[How-To] Best Practices for Acne Extractions

Woman looking at acne
Top tips on acne extractions

Kelsey Duque, LE, manager of training and onboarding at Face Reality Skin Care, hit the Skin Inc. LIVE! during the Face & Body spa show on Aug. 21, 2023 to discuss some best practices for acne extractions. Acne can become tricky to navigate between the pain tolerance of your client as well as knowing when not to extract, but these tips will have you becoming a master in no time. 

Skin Analysis

First things first, Duque shared that the skin analysis is a must for this. Using the mag lamp to get a good look at the skin will help you see what is going on. It is totally okay to manipulate the skin as well to really get a good look at what is going on  for the skin. This also helps you get a good look at what the best treatment option is going to be. 

Related: Acne: Cautious and Customized

Treatment Options for Acne Extractions

Top treatments to prep the skin for acne extractions include: 

Enzymes. This is a great exfoliation treatment to open those pores and slough of dead skin cells. 

Chemical peels. This is safe and suitable for most skin types. You can also do a series of peels for best results. 

Extractions 101

When it comes to extracting, using a comedone extractor is a great tool. Some top tips when performing acne extractions with this tool includes: 

  • Light pressure
  • Extract in the direction of the pore
  • Hold the skin taut
  • Hold the comedone extractor parallell to the skin. 

When you are extracting, keep in mind that not every lesion will be ready for extraction. If you are trying to get a lesion and it is not budging, it may not be ready. It is better to wait for that work through until it is ready for extractions. If you continue to try at ones that have not matured to be ready to extract it can cause bruising or even move bacteria to other locations causing more acne later.

It is also okay to move your clients head. It's better for you to get the best angle and lighting to extract the acne lesion. Do not shy away from gently shifting your clients head. 

Check in with your clients. Extractiing acne can be painful, so make sure to communicate your clients comfort level. It can be good prior to extractions to also give your clients a heads up to vocaalize if they need a break or need to stop. 

Related: Protocols in Practice: 6 Acne Treatments

Extractions for Inflamed Acne

Inflamed acne does tend to take longer to clear over non-inflamed, and there are a lot of factors to consider. Some top tips for this include: 

  • Using a "scooping" method to avoid rolling over the lesion.
  • Apply light pressure, slowly.
  • If the follicle opening is not quickly visible, the lesion is likely not ready. 

If you are struggling with an extraction that is not ready, it is okay to try two times to extract. If after that, it is still not coming out, recommend for your client to ice the lesion instead. 

Modalities Post Extractions

After performing extractions on the skin, LED or high frequency can be great tools to incorporate into the skin. Both of these tools can help to zap away any bacteria that may be present on the skin. Using these devices can also add value to your treatment both in terms of the service being provided and the cost of the service. 

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