Should You Pop Pimples? A Dermatologist Weighs In

Should You Pop Pimples? A Dermatologist Weighs In
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We’ve all been there. You wake up with a giant pimple right before a big event, or you catch a glimpse of a whitehead in the mirror and can’t resist the urge to squeeze. It’s tempting – the instant gratification of popping a pimple can be oh-so-satisfying.

But is popping pimples really a good idea? Or is it causing more harm than good? We asked our very own board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Rich, to weigh in and give us an expert opinion.

Is it better to pop a pimple or not?

In a word, no. While popping a pimple might seem like a quick fix, it’s usually a bad idea. Dr Rich explains that popping a pimple can worsen inflammation, potentially leading to longer healing times and more noticeable redness.

Furthermore, the pressure from popping can rupture the pimple under the skin, forcing bacteria and pus deeper into the tissues. This can result in a more severe infection and increase the likelihood of acne scarring.

And let’s not forget the bacteria on our hands. Popping a pimple with unwashed hands can introduce new bacteria into the broken skin, worsening the infection or even causing new breakouts.

Where does the pus go if you don’t pop a pimple?

If you leave a pimple alone, your body’s natural healing process takes over. White blood cells rush to the site of the infection to fight off the bacteria. These white blood cells, along with dead skin cells and sebum (oil), form the pus you see in a pimple.

Over time, the inflammation subsides, and the pimple either comes to a head and drains on its own or is reabsorbed by the body. This process might take a few days or even weeks, depending on the severity of the pimple. While it might not be as satisfying as popping, allowing the pimple to heal naturally is ultimately the best way to minimise scarring and prevent further breakouts.

Dr Rich reassures us that the body’s immune system will eventually eliminate the pus even without popping. 

Effective pimple treatments

We understand that waiting for the natural healing process can be frustrating, especially when dealing with a stubborn pimple or a full-blown breakout. If you can’t resist the urge to take action, Dr Rich recommends the following:

Consultation with a dermatologist

They can help you get to the root of your acne problem and prescribe the proper treatment based on your skin type and specific needs. This might include prescription medications, topical creams, or other therapies.

Getting quick fixes

If you’re looking for an over-the-counter solution, look for products containing ingredients like salicylic acid, retinol, or benzoyl peroxide. These can help reduce inflammation, unclog pores, and kill bacteria. Our ENRICH Glycolic Skin solution sprayed onto a cotton wool pad and dabbed on the pimple also works.

Treatments for long-term acne issues

Patience, lifestyle changes and a good skincare routine are foundations of clearer skin. But for persistent or recurring acne, some long-term treatment options are:

Prescription medicine

If you have moderate to severe acne, your dermatologist may prescribe medications based on your specific needs. Oral antibiotics can help reduce inflammation and kill acne-causing bacteria. Topical medications can unclog pores, regulate oil production, and prevent new breakouts.

Regular skin peels

Chemical peels, such as salicylic or glycolic acid peels, exfoliate the skin’s surface, remove dead skin cells, and unclog pores. This can help reduce the severity of acne breakouts, improve skin texture, and fade acne scars.

Dedicated skin routine with products designed for acne treatment 

Having a consistent skincare routine with products specifically formulated for acne-prone skin is crucial for managing and preventing breakouts. A dermatologist can prescribe specific products for you, but usually, these are cleansers containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, toners with witch hazel or tea tree oil, oil-free and non-comedogenic moisturisers, and spot treatments with sulphur or niacinamide.

The Secret

This procedure, also known as RF microneedling, combines the power of microneedling with radiofrequency energy to stimulate collagen production and rejuvenate the skin. 

Microneedling creates controlled micro-injuries to trigger the body’s natural healing response. This promotes skin regeneration and reduces the appearance of acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. These wave-based therapies also kill bacteria and improve overall tone and texture.

The Secret is not an acne treatment per se but for managing acne scarring. But it can be used along with acne prescription medicine for faster healing.

Consult with ENRICH dermatologist today about your acne

Acne treatment is highly individualised because the most effective approach varies depending on factors like your age and skin type.

Adults with acne, for instance, often require different treatment plans than teenagers due to differences in skin structure and hormonal activity. 

It’s best to consult with a dermatologist for personalised advice and a treatment plan.

If you’re struggling with acne or have questions about how to care for your skin, book a consultation with us via email, phone or online.

Please Note:

*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Some surgeries have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.

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