You might be surprised to learn that America's acne expert, Dr. Pimple Popper (irl, dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD), doesn’t want you to pick, pop, or squeeze your pimples. While extractions (preferably in-office) are sometimes appropriate, popping your own pimples is a definite no-no. Here are 5 reasons why — and what you should do instead to treat your pimples.
#1 You’re tearing your tissue
Unless it’s an open comedone (aka blackhead), popping a pimple means you’re breaking through a layer of skin. But even squeezing a blackhead traumatizes tissue. This creates a wound on top of a pimple. To gently but powerfully exfoliate clogged pores without picking, Dr. Lee favors salicylic acid. Find it in SLMD Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment, which also contains witch hazel to fight bacteria.
#2 You’re interrupting the healing process
Acne forms when pores clog up with dirt, oil, and sometimes, bacteria. Your body’s defenses naturally kick in to remedy the situation — which gets sidetracked when you squeeze. You’re now up against two enemies: a clogged pore and damaged tissue. When you get a powerful urge to pop a pimple, remember that acne is a normal skin condition — and be kind to your skin.
#3 You might be making it worse
Popping a pimple can introduce more contaminants from your fingers and face — or push trapped oil and bacteria deeper down — into your pores, provoking an even bigger blemish. Instead, try an acne-fighter like SLMD BP Acne Spot Treatment. It’s loaded with benzoyl peroxide to kill acne-causing bacteria, along with allantoin to ease inflammation.
#4 You might create multiple pimples
All that gunk exploding out of an acne pustule or papule can spread bacteria, exacerbating your breakout. And if you breach the pore wall within the dermis, you might be making baby cysts all around the area. To keep fingers off your face while fighting pimples, use SLMD Spot Check Acne Patches. These salicylic acid patches absorb excess oil and pus, while soothing and protecting skin from possible scarring.
P.s. If you're dealing with frequent acne breakouts, it's time to try a kit: Dr. Lee founded SLMD Skincare with the original Acne System, including everything you need to treat all the stages of acne.
#5 You could create a scar
Anytime you pick at your pimples (particularly deeper, cystic acne), you run the risk of creating permanent scarring. Even if you leave your acne alone, you’re likely to have some post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), or post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) as skin heals. Both PIH and PIE generally disappear over time, but you can speed the process with SLMD Dark Spot Fix — a powerful combination of niacinamide, salicylic acid and kojic acid that helps reduce the look of hyperpigmentation.
Dr. Lee's Last Word
As a dermatologist, I’m always going to tell patients not to pick or pop their pimples. It’s a lot to ask, I know — but having spot treatments with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide on hand will not only promote healing, they'll also keep you from touching and irritating your acne. So next time you’re tempted to pick a pimple, treat it with a targeted product or patch — and step away from that magnifying mirror!