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.
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.
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.