Skin & Body Care

This "Skin Spatula" Apparently Scrapes Your Blackheads Away

Hold on to your pores: There's a new kind of pimple-popping device in town. It's called the "skin spatula," and it claims to de-gunk your pores one disgustingly satisfying scrape at a time. But is it skin-care expert-approved? Short answer: Not really. Allow us to explain.

In case you weren't getting enough up-close-and-personal pore action on YouTube (and soon-to-be on prime time), at-home pore-cleaning tweezers and tools are popping up so you can get down to the grossly satisfying process on your own face. The latest DIY blackhead removing tool is a skin spatula — an ultrasonic spatula-like device that use vibrations to loosen the built-up oil and sebum in your pores as you scrape it out. Um, ew?

At first look, the vibrating action seems promising. "Sonic-cleansing brushes use vibrating action to loosen oils, dirt, and debris from pores," Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, tells Allure. But the idea of using pressure to scrape the pores is a big red flag for derms.

"This could scrape or scratch the skin if too much pressure is applied — especially in those with sensitive skin or those using retinoids," Shari Marchbein, New York City-based dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine, tells Allure.

Aside from the potential damage to your skin caused by squeezing, Marchbein is skeptical that skin spatulas could even remove blackheads effectively. When a dermatologist performs an extraction on a clogged pore, sebaceous filament comes out, she says, referring to those waxy little balls that literally pop out of a clogged pore.

Skin spatula devices show a milky, oily liquid coming out of pores. It's the same as if you squeezed pores with your fingers, she says. In other words, ineffective. "It will not minimize pore size, and the pore will fill back up immediately with sebum because that is what pores do," Marchbein explains.

Rather than use some new-fangled, and potentially harmful, device, derms say old-school methods of de-gunking your pores are the most effective. Retinoids (either over-the-counter or prescription), salicylic and glycolic acid pads, scrubs, and gels are your best bets — especially for people who breakout easily or have large pores, Marchbein says.

"Exfoliating can help remove dead cells from the skin's surface that enlarge pores," she explains. (She recommends St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub.)

That being said, save the spatula for your summer barbecues.

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