Nobody likes blackheads or clogged pores.
They make your skin look rough, bumpy, uneven and dirty, even if you cleanse religiously.
In fact, they suck so much that many people have tried to combat them by sucking right back — with a pore vacuum.
The ability to simply vacuum your blackheads away sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, but it’s very real. And it’s within your reach.
So what is a pore vacuum and how does it work? And is there a catch to this miraculous-sounding product?
We’ve got the answers to your most pressing pore vacuum questions right here.
What Does a Pore Vacuum Do?
Many skincare devices and treatments have confusing or nondescript names, but a pore vacuum isn’t one of them.
It’s exactly what it claims to be: a vacuum for your pores.
It removes blackheads — the dark buildups in your pores comprised of keratin, sweat, oil and dirt — using suction rather than chemicals or physical scrubs.
How Does a Pore Vacuum Work?
To understand how a pore vacuum works, let’s take a closer look at the composition of a blackhead.
Your pores contain glands that produce an oil known as sebum. Sebum’s purpose is to keep your skin soft and protect it from dry air.
But sebum can build up in your pores over time, and its oily nature attracts dirt and dead skin cells. As these accumulate in your pore opening, they form a small bump that can either be closed or open.
When the bump is closed, it’s called a whitehead. But when it opens, the sebum and gunk inside it turns black as it’s exposed to air, forming an aptly-named blackhead.
It may be unsightly, but this opening is actually a blessing in disguise if you use a pore vacuum. Because the blackhead is open to the air, it can be sucked out by the vacuum — if it was closed, the vacuum would have no effect.
How Do You Use a Pore Vacuum?
Using a pore vacuum is easy — you just need a little bit of prep to get ready for the procedure.
First, loosen up the buildup in your blackheads by cleansing your skin as you normally do. If you don’t want to cleanse, you can use steam to loosen the buildup by running a warm shower or using a personal steamer.
Then dry your face thoroughly. You don’t want water getting in the pore vacuum, so don’t leave any on your skin.
Grab your pore vacuum and turn it on. Make sure it’s on the lowest suction level to start with — you can always turn it up later if it’s not powerful enough.
Then gently move the vacuum across your clogged pores. Use long, smooth strokes and don’t leave the vacuum in one place for more than a few seconds.
Continue vacuuming until you’ve cleared out all of your blackheads. Then clean the pore vacuum tip in hot water, sanitize it with rubbing alcohol and store it in a clean, dry place.
Are Pore Vacuums Effective at Clearing Blackheads and Clogged Pores?
When used on mild to moderate blackheads, and with proper prep, pore vacuums are very effective. You’ll see your clogs get sucked right out of your skin as you use the vacuum.
However, pore vacuums aren’t very effective at clearing whiteheads, which occur when the skin remains closed over the pore buildup, trapping it in a tiny bump.
The buildup needs to be accessible from the surface of the skin in order for the vacuum to work. If it’s very close to the surface, a pore vacuum may be able to suck it out, but most whiteheads will remain unaffected.
And pore vacuums won’t do anything to help you with other skin issues like acne, scarring, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation or blemishes.
It’s also important to note that pore vacuums are only a temporary fix for blackheads. They don’t prevent future blackheads from forming, so you’ll need to continue using the pore vacuum as you develop new blackheads.
Are There Any Side Effects from Using a Pore Vacuum?
The most common side effects from pore vacuum use are redness and broken capillaries. These typically fade within a few days.
Bruising can also occur, especially if you leave the pore vacuum in one place for too long, or if you use it on too high of a setting.
The physical stress caused by the pore vacuum can also result in microtears — tiny rips in the skin that can become inflamed or infected. This is why it’s important to always use the lowest suction setting on the vacuum and to keep the device moving across your skin.
Those with sensitive skin may experience these side effects more severely and may want to consider another method of removing blackheads.
Additionally, those with medium or dark skin can develop hyperpigmentation or permanent redness after using a pore vacuum. If you have darker skin, exercise extreme caution when using a pore vacuum.
Do You Really Need a Pore Vacuum?
Tackling skin issues means choosing the right tool for the job. So how do you know if a pore vacuum is the right thing to use?
Well, if you deal with constant blackheads and need a quick fix, then a pore vacuum is just what you need. You’ll be able to vacuum up that buildup as if it were crumbs on a carpet.
And if you find that your blackheads appear at the worst possible times — like right before a big event or job interview — then a pore vacuum can be handy to have around. It rapidly removes blackheads so you can have clear skin when you need it.
But if you’re not so concerned with your immediate appearance and are more interested in long-term blackhead prevention, a pore vacuum may not be for you. It does nothing to prevent blackheads — for that, you’ll need a skincare routine focused on acne control.
So Do Pore Vacuums Really Work?
In short: yes. Pore vacuums do exactly what they claim to: vacuum blackhead clogs out of your pores for clear, even skin.
But there are caveats.
Pore vacuums may not be effective on severe, stubborn blackheads that are deeply embedded in the skin. And they won’t magically make you immune to future blackheads, nor will they work reliably on other types of clogged pores.
But if you’re in search of a fast, easy way to get rid of your blackheads, a pore vacuum may just work wonders for you.