Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Skin Care Myths: Never Pop a Zit

I'm sure you've heard it before- never pop a pimple. Well I'm about to burst that little bubble. It's ok to pop a pimple if you do it correctly. If you do it incorrectly you risk scabs, increased healing time and permanent scars. However, done correctly, popping a pimple reduces inflammation, healing time and gets rid of the ugly white bump that is so hard to cover up. When you get a facial at a spa, the aesthetician will do extractions on clogged pores, which is what you want to do.

Before you start, make sure you are dealing with the correct type of blemish. Deep cystic acne cannot be popped safely without scarring. This method will work well on blackheads or white heads that are raised and inflamed. It's also easier to do when the zit is on a hard part of your face like the jawline, chin, forehead or nose area. It's more difficult to do correctly in the fleshy parts like your cheeks.

Here's how to correctly pop a pimple.
1) Buy a comedone extractor. This is what they look like:
 The loop end is what you are going to use to gently remove the pus from the clogged pore. You can use the needle end to gently pierce the top of the zit to make it easier to remove.

2) Wash and dry your face. It can be helpful to gently scrub with a wash cloth to remove dead skin cells on the surface. Don't use hot water- no need to inflame the pimple more than it already is.

3) Center the loop over the head of the pimple, press down gently and slide the loop over the pimple. Repeat if necessary but don't press down harder. You can also try piercing the top of the pimple with the needle and then try sliding the extractor over the pimple again. This should remove the pus.

Make sure to clean the extractor after each use (a quick wipe with rubbing alcohol should suffice). You don't want to spread the bacteria to a new place the next time you use it.

After you have extracted the zit, DO NOT pick at it. The point is to remove the pus and make the zit easier to cover up, not to create a scab. Scabs leave scars. Do not squeeze pimples with your fingers, this is what leads to damage in the lower layers of skin and leaves scars. It is also helpful at this point to apply your 2%  salicylic acid treatment gel to the treatment spot.

So there you have it. You can pop a pimple safely, just don't overdo it and don't pick at it afterwards. Good luck!