Pimple popping without leaving a scar

You know the feeling when you get a raging zit right before a big event? When you look at yourself in the mirror and a red, swollen pimple stares back at you? And then the immediate urge to pop it, pulling the content out…

One thing is for sure – no one will ever tell you “Pop your pimples – this is how you will get rid of them!”. Uncontrolled popping/squeezing of pimples can lead to the spread of an infection and the appearance of deep scarring, which may take a long time to recover. Skin picking usually worsens the acne breakout, making the pimples more noticeable and painful.

In addition, skin picking often becomes a bad habit that can be hardly avoided even after solving the acne problem.

But the truth is sometimes pimple popping cannot be avoided.

The most important is to determine the right moment when the pimple is ready to be extracted and the most gentle way to do it, leaving minimal damage to the skin?

The right moment

Whiteheads appear on the uppermost skin layer when dead skin cells, oil, and dirt clogs the pores of the skin of the face and are the only ones that can be extracted. If you’re careful, the chance of infecting the skin or leaving a scar is minimal. Note that if you are squeezing too hard, you may damage the skin to the point where the formation of serious scoring cannot be avoided. These scars may leave permanent craters on your facial skin.

If you are afraid you have severely damaged your skin while squeezing a zit, your best option is to start applying a scar removal cream as soon as the wound has healed.

The newly formed whiteheads are not ready for squeezing, and you’ll need to wait until the tip of the pimple turns white (when the pus rises almost to the skin surface).

Large, red, swollen buds without a white tip, as well as subcutaneous pimples – do not touch them. Stressing them can seriously damage the surface of the skin or lead to the subcutaneous spread of the infection.

Avoid squeezing your blackheads as well – although they seem easy to extract, they can often not be completely removed and the pores remain clogged. After an ‘unsuccessful’ blackhead extraction, the appearance of inflammatory lesions is something normal to happen. And the appearance of pimples or pustules will be more disturbing compared to a single blackhead.

How to prepare for pimple extraction

Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and warm water, cleaning under your nails is really important. Note that during the extraction process, your nails should not be in contact with the pimple you are about to pop but this is just a preventative measure to avoid the spread of bacteria and potential infection.

Squeezing a pimple opens the surface of the skin, so you’ll need to carefully clean the area. You don’t want sebum, dirt, makeup residue, and bacteria to get inside the wound, right?

To clean the area properly, use an antibacterial facial cleanser. Apply to the pimple without excessive rubbing; then rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.

The best option before pimple extraction is to tilt your head over the top of the pot (full of boiling water) and let the steam open your pores. This will make the sebum easier to extract.

How to perform pimple extraction

Don’t touch the pimple without wearing disposable plastic gloves or at least cover the tips of your fingers with medical gauze. This will make you avoid contact between the facial skin and nails. It will also prevent a potential injury to the surrounding tissue.

You shouldn’t squeeze the pimple starting from the top. Instead, press the skin surrounding it.

If the pus does not come out, change the position of your fingertips and try again. If the pimple does not open after the second try, then it is not ready to be squeezed yet.

Pimple extraction
Source: Flickr

If the pus comes out, do not touch the pimple itself, but gently massage the area around it. More puss may be extracted if you squeeze again (gently). Note that there is always a chance to push the contents inside the pimple deeper into the skin, and this will increase the inflammation process,

In case there is no more pus to come out, there may be slight bleeding, which means that the sebum and pus were completely released from the follicle and it is time for you to stop pressing the area.

Next step is to disinfect with an antiseptic agent to protect the area from bacterial infection and apply a skin moisturizer on top – this will reduce the recovery time.

However, it is will be way easier for you to put your time and energy into acne prevention, good hygiene, and skin care.

Do not make extracting pimples into a bad habit, do it as an exception and follow all the tips mentioned above in order to prevent the formation of new ones.

About the author

Monika Hristova

Monika is the Editor-in-Chief at SkinPractice. She is a skin care addict and researcher, who feels strongly about helping people with different dermatology conditions from alopecia to warts.

You can read her recommendations and advice both here at SkinPractice or at Quora where she answers skincare-related questions frequently and is the most viewed author in the Skincare category with more than 3 million views or follow her on LinkedIn.

She is also a certified skin care specialist with certification from the Medical College in Sofia.

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