Prepared to Pop that Pimple? Think Again

September 12th, 2017 by Dr. Michael Glass

Why You Shouldn’t Squeeze or Pop Pimples


The unexpected arrival of a pimple is never convenient, and it’s only natural to try to rid our skin of the distracting and often painful presence of pimples and zits. But as tempting as it may be, it is always healthier and wiser to avoid popping the pimple no matter how much we think this may speed up the healing process.

Unless this technique is performed by a professional, popping a pimple can both threaten the long-term health of the skin and even prolong or intensify the breakout itself.

In the end, our body forms a pimple with the intention of protecting our pores—and it is always best to find ways to aid our skin in its natural healing process instead of getting in its way.

What is a pimple?

Our body’s skin is made up of millions of pores at the base of each hair follicle that release and regulate oils in the skin. Joined with the sebaceous glands, each pore transfers an oil known as sebum to act as a protective, bacteria-blocking ointment for the face. But as life gets in the way—through sweating, environmental disruptions, or fluctuating hormones, for example—the pore becomes blocked or the gland over-produces sebum as a protective reflex.

When pores are obstructed and inflamed, sebum and bacteria collects into a concentrated area, forming a pimple.

To contain the bacteria in the pore, the pimple protects the surrounding area until the pore heals.

So why not pop it?

Popping the pimple can lead to an array of issues. Any minute trace of bacteria transferred into the inflamed pore will cause greater swelling and prolong the life of the pimple.

Also consider that the bacteria which lives within the whitehead has now been released onto the surrounding skin. Popping a pimple is an inevitable way to cause an outbreak, even if extreme caution is taken.

And lastly, it’s important to treat a pimple as you would healthy skin. When pimples are popped or broken, we actually tear the skin itself, lengthening the restoration process.

Better Alternatives to Popping Pimples

morrocanoil-gift-boxChoosing not to pop a pimple may feel counterintuitive, but taking care of the whole pore will lessen the chances of blemishes, scars or further breakouts. Instead, consider a natural topical solution such as diluted tea tree oil or Moroccan Oil for full-body cleansing. Remember to protect the skin from the sun and moisten regularly to avoid the skin’s urge to overproduce oil—the issue that started the buildup in the first place.

For more extreme acne issues, visit your doctor for a long-term regimen. Medical professionals provide advice specific to your skin and acne recurrence, mapping out a comprehensive plan as well as a fix for the moment. On the whole, remember to take care of your overall health before and during an outbreak.

A balanced diet and proper amount of water aids our body’s ability to regain equilibrium more quickly.

Post-Pimple Issues

woman receiving chemical peelWhen the presence of a pimple sticks around too long, either through scarring or additional breakouts, there are numerous solutions to restoring healthy skin. Consider several technology-backed acne treatments such as photodynamic therapy, or PDT, which controls acne breakouts by regulating bacteria and sebum production in the pores. Combined with microdermabrasion or chemical peels, acne-affected skin can return to its even, original state.

Pimple breakouts are quite unfortunate, but we don’t have to let them grind our social and professional lives to a halt. When we consider the overall health and long-term balance of the skin, pimples will occur less and less, proving that there are better options than the tempting habit of pimple popping.