Should you pop pimples?

Should You Pop Pimples? - Barbara Palvin

It’s the question we’ve all asked ourselves at some point

If you've ever wondered ‘Should I pop my pimples?’, you're certainly not alone. Nobody likes a glaring red bump getting in the way of a flawless face. So, should you pop pimples? We’re not going to string you along. The simple answer is no. Is it bad to pop pimples? Yes. In fact, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, Emma Hobson says you should absolutely NEVER squeeze a spot. Guess that’s a hard 'no' then! The only exception being a cystic pimple, and only if you are being treated by a doctor, says Hobson.

Now, while we can’t argue with Hobson’s expert opinion (she is, of course, 100 per cent right), we’re also realists. And we know that even if we went into the gory details about why you shouldn’t pop a pimple, you will still succumb to the urge at least a couple of times in your life. Because a) pus has no place in public; and b) it’s sickly satisfying squeezing them (a certain dermatologist is actually famous for pimple popping and the whole world is obsessed – albeit completely mortified – with watching the videos. Yep, we’re talking about Dr Pimple Popper, Dr Sandra Lee. And before you ask: She’s allowed to – she’s a professional).

Why is popping pimples bad?

“[A pimple] is an inflamed lesion filled with bacteria; if you squeeze it you can spread the infection, cause damage to the very delicate surrounding skin, and end up having not only more spots but a scar as a result,” says Hobson. The last thing you want is for one pimple to turn into many, or worse, have a permanent reminder of your zit popping. 

But… Do we have the self control to stop? Sadly, no.

So, we’re going to give you a pass to pop one type of pimple, and only the one: pustules. You know the ones – white, pussy and taunting as heck. But seriously – this is only if you *absolutely* must. 

When is a pimple ready to pop?

It’s important to get your timing right when popping a pimple. According to Dr Pimple Popper herself, in an interview with marie claire UK, “If you really MUST, you shouldn’t pop anything on your face unless it has come to a white/yellow ‘head’. 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.”

If you’re squeezing too hard to get something to come out of the pimple, then it’s not ready.

Is it good to pop pimples, ever? Sometimes pimples can clear faster if you pop them, but on the other hand, every time you pop them you risk extending the healing time, and making matters worse.

How to pop a pimple without scarring 

#1 / Firstly, have a steamy shower to open up your pores and soften the skin.

#2 / With clean fingers wrapped in tissues (for cleanliness and to create traction), gently press the skin closely surrounding the pimple. Don’t use your nails as they can break the skin and allow bacteria to get in.

#3 / If you release any pus, wipe it away and stop at the first sight of blood or a clear discharge. You’ve got what you came for – it’s time to step away from the pimple.

#4 / Apply an antibiotic cream to the pimple to avoid infection.

TOP TIP: Consider waiting until nighttime to pop your pimples, so they have time to heal while you sleep.

How to pop a blind pimple

Ok, this is where we draw the line. No picking blind pimples. There’s no safe way to pop a pimple under the skin. “Definitely leave blind spots, don’t attempt to pop them!” says Hobson. “Instead, treat them with antibacterial clearing spot treatments with a blend of zinc, colloidal silver, salicylic acid, azelaic acid tea tree oil and lactobacillus ferment.” 

If you’ve recently popped a pimple, you probably need to know how to cover up that pimple scab. Lucky for you, we have guide on that

Need a good laugh to feel better about your acne-prone face. Just check out Chrissy Teigen and Brooklyn Decker’s pimple-off. Plus, did you know a few pimples are actually a good thing? An expert explains why.

Do you pop your pimples? Any tips for minimising redness and scarring?

Main image credit: Getty

Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.