beauty

ROADTEST: I tried one of those pore suction devices and... well, I gave myself a face hickey.

I don’t know when the obsession started, but at some point in beauty history, we became overly preoccupied with our pores. Actually, not even just our pores, but ANY pores.

We started closely analysing our noses in those mirrors that are so magnified they can be offensive to look into. We started peering at our friends' and partners' pores, asking if we could attack their blackheads. 

Then we started watching people squeeze and extract pores on YouTube, turning dermatologists into millionaire internet sensations. We started buying anything beauty companies sold to us to ‘clear’, ‘shrink’, or ‘remove’ our pores. 

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Which seems a bit silly if you think about it, given our skin needs them in order to function. But we didn’t want little holes on our faces that sometimes get clogged with all sorts of nasty things; we wanted photoshopped-clear, smooth skin.

So we started slathering on peel-off masks, using pore-minimising drops and ripping off our skin with strips. Then the obsession got even more hectic when some clever person decided to create a device that literally sucks the gunk out of your pores. 

So as a beauty aficionado, I decided it was my job to give one a red hot go and see what they did, how they worked, if they irrevocably damaged my skin etc. etc.

What pore suction tool did I use? 

Well, I had a google, and you can buy a myriad of different ‘pore suckers’ (not the correct name), starting at only $26. 

This seemed… dangerous, and there was no way I was going to use a treatment device on my skin that costs the same as a good lunch. 

So I got my paws on the Rodan+Fields Pore Cleansing MD System which is a LOT more cashed up at $356. 

What does a pore suction tool do? 

Exactly what it sounds like, a nifty little tool that sucks up the dead skin cells, excess sebum, and gunk out of your pores. 

It uses a combination of pressure and suction to pull the gunk out, collecting in the clear little head, which is satisfying AF for someone who enjoys such grossness.  

How do you use it? 

You turn it on and go for gold. Well, that's what I did initially but please don't do that because you can seriously damage your skin.

Best practice is to steam your skin prior (get in a hot shower, way more fun than sticking your head over a bowl) so your pores soften. 

Then use any prep serum supplied (my device came with one), before beginning the fun. Turn the device on (start on a lower setting), stick the head/nozzle thingy on your congested areas you're hoping to 'de-pore' and slowly slide over your skin. 

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DO NOT, AND I REPEAT, DO NOT, LEAVE ON A SECTION OF SKIN FOR LONGER THAN 2 SECONDS. You will give yourself a face hickey, which is far from the clear and glowing complexion you were aiming for. 

DO make sure you watch the clear head/nozzle thingy as it snatches the gunk from your pores like a greedy grabber at a sample sale - easily the best part of the process.

What does a professional think of a pore suction tool?

So I messaged my skin therapist (@_face.byjanewales_) and asked what she thought about the viral product. 

Jane said that while there are some on the market that definitely work better than others, the safest and most effective way to reduce congestion is steaming, peels, needling and at-home chemical exfoliants. 

She said that when used incorrectly or on a more sensitive skin type, the suction can actually cause damage to the skin; resulting in at best, a face hickey (what I did to myself) and at worst, broken capillaries (small red wiggles), which can only be fixed with laser treatments.   

What do I think?

As I mentioned above, I just went for it when I opened it. 

Sliding it all over my skin with abject fascination as I watched the gunk come free, not unlike my front pouch when it's released from jeans at the end of the day.

It definitely worked, but no better than a good cleanse and exfoliation sesh, plus I gave myself a face hickey. Quite hard to explain to friends at a thirtieth that night as I'm sure you can imagine.

A week after I first used it, I got it out to test on a pesky blackhead that perpetually lives on my chest. No amount of exfoliating, extractions or treatments can get rid of the bastard, so I tried to get him out with my sucker, and no such luck. 

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Another week or so passed and I had a giant zit on my face. It had taken up residence on my cheek, and no amount of prodding and squeezing seemed to evict the insides, so on the sucker went and removed a LOT of pus and blood. This was also ineffective though as it got bigger, and I think I just gave myself an infection. Hot. 

My husband was keen to give it a go, too. Like many an image-conscious chap, he was concerned about his pores and wanted them clear, so on went the sucker and oh my god don't use it on sensitive skin EVER. His face just bled. Like, actually bled, not just broken capillaries. It was quite alarming, so we quickly ceased use. 

Would I recommend a pore suction tool to other skincare/pore enthusiasts?  

Not really, no. I think the cheaper ones are just internet gimmicks and the more expensive devices (like mine) are only effective when used by a professional and other forms of skincare or treatments would be more effective anyway.  

So don't waste your money peeps. Satisfying - yes. Worth the face hickey - no. 

Have you used a pore suction device, or do you have another pore treatment to recommend? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature image: Supplied.

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