It’s a beautiful day, the birds are chirping, and the sun is shining. Nothing can rain on your parade. Except for that pesky whitehead that has conveniently decided to come up out of nowhere and plant itself smack in the middle of your face. Now, it is normal for you to instinctually bring your hands up to your face to start popping, picking, and probing at this pimple. But, before you resort to this, it is important to know the detrimental effects that these actions can have on your skin.
Despite the satisfaction of popping a pimple, there are three main reasons that pimple popping should be left to the experts or simply not done at all. First, each skin cell has a protective “fence” around it that acts as a barrier from other cells. When these protective walls are pushed and squeezed together, they are ruptured leading to potential increased risk of bacterial infection and inflammation. The skin damage that takes only seconds to create, can lead to permanent or semi-permanent scarring and discolouration. Second, the pimples squeezed have a much greater chance of heightened infection from new bacteria introduced from the hands into the newly-opened pustule. Since the hands are constantly touching foreign objects, if they are not properly and thoroughly cleaned, it is more likely than not, that new bacteria will irritate the existing pimple. Because the covering pimple “head” is no longer casing the contents of the pimple, bacteria can easily penetrate the exposed pimple. Finally, by popping pimples, you run the risk of having multiple new blemishes appear in the same spot. When the fingers are forcefully pushing down on the skin, it is likely that a mass amount of the sebum and puss is being pushed even further down into the skin. Once this sebum and puss are pushed into the deeper layers of the skin, they can easily travel through the skin into new surrounding cells; causing multiple new pimples to appear next to pre-existing popped ones.
This frustrating game of whack-a-mole is an ongoing battle that can be extremely difficult to avoid. However, many times the act of popping pimples is a psychological need, rather than a physical one. Thus, in order to prevent the aforementioned detrimental effects from occurring, finding alternative ways to get the satisfaction of popping a pimple while still treating it, is essential. Using a skin product that tingles such as tea tree oil applied directly to the blemish, or using an ice cube to reduce inflammation can be just as satisfying and much more effective methods of treatment. Additionally, if you suffer from moderate to severe acne, going to a professional who uses sanitary comedone extractors and can safely perform extractions on the skin is definitely something to consider.