There are disgusting (and oddly satisfying) viral videos making their rounds on the internet. Fancy gadgets known as blackhead or pore vacuums have been mesmerizing skincare and beauty lovers. Seeing them in action is pretty gross to watch but you just can’t look away.
Blackheads and other nasty blemishes can be a real pain. According to PubMed Health, blackheads form due to oil, dead skin and other debris clogging up hair follicles. The results? Little, or sometimes even large black spots on your face, usually around the nose, forehead, and chin.
Those with stubborn blackheads know how frustrating they can be. The issue is manageable for most with different washes, peels, and exfoliators. But, for some, they seem impossible to get rid of. Many are turning to these interesting tools as they’ve been all the rage among beauty bloggers and influencers. On Amazon, blackhead vacuums can retail from as little as $5 all the way up to $160. Judging from the viral videos online, they seem to work, but should we really be getting sucked (pun intended) into the craze?
Dermatologist Sandra Lee is better known by her nickname Dr. Pimple Popper. She’s become a sensation online by posting thousands of videos of herself popping cysts and other blemishes for clients. She spoke to Elle about her thoughts on blackhead vacuums. While Lee admits they are effective in sucking debris from the pores, she worries about the suction strength. She says facial bruising or “face hickeys” is one concern, but also warns about something called telangiectasia, which she explains as “superficial blood vessels that dilate because you have too much suction or too much pressure on the surface of the skin.” These red, thread-like blood vessels could become permanent on the skin.
If you’re eager to try the vacuum trend but don’t feel like dealing with face hickeys or telangiectasia, you should seek out a professional. In an interview with Metro UK, facialist, Andy Millward said vacuum devices are used in dermatologist offices, but most importantly they are in the hands of specialists. “In professional vacuum suction treatments, it’s controlled by the aesthetician who can regulate the degree of suction,” he said. “The devices also have a safety mechanism to release suction and break the connection from the skin without causing much damage to the tissues.”
Realistically, skin vacuums shouldn’t even be used for blackhead removal, Millward explained. Instead, dermatologists use them for draining lymph nodes. He says suction isn’t the right way to get rid of blemishes because it’s too harsh on the skin and causes damage to pores.
The final conclusion? As satisfying and mesmerizing as blackhead vacuums are to watch online, you really shouldn’t be using them yourself, according to professionals. The damage they can cause could lead to more skin concerns and even permanent damage. Leave the facial vacuuming to professionals and stick to safer measures to get rid of blemishes. If your blackheads are severe, see a professional (maybe even Dr. Pimple Popper if you’re lucky). No viral trend is worth damaging your precious skin.