To Pop a Pimple or Not to Pop a Pimple
The first thing you should know before you pop a pimple is that it can do a lot more harm than good. So we beg you to refrain from touching the zit in question. We know how tempting it can be to want to get in there with your fingers and do what we like to call “bathroom surgery” on your skin, but here’s a little statistic that may stop you in your tracks. When you pop a zit, more than half of the bacteria from the acne lesion get reintroduced back into the skin. When you break the skin, which is what you’re doing when you pop a zit, you have the unfortunate opportunity to get a scar or get an infection. One of the best preventative measures you can take is to leave your skin in the hands of professionals and walk away from the bathroom mirror. That said, we know that leaving a huge whitehead untouched takes a huge amount of restraint and will most likely not happen. When your zit simply must be popped, follow these rules and tips to make sure you do good job.
Which Pimples Should be Popped
Let’s start out by clarifying exactly which zits should get popped. The only blemishes that you should be attempting to pop are whiteheads—meaning they have an outwardly white appearance, which is the bacteria ready to come out. If the pimple in question is red and does not have a whitehead, do not even attempt to rid of it yourself. Those are cysts that should not be touched by anyone who is not a licensed skincare professional. Now that you’re aware of which pimples can be popped, let’s discuss the steps.
The Right Way to Pop a Pimple
The number one step is to wash your hands. That may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to learn how many people touch and toy with their skin using dirty hands. Next step is to press a warm compress, either a cotton pad or a washcloth, against the pimple area for about two minutes. This will soften the skin around the zit, making self-extraction easier. Now, wrap your (dry) fingers in toilet paper or use to cotton swabs and begin squeezing. Make sure you squeeze very gently and push up as you squeeze. Pushing down will make it easier for the P. acnes bacteria to get back into the skin. Wait for all of the white bacteria to drain from the pimple and stop squeezing when you see blood. As soon as you’re done with the squeeze, apply pressure to the area with a warm compress. Spot treat the now popped zit with hydrocortisone to help with inflammation and salicylic acid to kill any remaining bacteria.
Why You Should Never Pop Cystic Acne
As we mentioned before, popping cystic acne (those red, inflamed bumps with no whitehead) is a very bad idea indeed. It is near impossible to drain the fluid in cystic acne without the help of a licensed dermatologist or skincare professional. Digging a hole into your skin trying to drain a cystic pimple is very harmful.
The Best Way to Pop a Pimple
The absolute best way to pop a zit is to come into the office for a cortisone injection. One tiny prick of the needle into your pimple will flatten it out safely and effectively in just 24 hours. Letting the dermatologist pop your pimple will ensure that you do not get a scar and are left acne-free without any residual bacteria.