I have nothing against my aesthetician Nina; she’s the best in town. Nina knows so much about our skin and what causes it to hate us, so I trust her implicitly.
But man, what a depressing facial! The extracting of my clogged pores with a microscopic scalpel wasn’t nearly as painful as hearing no soda, no coke, no red bull, no sugar free red bull, no oil, no French fries, no sweet potato fries, no fried anything. As if I could just cut fried food out of my diet? That doesn’t exactly work for me. I’m half black–half of my diet is fried.
Ever since I started reading up about skincare I learned there are two camps: one that believes diet does affect acne and one that does not. Nina is of the camp that does. I have tiny pores, like most African Americans, and mine get clogged up really easily because of the stuff I am putting into my body. I pay over 200 dollars for acne medication, but Nina says it starts with what I eat. If I wasn’t eating all those buffalo wings, she probably wouldn’t have to squeeze so hard when she does extractions.
Like all dermatologists, Nina says extractions should be left for a professional. There is no right way to pop your pimples at home. They nonetheless need to be popped (if they are not, they can develop into cysts); but you need to find a facialist to do it for you. In the Los Angeles area, Nina at Wilshire Aesthetics is the best. (The facials are covered by insurance there, but she also has a few private clients). The reason we can’t do them at home is because there is a process, a methodology that needs to be followed in order to prep the skin for prime squeezing. Most of us just walk right up to the mirror and go to town, and that is all bad. But if you absolutely cannot resist that volcanic eruption, there are a few things you can practice to reduce scarring and bleeding.
Nina begins by washing off all the makeup and dirt with a cleansing milk. A cleansing milk contains oil, and you need oil to break down oil. It’s ideal to use a cleansing milk before you wash with your regular cleanser, to ensure everything is completely broken down. She then hyper-hydrates the skin with steam and primes the pores with an enzyme compound. Now most of us don’t have enzymes laying around in the medicine cabinet, but warm cloth compresses are crucial to soften up the nasty that lies below the surface.
Then let the games begin! Nina starts dicing up my clogged little pores with her micro-scalpel tool that feels like a tiny needle. Her hands are covered in latex gloves, but she also wraps her fingers in tissue for the squeezing. Sanitation is the most important thing. Clean, clean, and clean some more before and after you pop. If your fingers aren’t clean, you will trap bacteria in the pore and cause inflammation…AKA craters on yo face. Don’t use your nails when you pop because that will break the skin. And don’t press too hard; if nothing comes out, it’s simply not ready. If you can avoid popping at all, it’s best to wait for a professional.
After Nina’s done with me, my face looks less like a minefield and more like a face. But I still had some questions. What about laser skin resurfacing? Chemical peels? Even if the breakouts stop, my scars still remain.
“Nina, is there anything we can do for the scars?”, I said.
“You need to wait until you’re not getting any more breakouts before you can think about any of that,” she replied. “If you just trust me, and do what I’m asking you to do,” she continued, “we will take care of your breakouts and your scars. Can you do it?”
No french fries? No hot wings? No fried anything? Sheesh, I feel another identity crisis coming on.
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