Can I just pop this zit? The short answer is probably just what you suspected: No, popping a pimple is never a good idea.
Just as mother warned, squeezing a zit will always make the situation worse and potentially even cause long-term damage. But sometimes staring into the mirror at a big, whopping zit inspires even the most responsible skincare junkies to take matters into their own hands.
Most pimples will come and go within a few days, but the dark red or purple mark left behind after picking can linger for months. Most acne scarring is caused by squeezing and picking—not by the blemishes themselves.
Fussing with a blemish damages sensitive tissue and can introduce infection-causing bacteria to your already irritated pores, leaving you with not only scars, but also more acne.
For those who still can’t keep their fingers off a ripe blemish, the least you can do is attempt to minimize the damage. When a blemish appears, wait—take a minute to ensure a proper assessment: pustule-type blemishes usually take a few days to turn into white heads, whereas cysts (non-squeezable bumps that require the body to absorb the infection) will eventually deflate. Never pick at a blemish that isn’t showing its white!
If a whitehead does appear, put tissue over your grimy fingers and be so very gentle. Just to reiterate—this is not recommended! Once you’ve done the poppin’, apply a spot treatment to help disinfect the area.
To avoid using your fingers, try a blackhead extractor or comedone extractor—a special tool designed to unclog pores of the grime that causes inflammation without causing significant side effects, if used correctly. Extractors usually feature two heads: a small spoon with a hole in the middle to gently apply pressure and release the trapped sebum, and a small, sharp lancet to puncture a whitehead and release the sebum.
Extractors are best used by competent skincare specialists in order to avoid misuse, but these tools can be purchased through beauty retailers and drugstores. If you dare use an extractor at home, be sure to properly cleanse the skin before and after with warm water and always disinfect the tool after each use.
But remember—patience is prime.