Spots being squeezed
The subject on today’s agenda is acne and spots being squeezed. I get asked if they should be squeezed a lot, and since I’ve done several extractions this week I felt this is a perfect time to give you a little advice on this.
What do we commonly do with spots?
I realise the worst thing in the world is having to walk out the door with a great big whopping white head on your face. Not only does it look bad but it can affect your short term mental health, making it hard to enjoy your day.
So, what’s the alternative. Often it’s spending 10 minutes in front the mirror squeezing the hell out of said white head, removing all the pus with the hope of making it disappear. In truth, all you do is replace the spot with a massive, inflamed weeping crater that is equally as hard to cover up with makeup.
What causes a spot?
Spots are caused by several factors, including hormones, genetics and the environment. The most common cause is hormones and acne is often the result of too much sebum production in the skin. In simpler terms, acne is when the pores are clogged with oil and dead skin cells. These clogged pores are called blackheads or whiteheads. The bacteria in the skin then produce an inflammatory response which leads to redness, swelling and pus production.
In regards to spots being squeezed there’s no real medical benefit, but it’s just so hard to not want to squeeze the hell out of them.
What can we do?
So, what sort of spots can we get away with squeezing and which ones do we need to leave well alone?
- If the spot is inflamed, red, painful, has no whitehead leave well alone. All you will do is make that area of your face sore and painful to touch. When I’ve squeezed these in the past, I find myself touching and poking it for hours afterwards to see if it’s weeping or still painful.
- Small non-inflamed whiteheads are ok to have a quick squeeze. But make sure your going to go for it, get all the pus out. If it becomes inflamed leave it alone.
Ideally, we want to leave them all alone, but I realise this is near impossible for some, even me sometimes! So, here’s a few little tips to help you out if you’re an avid squeezer.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before.
- Cleanse the area.
- Wrap tissue around the end of each finger that will be doing the squeezing or use the ends of cotton buds.
- Place fingers either side of the spot, but not too close together. Almost like you are going to squeeze from underneath the spot.
- Gently squeeze, not for too long, don’t cause too much trauma for the skin, DO NOT draw blood.
- If anything comes out remove from the skin immediately.
- If nothing comes out, walk away, it’s not ready and you will cause more issues trying.
- Wipe over or hold a pad on the area with a tonic or product containing salicylic.
- Do not apply makeup to the area for at least 4 hours.
Point 9 is very important. Most people try to cover up the area immediately with make up. But your adding dirt and grease back into the wound where the spot was, giving it all the ingredients it needs to regrow.
When it comes to blackheads, and I mean blackheads not sebaceous filaments (see the difference here) using the same methods, however, use your fingers to push down towards the skin rather than together. And again, if it doesn’t come out after a few attempts (a few not several) leave it to a professional.
If in doubt see a professional, I can guarantee with most, its our favourite part of our job! So, we welcome extractions a plenty. Thank you for reading, and as ever me or anyone at the clinic are here for any advice, just reply with any questions.