Two days ago, Zoe Foster Blake posted a glowing post-facial selfie on her Instagram account, describing her treatment and naming the one procedure she asked for but wasn’t allowed: extractions.
“I asked for extractions and was promptly shut down by @melaniegrantdbc cos extractions can cause capillary damage and make pores worse,” she explained.
As anyone who’s had a steam and squeeze will tell you, they’re horrendously painful at the time, but oddly satisfying afterwards. But are the positive effects all in our heads?
Acclaimed skin expert Melanie Grant, who performed Blake’s facial, explains her position on facial extractions on Instagram. “My no was firm,” she writes. “The reason being – I don’t believe that the method of steam and squeeze is good for the skin.”
“I admit, this old school practice can be incredibly satisfying. It provides instant results and can be very gratifying. However we’ve now learned that this method can cause many side effects including infection, inflammation, pigmentation, large pores and even scarring. It can be especially risky for those of us with darker skin. I’ve seen and had to treat these side effects many, many times,” she continues.
“So, what to do instead? For regular day to day care, try using a cleanser with salicylic acid or lactic acid, ensure that you exfoliate two to three times per week and go easy on oil based makeup and rich, heavy skin care. Use a retinol or AHA serum at night and always cleanse your makeup off before bed. It’s also important to change your pillowcase regularly and clean your mobile phone with an antibacterial wipe at least once per week.”
“For professional treatments try a deep cleanse via ultrasound, this is also known as sonopheresis. It works by loosening dirt, oil and debris on the skin and coaxing it gently out of the pores. Microdermabrasion and gentle peels are great for black heads and congestion. For stubborn whiteheads, an opening needs to be created with a sterile, fine gauge needle or lancet and then drawn out with, ultrasound an extraction fluid or mask.”