The title of this article should be “What Not To Do,” because in reality you should absolutely, never ever pop your pimples. If you leave them alone and let nature run its course, they will typically heal on their own within 7 days. Now we’re betting a lot of you are pretty impatient, and 7 days feels more like a life sentence with something that big and red protruding from your skin. Even though you shouldn’t do it, you probably will, and it’s our job to give you some tips so you make it the LEAST damaging to your skin as possible.
Why shouldn’t I pop my pimple?
Okay, I have one more chance to convince you not to do the inevitable… so here goes! When you pick and prod at your pimple, you are adding more dirt, debris and bacteria to the infected area. This only inflames the pore more, making it even redder and more infected. If you keep picking at it, it’s very possible it may lead to scarring. Once your skin is scarred from acne, it is a lengthy and hard process to reverse the damage, though it can be done with scar reducing serums and creams.
Help – I Can’t Resist the Urge to Pop
If you must do it, then at least wait until the whitehead shows. This can sometimes take a little while for the puss to collect beneath the skin and reach the surface. WAIT. If you do it too early, you are increasing your risk for an infection and scarring.
If you have cystic acne that is deep below the skin and hasn’t formed a white head, then STAY AWAY!! We can’t stress this enough. Cystic acne is entirely too deep to try to pop. See a board-certified dermatologist if you can’t keep your hands off.
Prepping the Skin
First, wash your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap and dry them with a CLEAN towel that has never been used, not your hand towel that has sat in your bathroom all week. Next, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry.
Popping a Pimple
Try to avoid touching the pimple with your bare hands. No matter how long and hard you scrubbed them, there is still bacteria on your hands. Use a Q-tip, tissue, or even a clean acne extractor to pop the pimple. With a Q-tip, you can wet it and gently roll it over the blemish and it should pop from the pressure. If you’re using a tissue, gently squeeze the white head with it and it should release the puss within. Acne extractors may also be used but with extreme caution. You must be very careful when your positioning the tool to not hurt healthy skin.
The Healing Process
Once the pimple is popped and the damage is done, it is important to keep the area clean so that no bacteria re-enters the open skin. Use an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide to keep bacteria at bay, and then quit touching your skin and fussing over it. Just leave the area alone and let it heal, which can take a few days.