Popping Pimples Medical Course

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How to Pop a Pimple

Five Methods:

It is rarely a good idea to pop pimples, since doing so can cause scars or worsen your breakout. If you must pop a pimple, the best way to prevent damage is to use a needle. Alternatively, applying a wet rag can gently remove a whitehead. Using your hands to squeeze the pimple is not recommended, but can be done if the other methods seem too labor-intensive.


Determining Whether a Pimple Can Be Popped

  1. Pop whitehead pimples.Whitehead pimples have usually been around for a few days, and they have a white tip where pus has collected underneath the skin. These pimples are easy to pop, and when treated with care they can be safely removed without spreading the infection or causing scarring.
  2. Don't pop new pimples.Pimples that have just appeared in the past day or two aren't ready to pop yet. Wait until the whitehead appears at the tip of the blemish.
  3. Don’t pop pimples that are big, red, or sore.This could worsen your pimple by sending bacteria deeper into your skin. Popping a pimple this big will almost definitely lead to a scar. Only a pimple with white pus is ready to pop.
  4. Visit a dermatologist.Dermatologists can determine the best way to treat your acne. They can prescribe creams that will eliminate your pimples. There are also several procedures they can perform that can treat severe breakouts.
    • The most commonly prescribed dermatologist treatment is a topical cream, rubbed on the pimples, that will remove oil from the skin and kill acne-causing bacteria.
    • For red, swollen pimples an oral antibiotic, hormonal birth control, or isotretinoin might be prescribed.
    • Large acne cysts can be removed by dermatologists through drainage and extraction, in which they remove the cyst and drain out the pus.
    • Your dermatologist can safely lance the pimple with a pin. This is a technique that should only be done by professionals.
    • Laser therapies and chemical peels can treat the underlying causes of acne, although they will not remove current cysts.
  5. Limit pimples by washing regularly.Pimples are caused by sweat sitting on your face. Anytime you sweat, wash your face gently with lukewarm water to remove dirt and grime. Do not be harsh or scrub, just wash off sweat.
    • Scrubbing roughly can worsen acne.
    • Do not use rough cleaners, like astringents, toners, or exfoliants.

Prepping Your Hands and the Pimple

  1. Wash your hands.This will prevent bacteria from spreading to your face. Wash thoroughly, especially underneath the nails, and use plenty of soap and warm water. You'll want to avoid touching the pimple with your finger nails, but just in case you do, having them clean will reduce the likelihood of irritation and infection.
    • Consider using a fingernail brush to get dirt out from under your fingernails.
  2. Cover your hands.Put on disposable gloves just before you're ready to pop the pimple. Not only will this put a barrier between any remaining bacteria on your fingers (and in your fingernails) and your skin, but it will also prevent the sharp edges of your nails from impacting the pimple.
    • If you don't have disposable gloves, you can cover your fingers with clean tissues.
  3. Clean the skin surrounding the pimple with a face cleanser or rubbing alcohol.Apply cleanser to a cotton ball and spread it. When you pop the pimple, you'll be opening the skin, creating a way for bacteria to enter. The pimple will heal faster if you don't give bacteria a chance to settle in and create a new or worse infection.
    • Don't scrub the area too hard, or you'll irritate it further. Gently cleanse the area, rinse it with warm water, and pat it dry with a towel.

Popping a Pimple with a Pin

  1. Sterilize a pin with fire.Use a match or lighter to heat up and sterilize the pin. Expose every bit of the pin to fire for several seconds to kill off any bacteria.
  2. Allow the pin to cool.Give the pin at least a minute to cool down. It should not be painfully hot when you use it to pop your pimple.
  3. Sterilize everything with rubbing alcohol.Apply rubbing alcohol to the pin, to your hands, and to the zit. Be sure that everything involved in the procedure is sanitized with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Hold the pin parallel to your face.You do not want to point the pin toward your face. Instead, you should hold it along your face, so that when you poke your pimple it won’t penetrate anything but the very tip of the pimple.
  5. Pierce the white tip of the zit.Do not touch anything but the white part of the zit. Penetrating the red part of the pimple will cause scarring. Instead, run the pin through the very tip of the pimple, so that it goes through one end and out the other.
  6. Pull up with the pin.The pin should have penetrated the length of the white tip. Pull the pin out, away from your face, so that it ruptures the white tip when you remove the pin from the pimple.
  7. Gently squeeze around the white top.Do not squeeze the white top itself. Instead, squeeze the perimeter of the pimple so that it pushes out the pus. Consider squeezing with a cotton swab to avoid doing additional damage to the skin.
  8. Apply alcohol to the pimple.Use a cotton swab to rub the area down with alcohol and clean up bacteria. Apply a small amount of bacitracin ointment to the area.

Popping Your Pimple With a Warm Rag

  1. Wet a wash cloth with warm water.Run water until it is warm, but not so hot that it burns you when you touch it. Run a clean wash cloth through the water until it is wet.
  2. Wring out the wash cloth.The cloth should be wet, but not dripping. Squeeze it until excess moisture has been removed.
  3. Hold the washcloth against the pimple.Hold the washcloth against the pimple for a few minutes. Allow the wash cloth to cool down. This will bring the pus towards the surface of the pimple, preparing it to be popped.
  4. Gently slide the washcloth against your pimple.Move your finger slightly, sliding the washcloth against the pimple. With the head loosened up, this should be sufficient to pick it up, without causing damage to the surrounding skin.
    • This method might seem slow and arduous, but it does less damage to the skin than squeezing the pimple directly.
  5. Repeat if necessary.If the whitehead does not fall off the first time that you try this, do it again. The warmth and moisture should eventually be enough to loosen the whitehead without causing damage to your skin.

Popping the Pimple With Your Hands

  1. Plant your fingertips around the pimple's peak.Place one clean fingertip on either side, just below the tip of the whitehead. You should be able to feel the sebum-filled area easily. After you've located the sebum-filled area, very gently wiggle your fingers together to coax the fluid out.
    • If no pus comes out, position your fingertips in a slightly different place around the pimple, then try again.
    • If the pus still remains in the pimple, stop trying to pop it. The pimple is not yet ready to be popped; either wait a few days or let it go away on its own.
  2. Massage the skin around the pimple.This will encourage the remaining pus to come out; keep doing it until the pimple is completely drained. Don't touch the pimple itself, except to blot away the pus with tissues. There may be some bleeding. If you see blood, stop pushing at the pimple, and leave it alone - it will only put more pressure on the swollen area, and may cause scarring.
  3. Wipe the area with alcohol.Again, the important thing is to make sure that new bacteria doesn't invade the opening in the skin or the surrounding pores. Also, consider applying a small amount of bacitracin ointment to protect it.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Why do we get pimples in The first place?

    Registered Nurse
    Jennifer Boidy is a Registered Nurse in Maryland. She received her Associate of Science in Nursing from Carroll Community College in 2012.
    Registered Nurse
    Expert Answer
    You get acne when a pore in your skin becomes clogged with dead skin cells and oil (sebum), which becomes trapped inside the pore with bacteria that lives on your skin, called p. Acnes. As this bacteria multiplies, the pore becomes inflamed (red and swollen) forming a pimple.
  • Question
    Is there supposed to be blood?

    Registered Nurse
    Jennifer Boidy is a Registered Nurse in Maryland. She received her Associate of Science in Nursing from Carroll Community College in 2012.
    Registered Nurse
    Expert Answer
    It is normal to see blood, especially after the pus is removed. If you see blood while squeezing a pimple, discontinue squeezing it, dab the extra blood off with a tissue, and then apply some alcohol and antibacterial ointment.
  • Question
    What happens if we do not pop a pimple?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Nature takes its course. It is more likely that it will grow larger first, then eventually shrink away on its own. There is nothing wrong with not popping a pimple; in fact, you're more likely to heal without scarring.
  • Question
    When should you consider popping a pimple?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Do not pop a pimple unless you can see white puss coming out of it. If you try popping a pimple right away it will leave a red scar on your face that may last for weeks.
  • Question
    Do I really have to do every step usually I just pop it and its fine
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Popping a pimple will often be counterproductive if you don't follow these steps. The bacteria will get out of the pimple and spread to other parts of your skin, creating even more pimples. There is also a relatively high likelihood that you will create a permanent scar if you do not properly remove the pimple.
  • Question
    what if you have already popped the pimple before reading this and now it feels like it is throbbing???
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    See a dermatologist to confirm that everything is alright.
  • Question
    Can you use an aspirin mask to dray out the area?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    There doesn't seem to be any scientific evidence that this method works, but some people swear by it. It shouldn't hurt to try, but medication prescribed by a dermatologist will probably be more effective.
  • Question
    Where do you get the medicine for it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Most acme creams require a prescriptions. That means that you should visit a dermatologist. Once you have a prescriptions, you should be able to pick up the medicine at any local drug store.
  • Question
    What about the ones on your nose, like inside
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Consult a dermatologist. Do not try to pop a pimple in your nose. You could do damage.
  • Question
    Is it normal for a pimple to be sore?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes. If it's infected and/or about to burst, it can be sore.
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Quick Summary

You typically shouldn’t pop a pimple due to the increased risk of scarring or infection. However, if the swelling is causing you discomfort, dip a clean cloth in warm water, then wring out the excess water and lay it over the pimple for several minutes. Once you notice the fluids rising to the surface of your skin, gently rub the washcloth against the pimple, which may help pop it. Repeat as necessary.

Did this summary help you?
  • Don't scratch your pimples as you may risk getting damaged tissue and ultimately a scar.
  • Don't scrape at your skin to get the pimple; that will make it worse.
  • If you have a frequent problem with acne, you should mention this to your dermatologist. He/she might be able to help!
  • It's better to not pop it. It will naturally go away. Good hygiene can help preventing acne or pimples. Some acne or pimple last 2-3 days or at least 1 week.
  • To prevent future pimples from coming up, watch your diet and clean your face every day.
  • All pimples will eventually go away on their own, and you minimize your risk of infections or scarring if you decide not to pop it.

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