A beauty treatment from Korea is now intriguing women in the U.S.: pore vacuuming. Yes, you read that right. The treatment involves a small vacuum that sucks out the oil, dead skin, and other gunk that may have collected in your pores. Devotees claim vacuuming gets rid of blackheads, and improves the look of their skin.
"Pore vacuuming alone has been shown to help only with blackheads that are already loosened in the skin," said Dana Rice, master esthetician at the University of Utah Health's Dermatology Cosmetic Center. "Using steam or products such as salicylic and glycolic acid can exfoliate and penetrate deep into the pores and aid in the removal. Other products can also be incorporated into the treatment to help remove dead skin cells, clean out pores, and hydrate the skin."
For those who are the "do it yourself" type there are home vacuums available on the market for as little as ten dollars. However, you shouldn't expect to see the same results as you would by going to see someone with experience. "I would highly recommend having this done at a reputable location, with an FDA approved device, and an experienced technician," said Rice.
Poor results are only one of the risks of trying to vacuum your pores yourself - or have it done by someone without experience. If too much suction is applied to the skin you can suffer bruising or a condition called telangiectasias. "Telangiectasias are small broken blood vessels in the skin," said Rice. "Depending on the severity you may need to have the broken blood vessels treated with a laser to improve appearance."
"In a professional setting vacuum suction levels can be adjusted with each patient," said Rice. "Patients with very thin skin, rosacea, or sensitive skin can have this treatment performed, but a lower vacuum suction should be used to prevent irritation or damage to the skin."
Of course, there are ways to clean your pores that doesn't involve treating your face like you do your carpet. There are dozens of topical products on the market, with those containing salicylic acid or retinoids offering the best results. You can also manually remove blackheads. "A comedone extractor can also be used to remove blackheads safely as long as proper technique is used," said Rice. "Extractions can also be performed by an experienced esthetician."
Blackhead prevention is also possible. The same products you would use to help remove them could prevent them as well. Also, make sure that the products you are using are labeled non-comedogenic. "In addition an oil free makeup can help to keep pores clear," said Rice.