nose vacuum cleaner blackheads
nose vacuum cleaner blackheads
Well, Actually is a column by Slate’s Shannon Palus. She tests health and wellness products to help readers figure out what they should try, what they should skip, and why.
Have you ever had your blackheads extracted? Here’s how it goes: You lie back in a chair, like at the dentist, and a technician hovers above you and presses a metal stick with a tiny loop at the end of it into the skin on your nose. The pressure the loop puts around the pore forces the icky stuff inside to come out. It does this by mashing skin into cartilage and then into bone, which is so blunt and searing one can only lay there thinking about what deep evil one must have committed to deserve this. I have had this experience exactly once, when I went to get a facial expecting something relaxing. It was terrible.
Why even go through this pain? Contrary to what their appearance and hygiene myths suggest, blackheads aren’t dirt. Rather, they are dead skin cells and oil that have become stuck in a pore for a while, such that the top layer oxidizes into a dark hue. Many of our faces get blackheads just because they happen. Even Proactiv, a skin care company that implicitly medicalizes blemishes with a product line labeled “MD,” acknowledges that they are merely “the result of natural processes that occur within the skin.” Blackheads do not do anything bad to us. Nonetheless, they are on my face. I’d rather they not be.
We’ve been trying to remove blackheads for at least a century. A patent from 1902 features a suction cup–like device “used to force out the worm by excessive pressure”; one from two years later is for a pair of tweezers that has a little metal extractor loop attached at one end. Modern technology has progressed beyond the need to individually squeeze each one out, a method that is not only painful but is so slow that a full treatment can require multiple sessions (you can still do it this way if you so chose). There are now chemical methods for blackhead removal, like rinsing with salicylic acid, though the attempt to gradually melt blackheads away seems less satisfying than instant abolishment. Pore strips, though capable of extracting satisfying spines of oil, can lead to enlarged pores, thus defeating the point.
But for me, the best solution lies in the most recent method: vacuuming out blackheads. Videos of devices that electrically excavate pores have racked up millions of views on YouTube. The hand-held tools have a tip that quickly sucks out the little plugs of sebum that dot your nose. People who use them show off gunk accumulating on the interior of the tip to the camera. In one case, a close-up shot features an entire blackhead oozing upward out of skin into the vacuum, like a worm being sucked out of the ground. (In blackhead removal, grossness is a sign that things are working.) Importantly, the people using the pore vacuums do not seem to be in heinous amounts of pain. But Dr. Sandra Lee warned Elle magazine that turning the suction up too high could cause bruises (“like giving yourself a hickey”) or even broken vessels that would require laser treatment to repair. I do not want to risk trying this on myself and messing it up.
So I decided to enlist a professional instead. Pore vacuuming costs upwards of $300 an hour, which for me is an unrealistic sum to spend on the endeavor, especially given that I know this is a quest to address a made-up problem. But I found a loophole: Last year, Sephora started offering a half-hour HydraFacial (aka blackhead vacuuming) complimentary with a $75 purchase. I book a session.