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Tools of the Trade: Blemish Extractor

When I mentioned blemish extractors in my recent post about the Biore Self-Heating Mask, many readers wondered what a blemish extractor was, and some of you were horrified when I explained it. But don't be afraid of this handy little tool: In my opinion, it's one of the beauty junkie's best weapons against clogged pores and blackheads. Extractors are also a must-have for anyone with oily skin.

I currently use the Sephora Double-Ended Blemish Extractor ($16), though I haven't found much difference between the different brands. Most all of them feature two loops: a thin wire for whiteheads and a thick, flat loop for blackheads. However, I almost always use the small loop to squeeze out all types of tiny blemishes. For all of the gory details about using a blemish extractor,

First of all, your mom probably told you not to squeeze your pimples, and that is still true. The blemish extractor is meant only for removing clogged pores, which start out tiny and white and often develop into larger, oily blackheads. Don't even think about using a blemish extractor on a real pimple, though.

Start by steaming your face with a warm, wet cloth, or do your pore unclogging after a hot shower or warm mask. To use, select the end with the appropriate size loop and surround the blemish with the loop. Press firmly and slowly slide the loop over the blemish until the clog comes out. If you do it right, it should be quick and easy and highly satisfying!

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