So, You Popped a Pimple — Here’s What to Do Next and How to Heal It
You could’ve covered your pimple up with concealer. You could’ve applied a spot treatment formulated with benzoyl peroxide. Or, better yet, you could’ve just let the blemish run its course. But despite your better judgment, you gave in to temptation and picked away at the pesky zit on your face. We’ve been there more times than we’d like to admit. The very pimple you hoped to address (or at the very least hide) is now an angry spot on your complexion. Unfortunately, you can’t go back in time and undo your mistake, so it’s time for damage control from here on out.
To find out what to do after popping a pimple, we tapped in board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Arash Akhavan. In addition to tips on how to manage a popped pimple, he shared everything you need to know to help prevent pimples from popping up in the first place.
Why You Should Never Pop Your Pimples
By picking at your skin, you risk cross contamination (think about how many germs can be on your hands), possible infection, as well as potentially visible scarring. What’s more, popping pimples at home may even push some of the contents of the clogged pore deeper into the skin, which can increase inflammation and lead to more breakouts.
If you’re looking for ways to help keep your pimples under control, reach for an acne spot treatment. These formulas contain acne-fighting ingredients which can help reduce the appearance of blemishes over time. They may not work overnight, but they can be incredibly effective with continued use. If you’re in a pinch and need to hide the look of your pimples, foundation or concealer can cover up bumps and redness and make blemishes appear less noticeable.
How to Heal a Popped Pimple
The area around your blemish may appear irritated immediately after you pick at it, but there are ways to care for your skin to make it look as good as possible. Before you panic, follow these steps:
STEP 1: Cleanse Your Skin
Now that the skin around the blemish is broken, it could be more susceptible to unwanted bacteria. We recommend cleansing both in the morning and evening with a gentle cleanser, especially if you have acne-prone skin. You want to ensure that you’re removing surface debris, dirt and makeup before it has a chance to clog your pores. Just be sure that your cleanser is not too harsh because your skin is still healing.
STEP 2: Apply a Spot Treatment
“I recommend drying your pimple out with a spot salicylic acid product,” advises Dr. Akhavan. Salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide are both powerful acne-fighting ingredients that can be found in a wide variety of skin-care products. It works as a chemical exfoliator to remove the layer of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. We like the AcneFree Terminator 10.
STEP 3: Leave It Alone
After you apply your spot treatment, keep your hands away from your face and allow your skin to heal on its own. Avoid touching your pimples with your fingers as much as possible. By touching the blemish, you’re only inviting more bacteria in to potentially irritate the area even further.
STEP 4: Skip the Makeup
While it may seem tempting to try to cover up the offending area with concealer and foundation right away, now that you have popped your pimple, it’s best to keep it clean and hydrated. If you can, wait to put on your makeup, too. To apply makeup to a freshly popped pimple, be sure to use your spot treatment, first.
Once your skin has recovered, you can help hide its appearance by reaching for a high-coverage concealer like Dermablend Quick Fix Concealer.
How to See Clearer Skin More Quickly
When you’re dealing with blemishes, it can be hard to be patient and allow it to run its course. To help speed along the time it takes for your skin to clear, follow these helpful tips.
Skin-Care Tip #1: Keep Your Hands Off Your Face
Picking and prying at your skin can make your acne worse. Resist the urge to pop your pimples and do your best to keep your hands off your face — this includes resting your face on your palms! The truth is that even if you wash your hands diligently, harmful bacteria can still be present.
Skin-Care Tip #2: Relieve Pain With Ice
Acne can be painful, especially nodules and cysts. To help reduce inflammation, apply ice to the area. This can also help lower the redness on the skin’s surface.
Skin-Care Tip #3: Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Even if you’re dealing with oily, acne-prone skin, you should still be using a hydrating moisturizer daily. Spot treatments and acne-fighting cleansers have a tendency to be a bit drying for the skin. To ensure that you replenish any lost moisture, you’re going to want to grab a moisturizer or cream that works with your skin type. If you need recommendations, we rounded up the best non-comedogenic moisturizers for acne-prone skin.