Stop Popping Your Pimples and Follow These Tips Instead
Right next to nail-biting, popping pimples earns a permanent spot on the list of bad habits to stop now. Easier said than done, though. If the surge in pimple-popping videos on social media is any indication, there’s a deep fascination with popping zits that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. So, what gives? We tapped into board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dendy Engelman to understand why we can’t always fight the urge to pop our pimples—and what to do instead.
Between the daily stressors of our lives, environmental aggressors, and plain old genetics, chances are you’ll end up with a pimple at one point or another. When that happens, you—like many others—may get a sudden urge to pop it. According to Dr. Engelman, that feeling is normal. “It is human nature to want to rectify an issue, and it can be satisfying to pop a pimple,” she says. And while popping a pimple here and there can seem harmless, the truth is it can make matters worse. “The issue is that short-term positive feeling can have negative long-term effects,” Dr. Engelman says. “If it is an open comedone that can be easily ‘popped’ with clean and sanitized tools, the rule of thumb is if after three gentle pushes nothing comes out you should leave it.” Instead, visit your dermatologist who can help remove the pimple correctly and with a lesser risk of consequences, including infection, more noticeable acne, or permanent scarring.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE PIMPLES?
This may seem silly, as pimples aren’t exactly new by any means, but do you actually know what’s causing your zits? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the term “acne” can actually be traced back to ancient Greece, from an old Greek word that means “skin eruption.” Inside your pores hold oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, all three of which are perfectly normal and were there before that pimple formed. When puberty happens, your body starts changing in different ways. Your skin can start to produce too much oil, and this oil—along with dead skin cells and bacteria—can clog up the pores and result in acne. Since a prevention plan is better than a treatment plan, read on for a few ways to prevent future breakouts from happening.
DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
Think about all the things your hands have touched today—everything from subway poles to doorknobs. They are likely covered with germs that have no business coming into contact with your pores. As such, do your skin a favor and refrain from touching your face. Even if you think your hands are clean, there’s a good chance they may not be.
WASH YOUR FACE MORNING AND NIGHT
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: don’t forget to cleanse your skin daily. According to the AAD, it’s ideal to wash your face twice a day with warm water and a mild cleanser. Refrain from harsh scrubbing as doing so may irritate your pimples even further.
LOOK FOR OIL-FREE SKIN CARE PRODUCTS
If you’re not already incorporating oil-free skin care products into your routine, now’s a good time to start. Those prone to breakouts especially could benefit from oil-free skin care and makeup products. Look for words like “oil-free, noncomedogenic” and “nonacnegenic” on the packaging before you buy.
DON’T OVERDO IT
You may see words like “benzoyl peroxide” and “salicylic acid” on the back of acne-fighting skin care products, too. Benzoyl peroxide is common in lotions, gels, cleansers, creams, and washes, as the ingredient can kill harmful bacteria and target the oil and dead skin cells from your pores, and salicylic acid helps to unclog pores. Both of these ingredients can help address your breakouts, but it’s important not to overdo it. Follow the instructions carefully on the product packaging to keep unwanted dryness and irritation at bay.