But I was talking to Liz Earle the other day and she reckons its fine to DIY as long as you follow some basic guidelines:
1. Give skin a good cleanse first and only extract after a shower, bath or steam so skin is soft and easier to work.
2. Make sure your hands are scrupulously clean.
3. Always use a tissue its kinder (and cleaner) on skin than bare nails.
4. Use a little plant-based oil on the area before you extract (mineral oils can clog pores). It protects the skin and makes extractions easier. (Try Superskin Concentrate by Liz Earle, from £5.)
5. Use a magnifying mirror or at least make sure you have plenty of light.
6. Dont over-poke. If a black head or spot doesnt budge after a bit of massaging around, leave it. (Think of extractions as an on-going part of your cleansing routine you dont have to get them all out every time but removing the worst will keep skin looking clear.)
7. Use a little antiseptic afterwards diluted witch hazel or a few drops of tea tree oil on a damp cotton wool pad works fine.
8. Help eliminate black heads by always cleansing with a muslin cloth. Within six weeks, your blackheads should have disappeared, says Liz. Use an oil based cleanser to loosen make-up and dirt, soak your muslin cloth in warm water and use it in firm strokes to clean up. If youre prone to break-outs, shake a few drops of tea tree oil on to your damp cloth first.