Sebaceous filaments. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Often confused with blackheads, they're a normal part of your skin, but some folks have more prominent sebaceous filaments than others. They're often found on your nose, and can stick out a bit; this is why some folks want to clear them out. Redditors on r/SkincareAddiction (my favorite place on the entire internet, after @dog_feelings) are trying the 50 Shades of Snail Mucus method to remove their SFs, and the results are truly satisfying in a Dr. Pimple Popper kind of way.

First off — what are sebaceous filaments?

Simply put, they're oil plugs in your pores. Your skin normally creates oil (sebum), and thanks to gravity, they travel into your pores like water swirling down a drain. SFs can be skin-colored or turn brown when they oxidize in the air. They are not blackheads. SFs are much smaller and are not considered a type of acne. They are a perfectly normal part of your skin, and everyone has 'em.

So why do people want to extract them?

For the same reason people extract blackheads — cosmetic purposes! Some people find sebaceous filaments (debatably) unsightly and prefer a smoother skin surface. It's important to note that, since they're a part of your skin, they will come back no matter how many times you extract them. Do not pick or squeeze them! In addition to irritation and broken capillaries, it can stretch out your pores, a sad fact I wish I learned in my twenties. Nose strips are a no-go for the same reason.

Blogger Fifty Shades of Snail invented the sebaceous filament removal method.

Jude Chao is credited with popularizing the method, which is named after her blog. The Fifty Shades of Snail method addresses SFs in a gentle manner. You can read about the full method here, but put simply: 

•Apply a liquid BHA to your skin and wait 20 minutes for it to do its magic

•Apply a clay mask over the BHA-treated area. Don't rinse off the BHA prior to smoothing on the mask.

•After the mask dries, rinse it off and apply a cleansing oil. Don't rinse, and wait another 15 minutes.

•After the time is up, massage the area with the cleansing oil. You should feel little pieces of "grit" on your fingertips. Those are the sebaceous filaments. Gross but so satisfying.

Here's one Reddit user's successful extractions.

Reddit user motherofcatss kicked off the r/SkincareAddiction SF spree with this post. They followed the 50 Shades of Snail method to a T and shared their removed plugs. Are you soothed? I'm soothed –– and it's not even my skin. "And while massaging all the little black dots came out ... even some bigger white sebum gunks. It was the most satisfying thing I've ever done in my life. 10/10 would recommend," they wrote. Aaaand now everyone is racing to the bathroom to try this.

Look at those things!

EW. AWESOME. COOL. YIKES. Yes, that came out of the Reddit user redditpage076's face. In describing their 50 Shades of Snail process, they wrote:

"I applied the stridex liquid and kept dabbing more on as it dried for a few minutes, then left a layer on for 20 minutes. Next I did the aztec mask mixed with water. I did the mask on top of the Stridex and left both on for 20 more minutes while the mask dried. Washed off with cool water and makeup wipes to get the bulk of the mask, and rinsed again with water. Air dried for a few minutes and then applied squalane oil generously and waited 15 minutes.

I have dry skin, so the oil absorbed quickly but I added more as needed, and massaged GENTLY for 5 minutes. The SFs started coming out after around 3 minutes for me."

Another user was similarly successful.

Now this is impressive. Reddit user sirenav followed the same method and posted before-and-after photos. As you can see, their skin is much smoother. 

"I followed the steps but didn’t get any 'grits' or anything visible/tangible. However I do feel it worked nicely as you can tell with the pictures," they wrote, which is an important point. Following the method may not result in that satisfying gritty feeling, but the end result is worth it.