If your pimple is ready, popping it by hand can expedite the healing process. If the pimple is not ready, you will not only induce more acne in the pores surrounding the pimple, but you can cause permanent damage to your skin, including scarring.
Is your pimple ready to pop?
It’s important to wait until your pimples are in their most prime “poppable” state. This occurs when a pimple has been around for more than a few days, and has a white tip where pus has collected underneath the skin. Pimples that have just appeared in the past day or two usually aren’t ready to pop. Pimples that are big, red and sore should not be popped, because it can lead to scarring, infection, bleeding and pain.
What you need to effectively pop a pimple
- An antibacterial cleanser or rubbing alcohol
- A sharp needle (sewing needles work great)
- A Q-tip cotton swab
- Tissues (for fingers)
- Benzoyl peroxide
- A mirror (if the pimple is on your face)
- Prep your skin: Use antibacterial cleanser or rubbing alcohol to cleanse the area around the pimple. When you pop the pimple, you’ll be opening the skin, creating a way for bacteria to enter, so it’s important to disinfect your skin.
- Clean the needle by wiping it with the antibacterial cleanser or rubbing alcohol.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water, especially underneath the nails. You’ll want to avoid letting your fingers actually touch the pimple, but just in case they do, having them clean will reduce the likelihood of infection.
- Gently puncture the tip of your pimple with the needle that you just disinfected. You will want to poke the white part of the pimple, and only go deep enough to break the surface.
- Wrap your fingertips in the tissue, and gently apply pressure on each side of the pimple to extract the pus build-up inside. Don’t squeeze too hard. Stop immediately if you see blood or white liquid coming out.
- Then spot-treat the popped-pimple by applying a small amount of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid using a Q-tip.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should avoid picking, squeezing and popping pimples if you have acne. Squeezing can cause the pimple to rupture backwards, pushing the bacteria deeper into your skin, creating further inflammation and turning a little pimple into a big, red nodule.
However, almost everyone has popped an unsightly pimple in a noticeable place. So if you decide to pop, make sure you do it right so you don’t make it worse or hurt yourself in the process. Definitely wait the one-extra day if your pimple isn’t ready.
To treat the root cause of acne, and eliminate pimples all together, a consistent skincare routine is necessary. If you have the occasional breakout, over-the-counter products should work well. For moderate to severe acne, prescription medication is your best bet. These medications are not hard to obtain: you just need to consult a dermatologist. If you don’t have a dermatologist or would like a convenient way to get a consultation, check out our online dermatology service.
- “Acne: Stats and Facts.” American Academy of Dermatology. AAD, n.d. Web. <https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/conditions/acne>.
- “How to Pop a Pimple.” How to Pop A Pimple. Acne.org, n.d. Web. <https://www.acne.org/pop.html>.