We all know that ideally, you should never, ever pop your breakouts - no matter how tempting it might be! Pimple popping is something that’s best left to the professionals, and for good reason.
However, you’re probably here reading this because you’re either trying to decide whether to pop a pimple, or the damage is already done and the pimple is popped. The good news? All isn’t lost - here’s our guide to the dangers of popping pimples and what you can do for your skin, post-pimple pop.
Should You Pop Pimples: the Risks of Pimple Popping
There are some risks of damaging your skin when it comes to pimple popping that you really shouldn’t ignore. There’s a reason why extractions (the proper term for dislodging blackheads and popping breakouts) are only performed under ultra-hygienic conditions! Here are the two biggest dangers of popping pimples on your own.
1) Causing Acne Scarring
This is especially true if you try to pop deeper, inflamed acne such as cysts or nodules. Because they’re so deep in the skin, they’re the kind of breakouts that usually result in icepick or rolling scars - which can worsen if you inflame your skin further by picking at it and trying to pop the acne.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, another type of scarring typically left behind by papules and pustules, is usually also worsened by popping acne. When you pop pimples, you add to the inflammation by squeezing breakouts with your fingers and nails! This creates a worse inflammatory reaction that encourages your skin’s melanocytes to produce even more melanin in an attempt to heal the area.
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2) Worsening the Breakout
In this scenario, you’ve basically achieved the complete opposite of your goal - when you pop breakouts with dirty hands, you run a serious risk of both introducing new bacteria (ew) to your already vulnerable skin and you risk spreading that bacteria to other parts of your face, potentially creating even more breakouts.
Another risk that potentially worsens breakouts is using too much pressure when popping the pimple - instead of all the icky pus coming out of the open pore of the pimple, too much force actually ruptures the pimple into the healthy tissue around it - a two-for-one problem that can lead to both more breakouts and lingering acne-scarring.
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Your Post-Pimple Pop Skincare Routine
However, if the deed has already been done, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! The first step though - wash your hands, then wash your face. Your skin needs all the help it can to bounce back and heal from any breakout related trauma, and the best way to go is with a combination of moisturising and careful spot treating. Using a spot treatment helps to zap any lingering bacteria that are thinking of making a comeback!
If your skin is prone to dark spots after acne, it’s important to be extra diligent with sunscreen and keeping any freshly-popped breakouts out of the sun (even in the winter). Preventing that fresh, healing skin from being exposed to the sun helps your skin to heal and fades dark spots even faster.
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What to Do Instead of Pimple Popping
So, now that popping pimples is off the table - what can you do to minimise those pesky breakouts? Ideally, you want a pimple to heal completely naturally, without you popping it. Sometimes, pimples pop naturally on their own (and that’s okay) - but here are some tips and strategies for healing these pesky breakouts without causing the irritation and inflammation that comes with popping.
Use a Blue Light Tool
Blue light therapy is the latest in high-tech acne therapy! Blue light has a specific wavelength that does two things - zap acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation. These handy at-home devices are great for all skin types and don’t cause any irritation to the skin, unlike topical spot treatments which can sometimes sting and dry the skin.
Apply Clay Masks
Did you know that clay masks are great for zapping breakouts? You can use them all over or just as a spot treatment on where you’ve got pimples. They quickly absorb any sebum impurities from open breakouts, encouraging your skin to heal faster.
Dab on a Spot Treatment
Spot treatments contain ingredients that usually help to get rid of any lingering bacteria and speed up healing - sulphur and salicylic acid (in the right amounts) are usually formulated into ultra-effective spot treatments for their ability to do both. Spot treatments can be used morning and night until breakouts are fully healed for clearer, glowing skin.
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So, now that you know exactly why you shouldn’t pop pimples (and what to do instead), we hope that you’ve got your beauty affairs in order and will leave your dang breakouts alone!
If you’re still trying to create a skincare routine that tackles concerns like breakouts, try our skincare quiz - let us know your skin type and skin goals and we’ll create the perfect skincare routine, just for you!