Pulling Out Sebum Plugs With Tweezers | Is It Safe? 

We live in a bubble of spotless skin. Come on, ladies, let’s face it! No matter how hard you try, a final look in the mirror before an important event will surely disappoint you! Ever wondered what’s an array of tiny dots on your face that you notice at a closer view? They may be blackheads, whiteheads, or sebum plugs.

Pulling Out Sebum Plugs With Tweezers

It looks very tempting to squeeze those little irritating bumps on your face or pull them out with a tweezer, but hold on! Should you really consider pulling out sebum plugs with tweezers? Let’s find out. 

Pulling Out Sebum Plugs With Tweezers | Should You Do It?

Before pulling out the root problem, let’s dive deep into what sebum plugs are.

Our body possesses sebaceous glands that secrete oil on various body parts. They release oil on the uppermost layer of every body part where hair growth occurs. These body oils are essential as they lubricate the exposed body. 

sebaceous glands

When we talk about sebaceous glands on the face, the thick oils help moisturize the face and prevent it from drying out. Now when these oils are in excess, these filaments become evident. They then get mixed with impurities and dead skin cells, which makes them look dark.

When the excess sebum is trapped inside the hair follicle, they become sebum plugs. People often mistake them for blackheads and whiteheads, but they are natural remains of the skin.

What Will Happen If You Don’t Pull Out A Sebum Plug?

Sebum plugs are natural, and they may vanish without any treatment. Many testimonials from dermatologists reveal that sebum plugs should be left alone and shouldn’t be disturbed. However, the appearance of a lot of sebum plugs can make the skin look stained and dirty. 

Not getting rid of sebum plugs may lead to the growth of bacteria within the hair follicles that may cause irritation and breakouts. In the worst cases, it can turn into severe acne and papules. Now the thing is, how should you treat your sebum plugs?


You can use various techniques to unclog your pores and clean them, like exfoliation, using topical skincare products or ingredients, clay masks, and tweezer extractions. In this article, I’ll focus on pulling out sebum plugs with tweezers.

What Are Tweezers?

A tweezer is a small metal tool, usually stainless steel, with two hooked arms and sharp ends. They are primarily used to operate or pick up minute things. Tweezers used for extracting sebum plugs are structurally different from those used for plucking brows and upper lip hair. 

Sebum plugs are extracted with tweezers with a small metal loop at one end to remove them. Pulling out sebum plugs with a tweezer can be risky, but it can be done. The following steps demonstrate removing a sebum plug from your face with a tweezer.

How To Remove Sebum Plugs With A Tweezer? 

  1. Skin Prep: Cleanse your face and moisturize to lock in moisture.
  2. Warm-up: Take steam from boiling water and cover a towel around your face to let your skin absorb the heat. Steaming with hot water for at least 5-7 minutes shall allow the pores to loosen and become soft.
  3. Clean-up: Use a sterilized tweezer to remove the plugs gently. It should come off quickly; use a clean cotton pad to wipe off the dirt.
  4. Aftercare: Once the plug is removed, seal it with moisturizer or use an ice cube to reduce inflammation.
Pulling Out Sebum Plugs With Tweezers

The steps seem easy, right? But if you mess up during the extraction, you might tear the skin and cause more significant problems. For this reason, manual extractions with tweezers are generally inadvisable. The extraction process may prove fatal, especially if you have zero experience.

Should You Use A Tweezer To Pull Out Sebum Plugs?

Bluntly speaking, No. I would never recommend you pull out your sebum plugs with tweezers. Using metal tools may promote the spread of germs and cause infection. The facial skin is very delicate, and I do not advise using a metal tool to treat your face. 

Mishandling of equipment, poor pre-extraction preparation, and inexperience can harm your skin in innumerable ways. Now the question arises what will you do if I deter you from using tweezers? Hold on! I have various other safe alternatives too. 

How To Manage The Appearance Of Sebum Plugs?

You must be wondering why I didn’t use the word “remove”?. It’s because we are not here to remove sebum plugs. The main goal is to eliminate any plug that clogs your pores and can prove unhealthy. If I advise you to remove all your sebaceous filaments, you may leave with dry skin. Instead, I suggest other products and techniques to help clear clogged pores.

Exfoliation: The primary technique to get rid of any small bumps or acne is exfoliation. Using physical and chemical exfoliants can help you eliminate all the dirt and impurities settled on your face. It removes unwanted sebum plugs that give birth to blackheads and cause breakouts. 

physical vs chemical exfoliants

Moisturization: I cannot stress enough the importance of moisturization after exfoliation. When you get rid of certain particles, your skin needs to revive its hydration, and this can only be achieved after a generous gallop of your favorite moisturizer.

Topicals: Topicals refer to any medical treatment that involves applying on the skin’s surface. In the case of sebum plugs, certain topicals help decline the appearance of nasty spots on the skin. 

Using chemicals or choosing them in your skincare products can make a difference. Retinol and Glycols, Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide, and AHAs are some of the hero ingredients that can target the affected areas.

Clay Masks: Applying clay masks on a routine basis is another underrated solution you can use if you wish to have spotless skin. Clay masks absorb excess oil and dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. It deeply cleans and unclogs your pores.

clay masks

Pulling Out Sebum Plugs With Tweezers? | The Dermatologists Say

To prove my assertions true, I’ve compiled the testimonies of two dermatologists; Dr. Dendy Engelman and Dr. Ryan Turner. Let’s hear what they have to say.

Dr. Engelman reveals, “While it is essential to remove blackheads, sebaceous filaments are natural and should not be disturbed.” Dr. Turner agrees with this, adding, “They may be natural, but that does not mean their appearance is always appreciated.”

Both doctors come to the bottom line that they shouldn’t be removed or pulled out. However, they do mention some ways to make their appearance invisible.

Dr. Engelman advises making the right choices in skincare products. She emphasizes the importance of Retinols, AHAs, and Vitamin E as they help resurface the skin and defend against aggressors. She also highlights how ‘double cleansing’ at the start of the day helps remove impurities without being abrasive to the skin and disturbing the oil levels.

On the other hand, Dr. Turner defines chemical exfoliants as the “best treatments,” specifically Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid, to prevent blockages and unclog pores.

At a final verdict, both the doctors come to a common conclusion and appeal not to mishandle sebum plugs. They suggest, “One should never try to squeeze sebum plugs, as they cause harm to the skin. It leads to redness, inflammation, and in the longer run, hyperpigmentation, and scarring.”

Frequently Asked Questions | Pulling Out Sebum Plugs With Tweezers

What really are sebum plugs?

Excess sebum, when blocked at the opening of a hair follicle, polluted by dead skin and dirt, clogs pores. These are sebum plugs that are caused due to sebaceous glands.

Are sebum plugs blackheads?

No. Sebum plugs and blackheads are initially different. However, when exposed to air, a sebum plug is oxidized, turns dark, and thus becomes a blackhead.

sebaceous filaments vs blackheads

Are sebum plugs harmful?

Sebum helps to lubricate the skin. When these oils accumulate, they become sebum plugs. They are naturally occurring filaments. However, when it encounters dead skin and dirt, they clog pores and become evident.

Is it okay to pull out sebum plugs?

It is better to leave them alone unless they become visible and block your pores. It entirely depends on your skin condition. Ignoring noticeable sebum plugs may lead to acne and other skin irritations.

How do you dissolve sebum plugs?

One can dissolve sebum plugs with regular cleansing, routine exfoliation, and topical medications. 


Should I use a tweezer to pull out my sebum plugs?

No. Using a tweezer may prove harmful unless it is a professional extraction performed by a dermatologist or an esthetician.

The Final Word

As discussed above, sebum is a part of the body that helps balance our skin’s oil levels and moisturize it. Excess sebum accumulation leads to sebum plugs, which may be normal-looking unless they mix up with dead skin and dirt. 

In this article, we discussed sebum plugs and methods of removing them. We focused on tweezers as the tool to extract sebum plugs. However, with the help of detailed research and the experiences of trusted dermatologists, we have concluded that pulling out sebum plugs with tweezers is not the solution. We came across various reasons for the same and chalked out safer alternatives. I hope you find this article insightful and answer all your doubts with clarity.

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