ACNE can be described as all of the above or just one of the names listed in the title of this blog. Below are pictures showing the different grades of acne that are diagnosed by a physician.
If you have been diagnosed by a physician that you are Grade III or IV, or think you may be just by looking at the pictures...you should be on medication and excellent topical antibacterials, anti-inflammatory, and chemical exfoliants. If you have not seen a physician, I would highly recommend it!
Above you can see an illustration of both a whitehead and a blackhead inside a follicle/pore.
The illustration above shows the stages of a follicle as bacteria grows and becomes infected.
Below shows a larger illustration of a healthy follicle versus one that is infected with bacteria.
This before and after shows scarring improvement. But this scarring was from both black and whiteheads. If you aren't removing or having your blackheads removed properly, you can develop redness and scarring. I will talk later about proper pore preparation before extraction takes place.
Below you see an illustration of an enlarged follicle/blackhead and to the right you see a pretty typical nostril full of blackheads. If this is really all the blackheads you have on your face...you are lucky and you don't have acne!! So don't think you do silly!
Here are three really good whiteheads that are so ready to pop that the bacteria is yellow!
This forehead is covered with whiteheads. They definitely need to be using antibacterial wash, astringent and a chemical exfoliant everyday to help dry up and prevent new whiteheads from popping up.
This is a nice large whitehead on the nose. This is will be a pretty painful one to extract and will probably bleed a lot. Most likely this is more than just one pore that has been infected. Tea tree oil is an excellent natural antiseptic to use after extracting both black and whiteheads.
Before you or your professional jumps in and starts extracting your blemishes, make sure you have had some steam on your pores for at least 6-12 minutes. This softens the pores and allows the bacteria to come out easier and less painful. This also makes the pores more elastic so that when they appear larger with the bacteria in them, after extraction takes place, the pore can shrink back down to regular or smaller size.
Steaming at home could also look like this if you don't have $200 to spend online or at Bed Bath & Beyond. This is just filling up a bowl or sink with steaming hot water, then putting a towel over your head to trap the steam from escaping. However, you do have to be careful you don't get a steam burn, so don't make your water boiling.
Here is another option if you don't want to hold your face over the steam. Just soak a hand towel, wring it out so it's not dripping anymore while wringing. then roll up tight and stick into a microwave for 30 seconds or into a crock-pot to warm on low setting. Wrap face tightly so towel doesn't fall off, then allow to set on for 6-10 minutes. You may have to use two towels to achieve the correct pore softening before extraction.
Now for preforming the extraction properly!!! You can wear gloves, if you are having a professional extract you, they should be wearing gloves. Wrapping your index fingers in tissue or cotton squares (2x2's or 4x4's) provides cushion and protection from breaking capillaries and causing more pain than needed during extractions. When pushing an extraction out, think of making a volcano with the pore, not a pit or valley. Pushing the pore down could blow out the bottom of a pore, which would not help remove the infection, just push it deeper. So push in a way that pops the pore up, pushing the bacteria/infection from the bottom of the pore, out the top, like a volcano.