Everybody has some sort of embarrassing obsession, and mine is pore purging. Whenever I'm stressed, pushing blackheads out of my pores always calms me. (Sick, I know.) Since the bacteria on fingers can exacerbate acne, I bought Sephora's double loop extractor ($16) to help me get the gunk out cleanly.
The double-ended, stainless steel, made-in-Germany tool is meant to help with both blackheads and whiteheads. The thin, narrow loop is for oozing whiteheads, while the wider one is for digging out blackheads. For at least 30 minutes last night, I alternated between the two, giddily cleaning out my pores. This sucker helps you declog everything, and with a little help from a magnifying mirror, I was even able to get rid of blackheads on my earlobes. Delightfully gross. For instructions on doing this at home,
If you are similarly afflicted with this need to purge, here's what to do. Extract the blackheads after a shower, or prepare the comedones by placing a damp, warm washcloth on your skin. Then, apply gentle pressure on the clogged pores; don't force it, or you can cause redness and/or scarring. And don't even think about trying this with cystic acne, as it won't work. Clean the tool with alcohol after each use, and wipe skin with an alcohol-free toner or witch hazel when you're through. With regular use, you'll be able to improve the look of your pores — but be warned, doing so can lead to a mildly pathetic quasiaddiction.