Should you squeeze and pop spots?

It seems like a no-brainer, but so many of us still pop our pimples! Whether it’s to reduce the size, get rid of a blemish quicker, or just a bad habit, we’ve all popped spots before; but is it ever okay to pop a spot, and what are the consequences of taking popping into your own hands?

Is popping spots ever the right thing to do?

It is possible to pop certain spots, but as Dr Philippe Beaulieu says, ‘the only moment you can do it, is if you have blemishes with pus.’ Even then the popping process should be done by a doctor, with ‘clean hands and a comedone extractor.’

What are the reasons not to pop?

Don’t be tempted to pop spots because the way they look is bothering you. All that poking and scratching and pressing is hardly going to improve inflammation, and will probably make swelling and redness worse.

Dr Daisy Bennet

Further breakouts and scarring

There is something strangely satisfying about taking action into your own hands and squeezing spots; however, doctors are quick to point out that popping can lead to further breakouts and scarring. Spots contain bacteria, when we pop them these bacteria could potentially then land in other pores and create new spots.  You are also introducing brand new bacteria from your hands onto your face, again heightening the risk of new spots forming.  If spots have to be popped a medical professional should be the one doing it. By taking matters into your own hands you can seriously damage your skin long term. Dr Daisy Bennett cites scarring as the main reason not to pop your own spots. As unsightly as a spot appears now it is temporary, the scarring that occurs when popping isn’t executed properly is a long term problem which is much harder to treat.

Infection and discolouration

Infecting spots and causing discolouration are two other unfortunate by-products of squeezing. The effects of discolouration can take a long time to fade, whilst infected skin will also be much more difficult to treat than a normal spot. When poking and prodding your skin, it will thicken and become darker to protect itself from any harm. This hyperpigmentation can take a seriously long time to get rid of.  Hygiene is of huge importance too; your hands are definitely not sterile pieces of medical equipment. The likelihood is they are harbouring bacteria which will be redistributed onto your face, and put you back at square one, or worse cause a nasty infection. As a basic rule Dr Daisy Bennett says that it is ‘not advisable to do anything abrasive to acne prone skin.’

So resist the urge to take matters into your own hands and pop pimples! Instead adopt a good cleaning system and treatment for your spots and they will soon fade, without leaving any marks or scarring in their wake.

This article reflects the opinion of Dr Daisy Bennett and Dr Philippe Beaulieu and is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regime or course of conduct.


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