You know you should NEVER pop a pimple, right? It’s gross. And spreads the infection around. Yuck.
But, come on, you’re doing it anyway. Because, it feels SO satisfying. Doesn’t it?
Well, if you must do it, do it right. Here’s how to pop a pimple like a derm (ssshhh, don’t tell them I told ya):
How To Tell If You Can Pop A Pimple
First things first. Just because a pimple is starting to rear its ugly head, it doesn’t mean it’s ripe for popping. Derms don’t go after any pimple, you know.
How can you tell if a pimple is ready for popping? Look at its head.
Is that white head so visible, it looks like it’s been staring at you, begging you to pop it? Go ahead and kill that bugger.
The white head hasn’t popped up yet? Wait. Killing this pimple now isn’t a good idea. You’ll just make things worse.
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Prep Your Face For Pimple Popping
So, that pimple has a gigantic white head that begs you to pop it?
Wait! Before you do anything, wash your face and hands. There are bacteria and dirt on there, and you don’t want them anywhere near your pimple. They’d just make the infection worst.
Get Your Tools Ready
This is the scary part. Get a needle and sterilize it by heating up the tip with a lighter or match.
Wait a few minutes for it to cool down or you’ll get burnt (ouch!). Now, wipe it clean with a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol.
How To Pop A Pimple Like A Dermatologist
It’s time. Now everything’s ready, you can pop that pimple like a dermatologist would. Here’s how:
- Soak another cotton ball in alcohol and wipe the pimple and the surrounding area with it.
- Place the needle nearly parallel to your skin and impale the tip of the pimple (this is why I don’t pop pimples – needles freak me out too much).
- Apply gentle pressure to the side of the pimple to get all the pus out. Whatever you do, DON’T squeeze!
- Soak another cotton ball with alcohol (it’s the last time, I swear), and gently wipe the area.
Voila, done. The pimple is gone.
A Better Way (Or Three) To Get Rid Of Pimples
I’m not a big fan of pimple popping. First off, it’s dangerous. You can hurt yourself with needle or spread the infection further on your face.
Plus, there are better ways to get rid of pimples. Ok, they may work more slowly, but they won’t give you an infection. You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race.
Here are three safer ways to get rid of pimples:
1. Salicylic Acid
Also called BHA, salicylic acid is an exfoliant on steroids. Here’s how it gets rid of pimples:
- Exfoliates: It dissolves the glue that holds skin cells together, so they can get off your skin, instead of falling into your pores and clogging them up (clogged pores = pimples).
- Unclogs: It gets inside the pores, removing all the dead cells, excess sebum, and other gunk that’s clogging them up and giving you pimples.
- Soothes: It has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the inflammation and redness that always comes along with a pimple.
Salicylic acid doesn’t just get rid of pimples. With regular use, it prevents them from forming, too.
How To Use It: Every other night, after cleansing. If your skin is very oily, you can use it every night.
- Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboois Glycolic Night Serum: available at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK
- Paula’s Choice Resist BHA 9 Targeted Solution ($43.00): available at Dermstore, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
- Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($29.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges
- The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2%: available at Adore Beauty, Beauty Bay and Cult Beauty
Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is Key To Spot-Free Skin
2. Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl Peroxide is derms’ go-to treatment for pimples. The reason is simple: it works. It has anti-bacterial properties that kill P.Acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.
The good news? Bacteria don’t grow resistant to it. You can use it again and again and again.
The bad news? It works by releasing free radicals, nasty molecules that speed up the aging process. But hey, a good antioxidant serum takes care of that (antioxidants kill free radicals).
How To Use It: Twice a day, on pimples only.
- La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment ($36.95): Dermstore and Feel Unique
- Paula’s Choice Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment With 5% benzoyl peroxide ($18.00): Dermstore, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
- Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief ($20.00): available at Sephora and Ulta
Related: Benzoyl Peroxide: Friend Or Foe For Skin?
Looking for a natural anti-acne alternative? Try sulfur. This mineral fights acne in several different ways:
- It has antibacterial properties, so it kills the bacteria that cause acne
- It helps prevent acne-causing bacteria from spreading
- It helps exfoliate dead skin cells, accelerating cellular turnover and preventing breakouts
- It helps dry out blemishes
- It helps reduce oiliness, keeping breakouts at bay
The catch? Sulfur is terribly drying. Use it only when and where you need it.
How To Use It: Twice a day as a spot treatment only.
- Epionce Purifying Spot Gel ($38.00): available at at Dermstore
- Indie Lee Blemish Lotion ($26.00): available at Blue Mercury, Dermstore and The Detox Market
- Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17.00): available at Beauty Bay, Nordstrom, Sephora and Ulta
Related: Is Sulfur The Best Treatment For Pimples?
The Bottom Line
If you really must pop a pimple, do it the right, derm-approved way. But before you get there, try one of the other alternatives first. They’re gentler and work just as well.
Now you know how to pop a pimple like a derm, tell me: have you been doing it the right way? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
my hubby knows better than I do when to pop a pimple! LOL and he says everything you discussed above! LOL He must be reading blogs 😛 thanks for the tips
I pop my zits the same way and always apply salicylic acid lotion on top of the popped zit afterward to prevent infection.
yay! a really useful post! 🙂
I have a beautician friend who also recommends using a thin tube of rolled-up tissue paper to wrap around the pimple when you squeeze; this prevents fingernails from damaging and enlarging the pores, just making them get filled with dirt again.
Nikki: you’re welcome. Your husband is very clever, lucky you! My boyfriend just pops everything! I always tell him not to do it, and if he must, to do it right, but he just doesn’t listen lol
Dao: you’re right, it’s always best to apply some acne spot treatment on it afterwards. Thanks for the tip!
Sab: I’m glad you likd the post 🙂
Anastasia: I had never heard of that before, but it’s a great tip! Thanks for sharing!!
i never pop my pimple until it dry
you’re welcome. I’m glad you find it useful 🙂