What is a “steamin?”

When I started four years ago, I didn’t know what a steam and extractions was. I thought everyone was saying steamin extractions and one day I finally asked, “What is a steamin and why does it need to be extracted?” Everyone got a good chuckle out of that and then they slowly sounded out the words that they were saying, “Steam aaannnddd extractions.” Since then I’ve called it a steam with extractions because saying steam and extractions reminds me of sounding very silly. I don’t think anybody likes that feeling.


So after I learned what it was, I felt like I should experience it for myself.



I didn’t really get it. I was confused because I thought; you’re just popping my pimples. My initial impression was; I can just do this at home, no big deal. I also felt that when you do something to yourself, it doesn’t hurt as much or rather, I could go a bit harder on myself.


So, that was my experience. I didn’t really understand. But, I did notice that after about a week or so I wasn’t getting as many new blackheads. My problem area is my nose. To confess, I’m a habitual pimple popper. I would squeeze the blackheads on my nose almost every day. My nose would get really red and I would look like Rudolph. Then, I would stop and be back at it again the next day to get the rest.

And this just kind of went on for awhile. Now I should’ve known better because my mother is a dermatologist. But, I’m also very stubborn and don’t listen, unfortunately for my red nose. So I got the steam with extractions and about a week later I didn’t have to squeeze on my nose as much. I didn’t have nearly as many blackheads popping back up. So, I talked to the esthetician and asked, “Why didn’t they come back when you did it?” When you have it done by a professional, they seem to stay gone for longer and I had a clear complexion.

I was happy about that. I work at a dermatology office and it’s very embarrassing to walk around in the office with pimples and blackheads on your face. You always feel like people are looking at your face and judging the practice based on your skin.

What’s the difference?

So, I was talking to her about it and she said, “Well, you don’t do it right, basically.” And I said, “What do you mean?” And she said, “Well, do you use a hot towel before?” Answer, “No.” Then she said, “Well, do you clean the area with at least a toner?” I said, “No” to that as well. I told her, I just start squeezing. Then she asked if I cleansed the area after I was done and I said no to that also.

Then she said, “All you’re doing is taking the bacteria out of your pores and spreading it on your face.” When I thought about it, I felt dumb and gross. I never considered what I was doing. She told me that most people don’t. Most of us think, “OK, if I squeeze it out, if I get rid of it, then it goes away.” Not really.



What I Learned:

Steam with extractions is different than squeezing your blackheads in the bathroom mirror. Also, you get better results when they are done by a professional. But, if you prepare accordingly (see Monique’s article) you can get decent results.

I still get blackheads but I don’t look like a speckled trout anymore. And that’s good because nobody wants to look like a fish.