When you’ve got a giant pimple or blackhead, there’s (almost) nothing more satisfying than squeezing the life out of it. We all do it. And if you don’t, you’ve certainly wanted to do it before. Pimples form when your pores become blocked. Hormones, bacteria, oils, and dead skin cells on your face can trigger an acne flare up.
What is a pimple? Should you pop it? Let’s find out.
Your skin is filled with pores, which can become clogged with pus or oil. When this happens a pimple or cyst forms. The most common types of blemishes include:
- Pustules: Deep acne blemishes that can be difficult to remove. They’re usually red and inflamed. These are the blemishes that can cause scarring.
- Blackheads: When you have an open pore that’s clogged by oil and dead skin cells, a blackhead forms. As this mixture of oil and dead skin cells becomes exposed to the air it’ll make your pores look black.
- Whiteheads: Your pore becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This can cause a white plug or pus that forms under your skin.
Whether it was from your mom or your best friend, you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t pop a pimple. Here are a few reasons why:
- You could create acne scarring.
- Popping a pimple could spread the bacteria and pus from the infected pore to surrounding pores in the area. This can cause an to spread.
- Popping a pimple can delay your body’s natural healing process, which causes your pimple’s healing to take longer.
- You could push the pus and bacteria further under your skin. Which could mean inflammation or a worse outbreak.
It only takes three to seven days for a pimple to heal on its own. When you pop a pimple, it can extend the time to 14 or more days before it heals.
You’ve tried to avoid popping that unsightly whitehead. You just can’t seem to help yourself. You’re going to pop your pimple. So if you’re going to do it anyway, do it right. These steps may help.
- Wait until you see white. Popping too early won’t be effective and can just cause you pain and scarring.
- Wash your hands thoroughly. You don’t want to introduce any extra bacteria to your skin.
- Apply over-the-counter medication such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to your blemish. This can help to loosen up blackheads.
- Sterilize a needle with rubbing alcohol. Use the needle to pierce the skin where your whitehead is located. You don’t need to do this for blackheads.
- With your fingers or two Q-tip’s to apply pressure to both sides of your blemish in the direction of a “V”. This should push out the pus or oil from your clogged pore.
- Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the pimple area. This will help ensure you don’t spread bacteria to other parts of your skin.
You don’t just have to wait for your face to breakout before you deal with pimples. Here’s how to prevent acne breakouts long before they happen.
- Keep your hands away from your face. That can help you avoid spreading dirt and bacteria to your skin and pores.
- Clean your skin after a workout by showering or washing your face.
- Clean your face twice a day with a mild cleanser. Harsher cleansers can actually cause more breakouts.
- Let your skin heal on its own if you can.
- If you have to pop that pimple, do it once, don’t go back two or three times to squeeze it again.
- Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about your acne breakouts.
If you have a zit or pimple, it can be hard to know how to handle the problem. Talk to your dermatologist about your options and the best way to take care of your skin.