat might aggravate your skin condition. Different salons have different practices when it comes to facial extractions.
You mean, there is more than one techique of facial extractions?
Yes! Different salons adopt different extraction techniques. Some salons advocate the use of extraction tools like needles, tweezers and pimple extractors which have with angled loops. Other salons like Indulgence beauty (the salon which I’ve been visiting regularly) perform extractions manually using fingers and disposable needles only.
Facial Extraction with tools
This technique is to be very popular in the past. However, these days, I noticed that fewer therapists are relying on such tools. Most of them advocate doing manual extractions by hand as it is more effective in removing comedones and less damaging on the skin.
Whenever I questioned therapists about the use of such tools, they would give me the following response: the tools can disrupt the integrity of the pores and cause skin inflammations.
Facial Extractions using hands and needles only
This technique seems to be gaining in popularity among the facial salons which I’ve visited. They will wrap their fingers around with tissue paper and squeeze the comedones out. For closed comedones, the therapist will have to use a sterilized needle to prick the skin open, in order to push out the comedones.
How long does the extraction step take?
I had done facial extractions which last for an hour long before! My skin feels smoother without the blackheads and whiteheads. However, there is a downside to it: my skin looked very red and inflamed. It was an extraction facial which entirely focuses on extraction only. I will not advocate it to anyone unless you are ready to go through the pain and your skin really needs a thorough extraction.
Extractions typically last for about 10 to 20 minutes. If it takes any longer than that, your skin will look very inflamed. My personal preference is for shorter – but frequent – extractions, as opposed to longer – and intensive – extractions. Intensive extraction can be very ‘traumatizing’ for the skin. It is better to take one baby step at a time to achieve healthy skin.
If you are suffering from severe acne, the therapist will usually remove the larger comedones first. During the subsequent sessions, she will then work on clearing the remaining comedones. After 4 to 6 sessions, your skin should start to clear up.
Is extraction always painful?
It depends on the technique employed by each therapist. Some of them believe in using all their strength and might to squeeze every bit of the comedones with dirt out of the skin. Of course, the pain is there.
The reason for doing so is also because most of these therapists enjoy the process of squeezing gunk out of the pores. Some even secretly admit that they had the urge to squeeze out those comedones whenever they encounter someone with acne-blemished skin.
‘No Pain, no gain’ is not always true
Others, especially the more skilled therapists, perform extractions with minimal pain. I trust the skin therapists at Indulgence Beauty as they know which zits are pickable; which are not and which zits, when extracted, will cause pain. They did it so painlessly, gracefully and quick that I did not even flinch one bit.
How to prevent the skin from looking red after extraction?
Immediately after extraction, the therapist will place cotton wool soaked with chamomile or rose toner to soothe the skin.
At times, they will swipe the skin with antiseptic lotion to prevent any post-facial breakouts. High-frequency devices may also be used to kill bacteria on the skin.
Next, they will apply a soothing or hydration gel or mask to relieve any redness in the skin.
During my recent facial at Indulgence Beauty, they use cooling jade balls to massage my skin. This step helps to contract the pores and calm the skin.
How long does it take for acne scars to heal?
It can take a few days up to a week. It also depends on how fast your skin naturally recovers.
Those with matured skin will take a longer time to heal.
However, this recovery process can be speeded up if you use hydrating and soothing skincare products which contain ingredients like Aloe Vera.
Should I go for facial extractions?
When your skin feels rough and bumpy, it might be time for you to do an extraction to remove those comedones before they turn into pimples. It is best not to extract by yourself at home. Instead, let a professional do the job.
Also, facial extractions can be done on a monthly basis because the skin renews itself every 28 days. Extract only when your skin needs it.
If you are looking for a salon that does good extraction facials, you can try Indulgence beauty. You can also look up online for their positive reviews left by their clients.
They use dermatologist-tested products, MD Dermatics – a trusted professional skincare brand – for all of their facial treatments.
Currently, they have four skin therapists who are skilled performing in extractions. I had facials done by Anna, Rachel and Lisa before. They were very skilled and experienced in performing facials extractions.
And not to worry, they are not pushy at all. Trust me, you are in safe hands.
Are these facials (with extractions) comparable with non-extraction facials?
I shall explore this topic on my next skincare post. Stay tuned!