Dr. Pimple Popper fans, this one's for you: In this episode of Macro Beauty, we get an up-close-and-personal look at Folayemi Akinbolaji's first-ever extreme blackhead removal. Akinbolaji, who goes by Fola, only started getting acne on her face within the last two years. She recently decided to get her blackheads removed to help smooth her skin texture and even out her complexion.
Rather than feeling nervous about the extraction procedure, Akinbolaji was looking forward to it, thanks to Michelle Henry, MD, the board-certified dermatologist who would be guiding her through her skin journey. "I'm very excited to work with Dr. Henry, most importantly, because she is a Black woman," Akinbolaji said. "I'm a Black woman, and who else is more qualified than her to do this procedure on me and tell me what it is that's causing my acne."
In her Manhattan office, Dr. Henry explains how blackhead removals can help the skin, and what her client should expect. She begins by cleansing Akinbolaji's skin, then presses the tip of an 18-gauge needle into the pore to avoid excess pressure that can lead to damaged and enlarged pores, scarring, and hyperpigmentation. "That's why I always encourage my patients not to do this at home, because it's very difficult to make sure that you have even pressure," Dr. Henry says. "If you don't have even pressure, what can happen is that the clog can actually go backwards and cause more inflammation." She continues by using cotton-tipped applicators to squeeze the sides of each pimple until it pops.
The second technique uses a metal comedone extractor to gently push the clog out while applying equal pressure around the pore. While watching the video, it might look like the gauge puncturing the skin is the most painful part, but Dr. Henry says that's probably the least uncomfortable step. "What's probably the most uncomfortable is actually the squeezing," she says. "It's mild discomfort, nothing extreme, and most tolerate it really well" — and even if you don't, the procedure is done in ten minutes max. Immediately after the treatment, Dr. Henry notes that any swelling Akinbolaji experienced would go down overnight, and she'd be able to see results by morning.
If you're curious but nervous about having an extraction session, Dr. Henry assures there's minimal negative long-term consequences and there's little-to-no down time. "For anyone who's afraid of getting an extreme blackhead removal, I would just say try it," Akinbolaji says. "If you care about your skin and you want it to get better, and you want the best optimal health you can, I say just do it."