Resisting the urge to pop a pimple can sometimes feel like a feat of Olympic proportions. We’ve had it drilled in our brains from an early age that we’re not supposed to do it, but is it really all that bad? We spoke to a few experts to find out.
So, it turns out that, yes, zit popping is a bad idea. “Popping a pimple can lead to redness and sometimes scabbing and scarring,” says New York cosmetic dermatologist Rhoda S. Narins, MD. On top of that, picking at a pimple can make it last longer.
There’s an even more unpleasant side effect. “When people pop pimples, the pus comes out and then when they go to pop another one, they spread the pus around their face which creates more pimples,” says Peoria, IL, dermatologist Carl W. Soderstrom, MD.
Even though it would be nice to just snap our fingers and have that pesky pimple vanish instantly, that’s just not going to happen. In the meantime, there are ways to help it go away quicker.
The first step is to use a hot compress to help pull the pus to the surface and speed up the healing process. The next step is to apply a drying lotion (one to try: Mario Basecu Drying Lotion ($17)), even toothpaste will help dry it up, says Dr. Narins. If it’s a particularly bad case or if you need clear skin in a hurry, a board-certified dermatologist can inject the pimple with medicine to help it go away rapidly and help you find other adult acne treatments.
Do you have a quick fix for pesky pimples? Do you pick your pimples?