Beauty
Fact Checked

How Do I Choose the Best Comedone Extractor?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux

To pick the best comedone extractor, a person has to check that the tool is appropriate to the acne type, of a high quality material that can be sterilized, and has the right size end. It often is necessary to purchase an extractor at a slightly greater expense to get the ideal features, but a good extractor should last for years and is much cheaper than professional acne surgery. Shifts in the condition of the skin might necessitate buying a different extractor later on using the same basic selection process.

Selection of the best comedone extractor starts with identifying the type of comedones present. Two major types exist: whiteheads and blackheads. Blackheads are also called "open" comedones because the pore is not covered by a layer of skin and therefore is still open to the air. "Closed" comedones, or whiteheads, form when bacteria and sebum get trapped under the surface of the skin.

A comedone extractor with a sharp point is best for use on a whitehead.
A comedone extractor with a sharp point is best for use on a whitehead.

For blackheads, a loop comedone extractor is best, but for a whitehead, one with a sharp point is better because the user has to physically open the skin to clean out the infection. Many people find that they have both types of comedones, however. In this case, the best extractor is a combination extractor that has a loop on one end and a point on the other.

A loop comedone extractor is best for blackheads.
A loop comedone extractor is best for blackheads.

Next, look at the material that makes up the extractor. In general, the best extractors are made of metal, ideally stainless steel. Comedone extractors work by pressing out the material trapped in the pore, and plastic extractors simply don't have the durability necessary to stand up to this task in most cases. Additionally, during use, a comedone extractor makes contact with the bacteria, dirt, dead skin and oil from the face and pores, which means that disinfecting the extractor after each use is essential to prevent the spread of the acne problem. A metal extractor usually is more durable when placed in boiling water or a chemical solution for sterilization.

Preventing comedone breakouts is best done through an exfoliating facial wash.
Preventing comedone breakouts is best done through an exfoliating facial wash.

Another big consideration in picking a comedone extractor is the size of the loop. It's important to select an extractor where the loop is appropriate to the average size of the comedones. If the loop is too big, the pressure will not be close enough to push the material out of the pore. If it is too small, the extractor can push it deeper into the skin and worsen the infection. Many extractors for blackheads have loops on both ends, with each loop being a slightly different size for best results.

Applying a steamed towel to the face can help unclog the pores and reduce the occurrence of whiteheads.
Applying a steamed towel to the face can help unclog the pores and reduce the occurrence of whiteheads.

One type of comedone extractor that is a little different from the standard rod-shaped extractors and which should be avoided is the comedone gun. This is a plastic device designed to remove comedones via suction. These extractors generally do not provide good results because, even though steaming the skin can help by opening the pores, the suction is not sufficient to pull out material truly stuck in the pores. They also cannot be properly sterilized because it is so difficult to get a cleanser or boiling water into the inner section of the extractor.

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Discussion Comments

Logicfest
Good advice -- whiteheads are an unsightly problem and are hard to treat. Using a tool specifically to get rid of them is a lot more effective and safer than simply trying to get at one with a pin from a sewing kit.
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    • A comedone extractor with a sharp point is best for use on a whitehead.
      By: F.C.G.
      A comedone extractor with a sharp point is best for use on a whitehead.
    • A loop comedone extractor is best for blackheads.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      A loop comedone extractor is best for blackheads.
    • Preventing comedone breakouts is best done through an exfoliating facial wash.
      By: ipag
      Preventing comedone breakouts is best done through an exfoliating facial wash.
    • Applying a steamed towel to the face can help unclog the pores and reduce the occurrence of whiteheads.
      By: miya227
      Applying a steamed towel to the face can help unclog the pores and reduce the occurrence of whiteheads.
    • Individuals suffering from acne may consider using products that contain benzoyl peroxide.
      By: Olga Lyubkin
      Individuals suffering from acne may consider using products that contain benzoyl peroxide.
    • A good comedone extractor is much cheaper than professional acne surgery.
      By: AustralisPhotography
      A good comedone extractor is much cheaper than professional acne surgery.
    • Acne most often affects teenagers who are going through puberty.
      By: Luis Louro
      Acne most often affects teenagers who are going through puberty.
    • Some comedones should be drained by a dermatologist, because popping them at home may lead to scarring.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Some comedones should be drained by a dermatologist, because popping them at home may lead to scarring.