It’s tempting, but don’t do it unless it’s absolutely necessary (and it hardly ever is). Popping a pimple won’t get rid of the problem. Squeezing on it can push bacteria & pus deeper into the skin, which might cause more swelling and redness.

Credit: Dreamstime

Squeezing can also lead to scabs and skin crusts which might leave you with permanent pits or scars, not to mention post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Especially when not done correctly.

Patience is key when dealing with acne. Most times your pimples would go away on their own. Leave the zits alone to dry out or use topical acne treatments, especially spot treatments.
That way, you avoid risking turning a small pimple into a possibly bigger inflamed cystic acne. Also, letting it disappear on its own will leave you no reminder that it was ever there in the first place.
But then I also know that realistically, a lot of people can’t help but try to get rid of pimples by taking them out.

Ideally, it should be done by professionals, especially severe or cystic acne. If you decide to pop your pimple, you should go about it the right way. To know when a pimple is ready to be popped, it should:

  • Develop a yellow head – easiest to drain and with no scarring because the bumps are close to the surface of the skin.
  • Doesn’t hurt to touch – if it’s very painful and sensitive to touch, it’s not ready.

Blemishes are deep under the skin have no head yet, so it’s too early to squeeze. Leave it alone. This is because sometimes, pimples like these remain underneath the skin and regress instead of growing into the surface of the skin.

If the pimple has a head, at that point it is the easiest to extract, with the least risk of scarring because the bump is very superficial to the surface of the skin and is ready to be drained. If a pimple with a head doesn’t pop easily, stop trying – forcing it will only worsen it.

If a pimple hurts or is under the skin, it is not ready to be popped.

It takes two or three days — sometimes more — for a new pimple to become a pustule-type blemish, which is the kind that is easiest to squeeze

When you’ve identified a pimple that is ready to be popped, please remember:

  • Always use clean hands/instruments – sterilize with alcohol.
  • Whiteheads and blackheads are generally okay to squeeze since they’re dry and non-infected, but they are prone to infection if not handled right.
  • Prick the tip with a sharp sterile instrument, don’t peel off the layer of skin. That leads to scars and hyperpigmentation.
  • Press around (not the top of) the zit.
  • Clean with alcohol on cotton afterward.
  • Avoid picking on your face unnecessarily and go to a professional for more advanced pimples, or just use topical products and let the pimple dry up.

When considering topical treatments for acne, look out for products that contain Retinol, AHAs such as glycolic acid and mandelic acid, BHAs such as salicylic acid, Azelaic acid. These will help get rid of acne/pimples and even prevent its formation.
Spot treatments with benzoyl peroxide and sulfur can be applied directly on the pimple spot to dry up the acne. These treatments are to be applied only on the pimple as it is too drying and can dry out the skin when applied to the entire face.

Click here for recommended Retinol Treatment Serum to help treat and prevent acne.

Till next time on Skin and All, continue to moisturize and use sunscreen.

Tune in soon!