health

Squeezing Zits: 5 Easy Steps To Popping A Pimple The Right Way

by Andrea Wunderlich
Andrea is a LittleThings Editorial Intern who has a passion for all things internet; she enjoys books, coffee, and pugs!

Like most traumatic experiences, I can clearly remember the first time a pimple actually ruined my day.

I was in 10th grade, and it was picture day. Sure, I’d had pimples before, lots of them. But they were usually PMS related, and they always resolved within a few days, a week tops.

In 10th grade, though, having a giant zit on picture day was the equivalent of social suicide.

The night before, I wrestled with my pimple for hours. I squeezed and it oozed, and then it festered up again and I’d have to repeat the whole process over again.

By the time it was my turn to have my picture taken, I basically looked like I had spent the night making out with a poison ivy shrub.

I learned my lesson, though: never pop a pimple — unless you really have to. And when the time comes, learn how to pop it the right way.

These five steps will teach you exactly how and when to get rid of a pimple:

Thumbnail Photo: Flickr / Caitlin Reagan 

What Is A Pimple, Exactly?

<u>What Is A Pimple, Exactly?</u>
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

According to dermatologist Zakiya Rice of Emory University, a pimple is like a sack holding oil, debris, and bacteria.

The outer layer that holds the sack is what prevents the bacteria and other debris from spreading to other pores, making more pimples arise.

Why Do Pimples Form?

<u>Why Do Pimples Form?</u>

Jeanine B. Downie, MD, a dermatology expert at YouBeauty.com, told the Huffington Post that pimples form when oils from the skin mix with dead skin cells and acne bacteria from your hair follicles.

The icky mix clogs up your pores, leading to a small infection trapped underneath the skin. The resulting bump is due to the inflammation and pus caused by that process.

When Should You Pop A Pimple?

<u>When Should You Pop A Pimple?</u>
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

In a perfect world, we would all be wonderfully patient people who let their pimples run their course.

You shouldn’t pop your pimples at all, but if you must, it’s better to do it properly so you don’t cause infection or scar your skin.

First things first, never try to tackle a pimple that’s deep under the skin.

Wait until your pimple develops a head before you try to tackle it.

Pop Your Pimple Step #1: Clean Your Hands And Face

Pop Your Pimple Step #1: Clean Your Hands And Face
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

It’s important to wash your face and hands before you get to the dirty work of pimple popping. Scrub like you’re a doctor preparing for surgery.

Your hands accumulate a lot of bacteria during the day as you eat, commute, and go to the bathroom.

The last thing you want is to introduce more pimple-causing bacterias to your face.

Pop Your Pimple Step #2: Steam Your Skin For 5 Minutes

Pop Your Pimple Step #2: Steam Your Skin For 5 Minutes
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Steaming your face relaxes the pores and makes the skin more susceptible to popping.

Boil some hot water on the stove. Once it begins to give off steam, lean your face over the vapors for five to 10 minutes.

You can also lay a hot (clean!) washcloth over your face to loosen up the pores.

Pop Your Pimple Step #3: Cover Your Hands With Gloves

Pop Your Pimple Step #3: Cover Your Hands With Gloves
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Covering your hands is the best way to ensure that no bacteria will be transferred from your fingers to your face.

Washing them is a start, but wearing sterile gloves is an extra layer of protection to be sure you’re not introducing even more germs to the area.

If you don’t have gloves, you can also use two clean cotton swabs as your “pincers.”

Pop Your Pimple Step #4: Press Gently Until Pus Drains

Pop Your Pimple Step #4: Press Gently Until Pus Drains
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Apply a gentle amount of pressure to the pimple.

If it’s ready to pop, puss and a small amount of blood will ooze from the surface of the pimple.

If it doesn’t give in 2-3 tries, stop pressing. Your pimple isn’t quite ready to be popped yet, and if you keep pushing, you might end up with scarring.

Pop Your Pimple Step #5: Disinfect The Area With Antiseptic And Peroxide

Pop Your Pimple Step #5: Disinfect The Area With Antiseptic And Peroxide
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Finally, cleanse the affected area by wiping it down with an antiseptic, and then dabbing on some hydrogen peroxide over the area.

You can dilute the peroxide with water if you have sensitive skin.

This step is vital, because it safeguards you from developing more pimples by killing off the harmful bacteria that just came out of the blemish.

Pop a bandage on top of the pimple, since it’s probably still open and oozing.

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