Popping pimples can be hard to resist and—admittedly—equally satisfying (hence why pimple popping videos are #trending on YouTube). Unfortunately, this habit can wreak some serious havoc on your skin and create bigger problems down the road.
Our advice to anyone with acne breakouts? It’s always the same...if you’re thinking about popping a pimple, don't! It’s simply not worth the risk. Here’s why;
Any effective acne treatment takes time, and it can take a few weeks (or months) to heal existing breakouts and prevent new pimples from forming. During this time, there can be a strong temptation to use your fingers, fingernails or even metal tools to pop a pimple (we’ve all been there…). However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD), doing so often damages the skin’s protective layer and actually pushes the infection even deeper into the skin. This ultimately produces acne lesions that are bigger, slower to heal, and more likely to scar than those that are treated with anti-acne treatment creams and allowed to heal gradually.
So, what can you do to treat existing pimples? The best thing to do is start (and commit to) treating it as soon as possible with medical-grade, clinically proven effective products that are customized to your acne severity and skin type. Early, effective treatment will help heal existing pimples (safely) while preventing future breakouts and the risk of developing acne scars. While it can be tempting to pop, touch, and pick at pimples, it’s extremely important to keep your hands (and all their lovely bacteria) away from your face.
What about for large, painful lesions? To help promote healing and reduce inflammation of a painful lesion, here’s an old school (but effective) remedy; simply apply ice directly to the lesion. In cases of very large, inflamed cysts, a dermatologist may decide to incise the lesion or inject steroids into it to promote more rapid healing. However, the ADD stresses that these procedures are NOT first-line acne therapies. Any time you open the skin (especially with an incision), you risk both infection and long-term scarring. In addition, intralesional steroids may cause skin dimpling due to focal skin atrophy (okay now we’re speaking in medical terms...but you get the picture).
TL;DR: Don’t pop your pimples! Start an effective anti-acne treatment, like MDacne or consult a dermatologist to help treat and prevent acne breakouts.
Our source? Check it out here: Zaenglein AL, Pathy AL, Schlosser BJ, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74:945-973