Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Extraction: an act of removing something from a hostile area to a secure location (or in aesthetics, popping a zit/removing a blackhead)

I get a seriously sick satisfaction out of doing extractions.  It might be wrong, but if it is, I don’t wanna be right. Maybe it’s because my mother always told me that you should never squeeze a pimple. Maybe it’s because there really is a learned skill behind performing extractions. Maybe I just like seeing the nasty contents of a zit come out and knowing that I’ve brought it to a new stage -- a stage that speeds healing.

There’s quite a bit of scheming/strategizing that occurs before an extraction in our class. It looks kinda like a huddle on a football field. It’s me, my teacher, and my classmates, all huddled around a facial bed going over the play. Miss Kelly will say, “Ok, here’s what were going to do with this one. First, we’re gonna do some exfoliatation. Then, we’re gonna put her under the steamer for about 7 minutes. Then,  Rita’s gonna add some scaling fluid to that spot on her nose…..”
I’ve started using words like papules and pustules.

Before beauty school, popping a zit was simple. It was like Nike, you Just Do It. Not anymore - there are all kinds of things to consider now. In what direction does the pore lie? What is the best side of the extractor to use? What would cause the least amount of trauma to the skin? Sometimes the right decision is to lance it (create a tiny incision at the bottom of the pimple) to get the guck out. Other times, the best decision might be to just stop for the day and return tomorrow to see if your efforts have “come to fruition”. There are some times when you just have to pause and ask yourself… is this pimple ready for extraction? or am I just tearing the room apart to find the tiny spider that escaped behind the desk when I tried to grab it? You get the idea.

The most important thing to remember with extractions is to NEVER force anything. When I think of the drastic and terrible things I’ve done to my face over the years, it makes me cringe. If I only could have learned some of this years ago!

When you DO manage to execute an extraction perfectly, there is a tremendous satisfaction. You can stand tall from your ergonomically correct aesthetician stool and hold your extractor high (with gloved hands, of course). You can say, “Yes! I have performed a successful extraction, and that was some nasty stuff!”
Side note: Don't let extractions scare you. Most people want them included in their facial, but it is totally acceptable for you to ask your aesthetician not to do them. We sincerely have no problems leaving that part out. (Although, I will say that it’s a no-brainer to let them take care of blackheads… most of them are so easily extracted after steaming.)

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,



  1. HA! If I could learn the true art of extractions, I'd be a satisfied woman! I"m sure most of my techniques are cringe-inducing, but I draw a bizarre satisfaction from eradicating the buggers, too :P

  2. I'm with you Rita! There's definitely a sense of satisfaction after popping a zit. Ahem! I mean, performing an extraction. :D