When getting a facial in France, you will notice one key element may be missing. Extractions, those 5-10 sometimes-cringeworthy minutes that we love to hate, are not typically performed by estheticians in France. You will also be hard pressed to find French estheticians that will perform microdermabrasion or chemical peels or even find any that use any alpha hydroxy acids at all. Why is this? The French don’t like to do anything to the skin that is considered harsh. So, should you be worried? Are extractions really something that can damage the skin?
We at Vasseur wholeheartedly believe that extractions are not only good, but especially necessary for individuals with blackheads, whiteheads, acne or skin congestion of any kind. But this is only true when the extractions are being performed by a professional.
Here’s what you need to know:
There are over 20,000 pores on your face alone- these pores are being bombarded with dirt and grime from not one, but two directions. Since your skin is an eliminating organ, toxins from sweat purge from the skin and linger there and external debris (dirt, pollution, bacteria from your hands) also get trapped and lodged into your pores. Not only does this contribute to dull looking, sallow complexion, for those who are acne prone, this bacteria lingering in your skin is the feeding ground for pimples.
DID YOU KNOW? Often times, the blackheads and even “freckles” on your face are actually just hardened, lodged in dirt stuck in your pores.
This is where extractions come in. Durring a facial, the skin is prepped and softened using concentrated steam from distilled water. This breaks up the dirt making it easier to purge. At this point, it needs a little push in order to come out. If it is not pushed out, then some will slough off naturally, but the deepest, most lodged in dirt will remain- this is why extractions are necessary.
When done correctly, extractions should be only moderately uncomfortable. If they don’t hurt at all, your esthetician probably isn’t getting much done and if you are in a lot of pain (the more common situation) then no doubt, your skin is being pushed too hard, which can cause damage and even push the dirt even further into your pores. Your skin may be slightly red afterwards, but it the redness should fade within 10-15 minutes. And most importantly, if your extractions are performed correctly, then your skin should look glowing and extremely clean afterwards.
To Pick or Not To Pick?
Now that you understand the benefits of extractions, what should you do if you don’t have a facial scheduled anytime soon and you notice some white heads on your face? You can’t just leave them there, can you? Well, that’s exactly what you should do. Picking (or “extracting”) your own face is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. Why? Well, for starters your hands are covered in bacteria–by touching them to your face you are spreading that bacteria to your face. Even if you wash your hands, there is still dirt under your nails. Secondly, the skin must be prepped correctly in order to be extracted properly. Thirdly, picking at your own skin causes scars. About 90% of the scaring that we see on our acne clinic clients are caused by picking. And, as a general rule, the darker your skin tone, the more prone your skin is to scarring. Trust us – while picking may give you momentary satisfaction – in the long run it is not worth it.
So, if you have any nagging pimples on your skin that you are tempted to pick — or if you just want to “spring clean” your skin (which should be done at least every quarter, but as frequently as every week) call to schedule a facial. Some spas -like Vasseur Spa- will even let you come in to quickly extract your skin free of charge just so you won’t do it at home!
QUICK TIP – Rather than pick a zit, ice it! Use our Ice Zit tool ($2.95) or an ice cube in a plastic bag and ice the inflamed area for 2-5 minutes and cover with Kiss it Goodbye for 30 minutes. Repeat this process several times and you will see the pimple shrink before your eyes!