How to Pop a Pimple – 7 Easy Pimple Popping Steps (The Right Way)
You may have heard that you should really never consider even trying to pop a pimple. On the other hand you have probably also heard that sometimes beauticians – and even dermatologists – do just that. So what is the proper advice? Can you pop pimples without causing permanent damage or not? And even if the answer is yes should you, as an amateur, even try?
Can Pimples Really Be Popped? Should you do it?
Well, technically almost any pimple can be popped. But most should not be. If you know anything about acne in general you’ll know that there are several different kinds of acne one can suffer from, with the three most common forms being whiteheads, blackheads and cystic acne.
The only form of pimple that anyone should ever try to get rid of a whitehead. These are pimples that – as their name suggests – will have a white head at their tip which is clearly visible. Ideally you should try a whitehead treatment and be patient. However, if you are truly desperate – as in, perhaps, you have an interview in the morning and the appearance of the whitehead is sapping your confidence – you can give popping a whitehead a go. But you have to do it the right way.
Pimple Popping Warnings (Please Read This First)
Popping your pimples by yourself is a last resort kind of thing. And as is the case with most things done as a last resort if you can avoid doing it all you probably should. When the pros pop pimples they use special tools – sometimes a sterilized needle, sometimes a special tool called a comedone extractor or a pimple (blackhead) removal tool. And they are trained to do this stuff. You are not.
When left alone the average ‘life’ of a pimple is 3-7 days. When treated it can be much shorter. There are even a few pimple treatments that can do their magic overnight. Popping a pimple is risky.
Are you really sure that’s a whitehead, not a forming cystic acne pimple? If you are wrong and it is then the damage you can cause to your skin may last far longer than a few days. And even if it is a ready to pop whitehead even a splash of pus in a nearby pore as you squeeze can lead to new pimples, the last thing you want.
If You Really MUST Pop that Pimple
OK, so we still haven’t convinced you to leave that pimple alone? Well, if you are going to do it it should be done in the best possible way, the right way. What is that right way? Here’s a simple step by step guide to help:
1. Start Off With Very Clean Hands
The last thing you want to do is add more bacteria to a pimple that is already loaded with the stuff. Over the course of a normal day your hands pick up all kinds of bacteria and so it is crucial that if you are going to pop a pimple you do so with scrupulously clean fingers.
2. For the best results wash your hands – and under your nails
Use a plain hand soap and pat them dry. Don’t use an antibacterial gel by the way. They are sticky and goopy which you don’t need and the FDA has recently declared them to be unproven, stating that just plain old soap and water really is the better bet.
3. Prepping the Pimple – Before you pop you have to prep.
You need to begin with completely clean skin, especially in the area around the pimple. Wash you face with a mild face wash and then follow up with a good astringent. Pay special attention to the pesky pimple. You may even want to dab it with a little – but only a little – rubbing alcohol to dry it out and draw the head closer to the skin surface.
4. Use Gloves
Even clean hands can pick up bacteria, and do so very quickly (we’d go into detail but it can be unnecessarily gross) Therefore it’s best to take on your pimple popping task with gloved hands. Obviously you’ll need thin gloves so the kind that come along with home hair coloring kits are ideal. You can also usually pick up thin plastic gloves at your local dollar store.
5. Heat Things Up
You are going to need some hot water, hotter than you can get from the faucet. Some people advise that you microwave a bowl of water for a few seconds but we do not. Why? Microwaves do not heat water evenly so there is a danger that you’ll end up scalded by water that is just too hot. Instead take the time to boil the kettle, leave it to cool for a few minutes and then make use of the water from there.
6. Popping the Right Way
This is of course a right and wrong to pop a pimple, you can’t just squeeze away haphazardly. You should locate the peak of the pimple – its white center – and then place a finger at either side before squeezing GENTLY but firmly.
At this point the pimple should pop and the sebum (aka white goo) should be released. If it does not do not squeeze harder, abort the mission. The pimple wasn’t ready to pop. If the pimple does excrete sebum you should then gently massage around it to remove as much of any remaining sebum as possible. Again though, don’t squeeze hard, that’s how pitted scars are formed.
7. Post Popping Must Dos
If your pimple was successfully popped that does mean that there is now a hole – albeit a tiny one – in your skin. A hole that, if you are not quick and careful, will fill up with bacteria and potentially become infected. To prevent this immediately dab the area with an alcohol soaked cotton ball and then apply a dab of benzoyl peroxide cream to keep things clean and help speed healing.
By now you will have figured out we’d advise you not to pop a pimple. But, if you do, following these tips should lead to the best possible result. But we do have one last question for you. What situations do you feel merit taking the risk of popping a pimple? When is it a must? Let us know, we’re really interested to find out.