How to Safely Remove Keratin Plugs

How to Remove Hard Keratin Plugs?

Hard keratin plugs are not easy to remove. They may cause pain when removing them. You must have a special tool called a needle nose pliers or similar tools for this task. These pliers are used only if you want to do it yourself, otherwise professional removal service will be needed. If you don’t have such tools, then your best option would be to hire someone who does have these specialized tools.

You need to use a special kind of alcohol (like rubbing alcohol) to loosen the hard keratin plugs. Then you need to apply pressure with a cotton ball until they come off easily. Do not try using any other kinds of solvents like nail polish remover, acetone etc., because they might damage the skin and cause infection.

Also avoid harsh chemicals like bleach which could cause permanent damage to your face!

The first step is to make sure the area where you want to remove the hard keratin plugs is clean. You can use a mild soap and water solution or even just plain warm water. Rinse well after cleaning.

If you are going to use alcohol, make sure it’s pure alcohol, not something else like diethyl ether, ethyl acetate or methanol. Don’t worry about getting poison ivy or poison oak from drinking such things! The amount that comes in contact with your face will not be enough to cause an allergic reaction. Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol is fine but do not use 70% or higher because it can cause burns!

If you want to use acetone (nail polish remover) or ethyl acetate (glue-removing), remember that these chemicals are more harsh than rubbing alcohol. You should only use these if the problem area is just a few small spots. Acetone should never be used on broken skin, just like with removing nail polish!

Then you use the needle nose pliers to grab and pull out the hard keratin plug. This can be pretty painful so you might want to have a pain reliever (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen) handy. If the area is raw, you probably want some antibiotic ointment as well to prevent infection.

When pulling out hard keratin plugs, it is usually helpful to first soak the area with the rubbing alcohol. You don’t want to soak it, just get it a little damp. If you have a lot of plugs, you may repeat this process. But make sure you let everything dry before moving on to the next step!

A word of caution: pulling out plugs can sometimes cause unsightly red dots and even white pustules if the area was already irritated. This goes away after a few days. You can also experience some bleeding. Both of these symptoms are temporary.

How to Safely Remove Keratin Plugs?

After trying over the counter creams and home remedies, you can visit a dermatologist to remove your keratin plugs. Your dermatologist will most likely use liquid nitrogen to freeze the affected area and then scrape it off. This process is a lot less painful and more efficient than pulling out the plugs individually.

Your dermatologist may also be able to tell you what caused the keratin plugs since this can help in preventing future occurrences.

Does pulling out hard keratin plugs work?

Yes. Pulling out hard keratin plugs is fairly effective, but like with most things, the results can vary. You can usually prevent or minimize future occurrences by maintaining good hygiene and keeping your skin healthy.

Sources & references used in this article:

Dermoscopy on nevus comedonicus: a case report and review of the literature by G Kamińska-Winciorek, R Śpiewak – Advances in Dermatology and …, 2013 –

Transpapillary drug delivery to the breast by K Dave, R Averineni, P Sahdev, O Perumal – PloS one, 2014 –

Sonography of the hand and foot in foreign body detection. by GA Gooding, T Hardiman, M Sumers… – Journal of ultrasound …, 1987 – Wiley Online Library

Treatment of multiple keratoacanthomas with intralesional fluorouracil by SW Eubanks, RH Gentry, JW Patterson… – Journal of the American …, 1982 – Elsevier

Verrucous carcinoma of the larynx—a misnomer by H Glanz, O Kleinsasser – Archives of oto-rhino-laryngology, 1987 – Springer