To Pop or Not: What to Weigh Before Attacking Pimples
For some bizarre reason, popping your zits feels sooo satisfying. And the explanation for why it feels so good? Addictive even?
According to board-certified psychiatric Nicole Karcinski, “Releasing dopamine is what is truly the neurobiological basis of habit,” dubbing it the “feel-good hormone.”
As great as squeezing all the gunk out of your pimples feels, your skin pays the price for that moment of satisfaction. A big price, for that matter.
Below, we show you what to weigh before attacking pimples – because it just might save your skin.
Popping Causes Scarring
You may have heard about this before, but it’s so accurate. Picking and prodding at your skin is the fastest way to cause damage to skin tissue, creating an injury that turns into a scar.
“A pimple is like a little bag under the skin that contains oil, bacteria, and inflammation,” explains Consultant Dermatologist Michelle Rodrigues. “Squeezing it can result in these contents being pushed into surrounding skin, making the problem worse. It can also lead to infection and temporary darkening of the skin in that area.” Honestly guys, is it really worth it? For just a few seconds of satisfaction?
She adds, “On top of this, the inflammation can become so bad that scarring is left behind when the pimple finally settles down. And scarring (unlike the pimple) can be permanent.”
So the next time you think about squeezing that pesky, protruding pimple, think again. It could mean the difference between clear skin and scarred skin.
Scarring Takes a While to Heal (Or Could Even Become Permanent)
The scariest part about acne scarring? It could be a permanent thing!
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, popping pimples can cause long-lasting acne. While some scarring may fade after several months or years, it could potentially never fade, leaving you with permanent scarring.
Besides light-colored scarring on the skin, squeezing your pimple can also lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which causes dark patches to appear on the skin.
When you’re dealing with a breakout, try to avoid picking or popping it at all costs. Patience really is key here. By leaving it alone, you’ll be far less likely to experience permanent scarring from your pimple.
Popping Causes Redness
Another thing to consider before popping your zit: it could cause redness.
“Redness can be caused by trauma to the skin cells caused from aggressively picking at blemishes,” explains celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. “Picking at the skin can leave a red post-breakout mark long after the infection disappears. Whether or not you picked at your blemish (hopefully not), it’s common to be left with a red, dark, or purple mark that can hang around for weeks.”
We can also place the blame on inflammation here, as inflammation is the body’s natural response to heal and repair itself. And with inflammation comes redness.
Whiteheads vs Blackheads
So what about whiteheads and blackheads? Where do they come in? And should either of them be squeezed?
Blackheads are basically just clogged pores. While the derms advise against squeezing them yourself, they do recommend getting them physically extracted – by a professional, of course. Not extracting them correctly could result in scarring. Plus, squeezing them yourself may stretch the pores, allowing more gunk to fill them up, resulting in clogged pores.
It’s also fine just to leave them be. The only downside is that they may stick around for a few weeks or months. You’ll have to wait for your body to naturally push the contents out.
As for whiteheads, they’re basically just pimples with a pus-filled tip. While squeezing them helps them heal faster, there is a higher risk of scarring with this type of acne.
Like blackheads, whiteheads usually go away on their own.
Face vs Body Acne
Picking body breakouts is equally as bad as popping the zits on your face. Avoid it if you can!
Picking nearly always leads to pigmentation, which is tough to get rid of – as we just explained.
In fact, in some cases, picking at body acne can be even worse than picking at face acne. That’s because the skin on your back is harder to reach than that on your face. Plus, the skin is thicker and requires stronger concentrations of active ingredients to fade marks.
Is Pimple Popping Ever Ideal?
We understand dealing with pimples is frustrating, but be patient. Those breakouts will disappear in a few days. What we don’t recommend is popping them. Like, ever. And the American Academy of Dermatology agrees with us.
There are too many unwanted side effects of popping your own pimples. To physically get rid of acne, leave pimple extraction to the experts.
HOW TO HEAL ACNE SCARS FROM POPPING
If it’s too late for you and the damage has already been done, it’s actually not too late. There are a few products you can use to heal your acne scars quickly and effectively. Let us show you our top picks:
Our Stars Prevent Scars Acne Patches
Heal and prevent simultaneously with these pretty, star-shaped acne stickers. Made with hydrocolloid to draw out fluid from the pimple and glycolic acid to exfoliate away discoloration, these acne patches work wonders for acne-prone skin types.
24k Black Soap
Got scars on your back? Our 24k Black Soap can help you out.
Formulated with African black soap, chamomile, and 24k gold, this product is designed to cleanse and rid the skin of impurities, while healing any current blemishes.
CBD Jelly Anti-Blemish Cleanser
Clear away pimples, decongest pores, and fade acne scars with our CBD facial formula.
This product contains CBD, watermelon, and retinol to keep breakouts at bay and smooth out the skin for a beautiful, even complexion.
Jelly Booster Pigment Treatment
And finally, you cannot be without this scar-fading body serum, designed to target and lighten hyperpigmentation caused by acne scars, hormonal changes, and trauma to the skin.