This Is The Facial Treatment That Ended My Obsession With Extractions

But it still resulted in a giant blackhead, floating in a jar

My favorite part of facials has always been the extractions. And, while I am not the type of person who picks their skin or pops their pimples, I always relish the moment when the deepest impurities—the blackheads, clogged pores, and blemishes—are extracted from my face by an aesthetician, leaving me feeling entirely clean.

But, as articles began to emerge debating the actual effectiveness of extractions, I began to question whether the facials I was getting were beneficial to my skin, and grew wary of the potential for excess inflammation or even a broken capillary. And so, I started exploring alternative treatments—lasers, lymphaticdrainage facials—that didn't require hands physically unclogging my pores; it was then that I came upon Dermalinfusion, a 20-minute treatment that allowed me to truly witness what was hiding beneath my skin.

While Sona Tolani, CMO at Envy Medical, developer of Dermalinfusion, doesn't think manual extractions are necessarily bad for the skin, she does point out that "there is a risk of applying too much pressure on the skin which could result in puncturing or injuring the skin. You also don’t want to force anything out of the skin." Dermalinfusion is a non-invasive, three-in-one dermatological treatment that uses a diamond tip to simultaneously exfoliate skin and remove dry and damaged cells; extract, using vacuum pressure, dirt, debris, and bacteria from the surface and pores; and infuse the skin with condition-specific serum. But while it removes impurities and brings any clogged pores to the skin's surface, Dermalinfusion exfoliates at a controlled depth, ensuring "the skin is not going to be damaged or that we are forcing anything to happen."

I walked into the diamond-yielding hands of Cynthia Rivas the morning following a flight home from Europe. After undergoing a consultation regarding my skin concerns, we settled on the Vitamin C serum to clarify up my skin, ridding it of its post-flight dullness. "Dermalinfusion is truly a customizable treatment because of both the six diamond tips with different abrasion levels and the four different Pro-Infusion Serums," says Tolani. In addition to the Vitamin C serum, there is also Skin Brightening serum to help with hyperpigmentation, an Ultra-Hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid to quench the skin, and a Pore Clarifying version with salicylic acid to combat enlarged pores and oily skin. Rivas also selected a diamond tip with a mild abrasion level. "There are five different abrasion levels plus one smooth tip that treats the eyes and lips areas, areas not typically treated with this type of treatment. Each diamond tip has different grit strength and ranges from mild to more advanced exfoliation options," Tolani says. "The variety of tips provides options for ALL skin types, from the most sensitive to the most resilient. Patients can also start off on a less aggressive diamond tip and eventually graduate to a stronger tip."

Once I'd lain down, Rivas glided the tip (connected via tubes to a machine and a jar) over my face. While I definitely felt pressure from the diamond plate sloughing at dead skin—especially around my forehead, chin, and nose—and felt the suction from the vacuum sucking at my pores (which, in turn, were filled with serum), it wasn't painful. Unpleasant, sure, but not painful. 

The best part came following the treatment when I was presented with a jar of milky liquid—made up of oil, dirt, and bacteria—sucked out of my face. It was disgusting but also satisfying to witness the tangible results of a cleansed face. "Most of the serum is infused into the skin, but a portion of the serum is used to facilitate with the exfoliation and extraction process to help provide a cushion onto the skin as this is not a 'dry' treatment. During that process, the excess serum, dirt, debris, and anything else found on the skin surface and in the pores are deposited into a 'waste jar',” says Tolani of the liquid found in the bottle. "Some people will see dead skin cells, sebum, and other 'floaters,' which is usually the aha moment because we don’t always realize what we put our skin through on a daily basis… With all the pollution in the air, we really do a number on our skin." And there was hard proof of this, I realized, as I looked, mesmerized, at one giant blackhead floating in the jar, wondering where in my face it could have come from (my nose probably, Rivas told me).

And while, given the pressure applied to my face and the size of the blackhead sucked out, I expected my face to be red or at least flush following the treatment, there was no downtime post-facial at all. My face was instantly glowy, smoother, and less dull, like I'd just gotten the best sleep of my life, instead of spending seven hours trying to fall asleep next to a snoring stranger on a plane. 

"Immediately after the treatment, the skin will feel thoroughly cleaned, refreshed, even in skin tone and texture," says Tolani, who recommends people commit to at least four to six treatments with four to six weeks in between (though you can do the treatment as frequently as every two weeks) to see the results. "[In the long run,] Dermalinfusion can help with hyperpigmentation, evening skin texture and tone, sallow skin, oil-prone skin, enlarged pores, dehydrated skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and more."

For me, it meant the end of extractions, with the satisfaction of seeing a blackhead, floating in a jar.