Is Popping Pimples Bad? Yes, Here’s Why

You might love watching Dr. Pimple Popper as she squishes, squeezes, and puts the screws to pimples and black heads. And if you’re wondering “Is popping pimples bad?” Yes. Here’s why and what you need to do to take care of pimples.

Inflamed acne pimples happen when the pore becomes plugged with excess sebum (our natural facial oil), dead skin cells, bacteria, and frequently, pus. And though we all know that from time to time we do some popping, here’s what’s really going on with popping pimples.

Why Squeezing and Popping Pimples is Bad

Popping pimples is likely to make the skin worse. This happens because as you push to pop, that action can push bacteria down into the skin, equalling more inflammation, redness and swelling. Then after you’ve popped the pimple and released nasty pus bacteria, the pimple has a chance to become infected. From bad to worse! And there’s more bad news.The pus pocket of bacteria was neatly contained in that one pustule. When it popped you run the risk of spreading the bacteria to other nearby pores.

Besides increasing the odds for an infection, popping your pimples can lead to permanent scarring. Scarring becomes its own issue to deal with. And scarring isn’t something that goes away overnight. It takes concerted effort, and multiple tactics, like using specific skincare ingredients and even professional treatments, to reduce or clear up acne scars. 

Is it Ever OK to Pop Pimples?

Though we never want to admit we’re doing something we’re not supposed to, we pop our pimples. So here is when it’s alright to do that dirty deed. 

You can pop pimples when the blockages in the pimples only have one place to go, which is out. Look for pustules and bumps with pus on the surface, also called white heads.

At times getting the blockage out can help the skin heal. And according to a few dermatologists, sometimes popping a pimple is a good thing, if done properly.  And that’s the important part: if done properly. 

How to Pop a Pimple Correctly

Popping pimples is serious business, because if not done correctly the condition can get worse. Begin by treating popping any pimple like it’s a surgical procedure. Follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wash your face.
  • Use clean Q-tips or cotton swabs.
  • Press gently on the sides of the pimple.
  • Most important: know when to quit and give up. Don’t make it worse by trying to force out a blockage that’s not ready to leave.
  • After popping, apply antibiotic spot cream to that area. 

When to Never Pop

Just as there are times when popping is appropriate, there are times when to never, ever pop. Never pop cyst, papules, and nodules, which are painful, hard, red bumps. You’ll know these because when you touch them they feel like they are rooted deep under the skin.

These types of pimples are deeper and don’t have a clear connection to the skin’s surface, so they can’t be as easily released. This makes them problematic for at home popping. In these cases call your esthetician or dermatologist.  Another option for clearing pimples is to add a good exfoliating acid to your skincare regimen. Acid exfoliants unclog pores, which helps reduce breakouts and speed up your skin’s healing.

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Or Go Hands Off

When in doubt about is popping a pimple bad, you can go the safe route which is hands off. In most cases if left alone, a blemish will heal itself in 3 to 7 days. Popped improperly, it can linger for weeks or lead to scarring. So if you choose to pop pimples do so with discretion and proper handling. The choice is ultimately yours!

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