I lead a double life. And before you get excited, I’m not about to admit to being a spy for MI5 or a closet lottery winner (the dream). No, it’s more run-of-the-mill than that. You see, as a beauty editor, I don’t advocate picking spots, but behind closed doors, I will happily spend ages pawing at my face. The shame! But I would rather deal with a spot head-on (excuse the pun) than ride it out. So I was internally fist-pumping when at a recent event, Abigail James, treatment ambassador at Liz Earle, started to share her tips for how to pick a spot. She prefaced the advice by saying (a few times), “I don’t encourage people to squeeze,” but she sees a lot of women come through her treatment room, and the fact is that a lot of them pick. So if we’re going to squeeze our spots, James wants to know we’re doing it right.
Keep scrolling for her expert guide to picking a spot without destroying your face.
If you’re going to pick a spot, do it at night. That way you’re not applying makeup that could cause an infection, and your skin can heal while you sleep.
Start the process with a clean face: You need your skin to be free of all makeup and dirt. You also want to make sure your hands are clean—wash them with antibacterial soap.
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To soften the skin and open up your pores, you need to do an at-home steam to re-create the steaming process used in a treatment before the extractions happen. Fill a glass bowl with hot (not boiling) water, and add a couple of drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil. Hold your face above the steam with a towel over your head for five minutes. Alternatively, a warm shower will steam the skin, and if you apply a deep cleansing mask while you’re in there, it can have a similar effect.
Take a needle and hold it inside a flame to sterilise it. For spots under the skin, take the needle and gently poke the surface to make a small hole. Now apply a little antibacterial and anti-inflammatory tea tree or lavender essential oil. Making a hole helps to deliver the product deeper down into the spot. If you're dealing with a whitehead, again, prick the surface, and this time, very gently squeeze the area around the spot until you have extracted it before applying the essential oil.
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To take down any inflammation and redness, hold a cold compress over the area. You can make your own by wrapping an ice cube with a damp muslin cloth.
Don't want to pick your own spots? Then check out how makeup artists conceal blemishes.