This is a question I get almost everyday. Since I personally have a passion for helping patients with acne, most of my days are made up of new acne consults, acne treatments and scar recovery. The most common statement I get is… “I try not to, but I just can’t help myself!”
Is it okay to pop my pimples?”
Here’s the thing, can popping your pimples cause scars?
100% BUT so can leaving them to fester.
I am basically Mrs. Pimple Popper, so I’d be lying if I told you I never popped a pimple on myself. I usually shake my head and respond with something like this… “Listen, I can’t sit here and pop all your pimples, go home and pop mine (and the rest of my household hehe), and then tell you to never ever touch yours.”
Let’s be real… especially when they are ripe for the picking no one is letting those be. Haha!
Instead, my job is to educate you on how to pop them safely.
If you must, pop your pimples with as minimal risk of scaring as possible.
Here are my main rules:
1) The golden rule- If it doesn’t come easy, leave it alone!
One of the biggest reasons pimples will leave behind a red or brown spot is because we force them out. When we push too hard, we can cause trauma to the skin, break blood vessels or in those with darker skin cause what we call PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.) Trust me, it is a way bigger pain to clear red or PIH acne scars than it would have been to just either have a professional extract your pimples or simply wait until they are ready.
2) Do not let them sit there forever.
Maybe it’s a blackhead or maybe it’s a cyst under the skin that never really seems to want to come out…but whatever it is you need to have it removed.
When blackheads sit in our pores for extended periods of time the pore begins to stretch and lose its ability to bounce back to normal. This results in, you guessed it, enlarged pores.
Cysts are basically when one pore becomes infected below the skin’s surface. This can result in multiple pores breaking into a larger pocket. Left untreated the oil can become very hard making extraction very difficult. These cysts if improperly extracted, or even worse if they burst, can create large craters in the skin…by far the hardest to repair.
3) Show some restraint- do not pick during the day!
Do not touch your skin throughout the day. It’s simple, if your skin isn’t clean, do not touch it.
4) Use a sterile tool- your fingers don’t count.
There are two main factors why we shouldn’t use our bare fingers to extract blackheads or squeeze pimples.
First, our hands are rarely clean. Under your fingernails are a lot of things we do not need entering an already bacteria loaded environment.
Secondly, those nails tend to scratch or break the skin in ways that can lead to scarring.
Get yourself a tool meant for extractions or use a sterile lancet. The key word here is sterile. What I do not want you doing is using the same thing over and over without ever cleaning it, because then… you might as well just use those fingers after all. Remember the first golden rule though, do not use excessive pressure. If the tool leaves a big indent on your skin, its too hard.
5) Prep your skin.
It’s not just about cleansing. The best time to extract your skin is after exfoliating and even better yet steaming. Try doing it after the shower or holding a warm cloth on the area first to soften the oils.
6) Disinfect the skin after.
I personally use the Vivier refreshing toner as it naturally kills bacteria, calms redness and doesn’t sting but other natural alternatives like witch-hazel are a great option too.
I know, easier said than done…and honestly, I break my own rules too BUT if you try to implement these rules in your fight against acne, your chances of minimizing damage to the skin will dramatically increase.
When in doubt, leave it be and come see us!
The biggest thing about acne is prevention. Finding the right products to minimize breakouts, understanding your triggers and whether there are any dietary or lifestyle culprits, and making sure that even if you do break out that you heal without any long-term marking.
If you struggle from acne or read this and thing of dang, I am probably over here doing it all wrong – Let’s talk!
Your skin revival