If there’s one person you’d expect would know their shit when it comes to banishing blackheads and pimples off your mug, it’s Dr Pimple Popper.

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Her real name’s Dr. Sandra Lee, and she’s internet famous for her outrageously gross yet compelling extraction videos, like this one:

We asked Sandra for her best tips on doing your own pimple popping and extractions at home.

KNOW WHEN TO STOP

The most important thing according to Sandra is knowing when it’s relatively okay to pop a pimple, and when you need to leave it be.

“If after 10 seconds (30 seconds, tops) if nothing’s coming out you need to put your hands down and leave it alone,” she says.

The thing is, if you keep squeezing something that doesn’t want to budge, you run the risk of damaging your skin in a more permanent fashion.

“If you traumatise your skin you can create permanent scars, and that’s not what you want. If your skin is getting red, irritated or inflamed that means you’re doing something wrong, most likely.”

DO THE PREP WORK

When it comes to blackheads in particular, it’s not your best bet to go in without prepping the skin.

“Steam your skin to open the pores first. Then the dirt in your blackheads is softer, and easier to extract. Taking a hot shower or even putting your head over a bowl of steaming water works,” says Sandra.

You also need to make sure your instruments are clean – including hands.

“Make sure everything is clean. Use clean, sterilised instruments. I use a comedone extractor in my videos, and you can get them at drugstores and things like that. They’re metal so you can put them in boiling water or some rubbing alcohol to make sure they’re as clean as possible. Also make sure your fingers and hands are clean.”

USE PRODUCTS THAT DO THE JOB FOR YOU

If you’re prone to regular blackheads and breakouts, use products designed to clear them up without physical work. Certain ingredients will not only help eradicate existing stuff, they’ll also prevent further pimples and blackheads in future.

“Look for ingredients like salicylic acid – it settles down within your pores and it’s an exfoliant, so it can help clean out the dead skin cells and oil within your pores. Also retinol, which can help to minimise or prevent the formation of new blackheads. Those are the two main ingredients that are over the counter,” says Sandra.

KNOW WHEN YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP

There’s one situation Sandra doesn’t suggest getting personally involved in – acne. Severe acne is a time to see a professional, because you run the risk of damaging your skin if you take it on solo.

“If you have severe acne, those deeper cysts and nodules under the skin, that’s when you should seek out a professional, because that more likely can lead to permanent scarring,” she stresses.

Dr. Sandra Lee stars in Dr. Pimple Popper, which follows the YouTube sensation as she works with four patients and their skin concerns. Catch it on TLC this Sunday 5 August at 6.30pm and Monday 7 August at 7.30pm.

Image: Dr Pimple Popper