No one would disagree: there is something about popping a pimple that gives us instant gratification. The pimple is out and it will disappear in time for your skin to heal right before a date or a big night.
The problem is that if you do don't do it correctly, you could make matters worse by introducing even more bacteria to the area, or you could damage the skin. This will turn your date into a nightmare before it even begins.
Dermatologists advise you leave the pimple and not pop it, but it if you absolutely have to, here's how the doctor would do it:
1. Make sure it is ready to pop
If it is red, angry looking without a clear white centre, do not press it. Pressing the skin around a pimple with no clear white centre may damage the skin. Pressing a red pimple will not make it go "white" or "ripe" faster. A huge red bump on your face is not always a pimple!
2. If it is ready, it takes preparation
Jumping in and just pressing a pimple without proper preparation will make your face look like a war zone. Do the following:
- Wash your hands properly and clean the area around the pimple with soap and water.
- Sterilise a pin with a flame, cool it down and wipe it with alcohol.
- Use an alcohol swab to gently wipe the area around the pimple (not excessively as the alcohol may dry out the skin).
- Use the pin, and at the centre of the white part of the pimple, just open the tip. If it is too small to see, you shouldn't pop it in the first place!
- Gently press the area around the pimple. (Do not directly press the pimple!) *If you have to press excessively, or nothing is coming out, it is most likely not ready!
3. Clean the area afterwards
After you've popped the pimple, make sure you clean the the skin properly. Allow it to dry out.
Old wives tales like applying alcohol or toothpaste might make matters worse as it may dry out the skin or block the pores. The method of popping pimples should only be used for the occasional, unsightly mountain on your forehead. If you have numerous pimples, or recurrent pimples, have your doctor check them out.
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Dr. Owen J. Wiese is Health24's resident doctor. After graduating from Stellenbosch University with additional qualifications in biochemistry and physiology he developed a keen interest in providing medical information through the media.