Yes, it’s tempting to pop a pimple, but any dermatologist will tell you that you shouldn’t squeeze your skin. You have to admit that popping a pimple is oddly satisfying. The problem is that popping your Pimples won’t permanently eliminate them. Pickingfact, picking at your face might make it hurt even more. Here, Y. Claire Chang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, talks about what can go wrong when trying to fix your skin and tips on pop pimples safely.
What Should You Do Instead of Popping?
Prevent doing-it-yourself pimple popping to avoid these unfavorable side effects. “Rather, use acne medicines and topicals to help prevent and cure acne,” Dr. Chang advises. “Topicals combining benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid may help decrease acne lesions and reduce inflammation.”
See a Dermatologist
Dr. Chang says that if you have a lot of pimples, you should see a board-certified dermatologist who can look at your skin and talk to you about your options. The American Academy of Dermatology Association says that dermatologists may use some of the following techniques to safely pop a pimple, in addition to prescribing medicines to treat acne:
Acne extraction: A doctor uses clean tools to get rid of black and whiteheads.
Corticosteroids: A corticosteroid is injected into a pimple by a doctor. This helps deep, painful acne cysts or nodules heal faster and lessens the chance of scarring.
Incision and drainage: A doctor cuts open a pimple, cyst, or nodule and drains its contents with a sterile needle or surgical blade.
How to Pop a Pimple
- Wash your hands.
Before you touch your skin, always wash with soap and water. If you’re using a comedone extractor, a handheld tool with a hollow circle at the end that removes black and whiteheads, make sure to sterilize the device. This makes it less likely that dirt, dust, or bacteria will get into your skin and cause an infection.
- Put a warm compress on the area or take a warm shower first:
This makes the skin soft and ready for extraction.
- Gently press the skin around the pimple with clean tissue:
Never use your nails to squeeze. This can accidentally scratch the skin’s surface, making it easy for bacteria that cause infections to get in.
- Don’t put too much force on it:
If you try to pop a pimple and it doesn’t come out when you gently press on it, it’s probably too deep, and you shouldn’t try to pop it too hard. When you press hard, it will make the redness and inflammation worse.
So, is it that bad to pop pimples?
Popping pimples is an art; if you don’t know how to do it right, you could make your marks worse. Most of the time, patience is the key to better skin. Both over-the-counter and prescription medicines for acne take some time to work. But if you want to get rid of a spot faster, Dr. Chang says you should always see a dermatologist.
Lesson: Let experts do the squeezing.