You’ve Been Popping Your Pimples Wrong This Entire Time

We know we’re not supposed to pop our pimples. We’ve been taught from a young age that doing so can wreck our skin, cause worse breakouts, and even scarring. However, there’s a reason those amazingly gross YouTube videos of massive pimples being excavated for eight minutes straight are so popular; there’s something inescapably satisfying about popping a really juicy zit. Plainly speaking, according to dermatologists, we shouldn’t be popping pimples ever, under any circumstances.

Healthline even offers up several helpful alternatives, including paying a visit to your dermatologist (who’s got the time/money for that!?) and applying a hot compress to draw the pimple out safely and effectively. If you can avoid popping, then that’s the best method of dealing with pimples. However, if you absolutely have to do it, there is a right way. And it’s safe to assume you haven’t learned it yet, regardless of age or experience.

Pimples need to be treated with patience and care

Healthline advises that if you want to tackle a so-called whitehead, then first and foremost, ensure your hands are clean, so you don’t make it worse by adding more bacteria mid-squeeze. Next, sterilize a sewing needle with rubbing alcohol before, very slowly and carefully, inserting it into the biggest area of your zit. It’s worth noting that doing so shouldn’t hurt or draw blood, either.

Next, use a cotton ball to drain the pimple by holding the skin tightly around it, which should force the pus to come out naturally. This also helps avoid putting more bacteria into the skin, too. Sterilize the area once you’re done, using a gentle ointment such as witch hazel. As tempting as it might be, never apply makeup over a recently-popped pimple because doing so can trap bacteria in the wound. As Dr. Pimple Popper herself, Dr. Sandra Lee, explained to The Healthy, it’s important to be gentle and, crucially, “Know when to pop and know when to stop.”

Likewise, always wait until the head is showing because irritating deep red zits will only make them worse over time. As Dr. Lee explains, “The more you push, the more swelling you have,” so take your time and be careful. Popping your pimples once in a while should be fine, but keep in mind that if they’re not ready, you’re risking making them worse. Pimples are like Pringles, except that once you pop, you really should stop.

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