Anyone who has suffered from a huge pimple has experienced that moment of standing in front of the bathroom mirror, weighing the options. Do you leave the zit alone and possibly allow it to grow and consume your entire face? Or do you risk everything, get your pimple popping fingers ready, and take care of matters yourself?
Believe it or not, the absolute worst thing you can do when you have a pimple isn’t popping it yourself–it’s popping it using your fingers, otherwise known as tools that can easily spread bacteria, cause even more inflammation and make matters far worse.
“The truth is, people do squeeze their zits. It’s a common problem,” says Dr. David E. Bank, founder and director of The Center For Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. “But don’t! You will make them worse and they will leave a scar.”
A less risky option, Bank says, is to simply press an ice cube (one you’ve wrapped in a soft tissue or cloth) on a pimple for one full minute to reduce swelling and inflammation. “You will notice immediately that the pimple is smaller as the ice helps to diminish the size of the pores by constricting the blood vessels underneath the skin,” Bank says.
If you absolutely cannot resist the urge to squeeze a pimple–the ones with enormous white heads that are just begging to be popped–Bank suggests purchasing a comedone extractor. “They are small metal devices with a small cup on one end and a hole in the bottom,” he says. “To begin, disinfect both the pimple and the extractor by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol. Gently place the extractor over the pimple and discharge the pus without scarring or driving the infection deeper into the skin. This is far better than squeezing between two fingers which can usually cause an infection by driving the pus from the pimple into deeper tissues.”
Are we all clear now? Hands off your faces!