Popping Pimples: Good or Bad Idea?

How Can You Properly Pop A Pimple?

Young woman squeezing pimple
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Question: Is Popping Pimples A Good or Bad Idea?

Popping pimples is very tempting, especially when you have a large, very visible pimple on your face. It's very hard to resist popping a zit, especially a big one.  A quick squeeze is all you need to help that zit go away faster, right?  Well, it's not as simple as it seems. Put your fingers down, back away from the mirror, and read on.

Answer:

What Exactly is a Pimple?

Your body sheds dead skin cells at a fast rate which is perfectly normal.

The newly shed dead skin cells along with the skin's natural oil can get clogged in the skin pore causing a blockage. In simple terms, a pimple is a blockage of oil and dead skin cells in the skin's pore.  When bacteria is added to this mix of dead skin cells and oil an infection can occur.  When this happens the blockage in your skin cell can get very red, feel painful, and have a white top.  That white top of the pimple is actually pus made up of white blood cells and bacteria.

Is Popping Pimples A Really Bad Idea?

Yes, popping pimples really is a bad idea. Many of you might not believe us and will continue popping, but here is the truth about popping pimples: it can leave scars, it can make your pimples last longer, and can cause an infection which unfortunately will only make the situation much, much worse. Additionally, when you press hard on your skin with your fingers you are transferring dirt and bacteria from your hands to your face.

You definitely do not want this.  

We all know how tempting it is to want to pop your pimples, especially the large ones that seem to take over your face.  We've all done our fair share of pimple popping in our teens even when told not to. No matter what an adult might tell you, when you are a teenager with a large pimple on your face you are going to try to pop that pimple.

 Even adults pop their pimples when they are well aware that this is not the right thing to do.

When you press or squeeze too hard on your pimple you could push the existing infection deeper into your skin and actually cause more pimples to form.  Cystic acne, which are large, very painful nodules under the surface of the skin, should be treated by a dermatologist and not on your own.  The deeper the infection is in your skin the harder it is to get rid of.

What About White Heads?

White heads are easier to pop, and many, many people do pop them. But we will tell you why it's not the best idea. Think about where your fingers have been throughout the day and what they have touched - picking up lots of dirt, grime, germs and even bacteria. When you pop a pimple, you are exposing your skin to the grime that is on your fingers. Popping will leave your pimple inflamed and potentially cause more of an infection to occur, which to our eyes will look like another pimple.  This is also why popping a pimple actually causes the pimple to stay around longer instead of getting better.  When you leave a pimple alone it will go away eventually.

What Alternatives Are There to Popping Pimples?

Using acne products such as spot treatment products like Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, exfoliators that contain salicylic acid like Paula's Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% BHA, and clay masks once a week will help speed the healing of a pimple.

 Keeping up with a daily skin care routine that has anti-acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid will stop pimples from forming in the first place.  Clean and Clear's Advantage Acne Control Kit which has a cleanser, moisturizer and spot treatment has skin care products that can help keep pimples at bay.  Be sure to also use an oil free sunscreen daily as well.

How a Dermatologist or Esthetician Can Help

Visiting a dermatologist is always a good idea if you have chronic or severe acne, especially cystic acne as already mentioned. A doctor can provide prescription products like Retin-A or oral antibiotics if needed. 

Estheticians perform facials which can be the first step in getting your skin clear.  Additionally, an esthetician will take all the guess work out of which skin care products to use at home and how to use them by personalizing your skin care routine just for you.

 They are also available for follow-up questions and consultations so that you don't have to go it alone when it comes to treating your acne.

Bottom Line:  Hands off when it comes to your pimples!  Use the right skin care products instead in order to treat your skin.

Updated by Hanah Tetro