The Real Reason Popping Pimples Is Ruining Your Skin

For some people, there is nothing more satisfying than squeezing a pimple to the point of explosion. While it may be difficult to restrain from popping that zit, doctors say you should try, as some pimples can become infected or scarring can occur. According to Verywell Health, squeezing that pimple pushes the bacteria, dead skin, and pus deeper into the follicle, which then trickles into the lower layer of skin. Even if it seems you have gotten all that pus out, internally, you may still be harming the dermis and causing an infection.

Another reason you want to avoid pressing into your face is possible scarring. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah, when you pop a pimple, you are actually tearing the skin, creating an open wound (via Allure). Squeezing, poking, and pushing on the delicate skin of the face can result in unwanted scarring, bumps, and even more blemishes. Celebrity skin expert Dr. Erin Gilbert told Allure that "scarring is also a risk for people with deeper cystic pimples. These scars are difficult to treat once they've occurred."

Is it ever okay to pop a pimple?

If you are getting impatient with your zit, dermatologist Howard Murad suggests trying a few at-home treatments. Murad explained to Teen Vogue, "before resorting to popping, apply an acne or spot treatment — anything with salicylic acid should generally help." You can also apply a warm compress to the affected area for three to five minutes which may, in some cases, prompt the pimple to pop itself, which is a better outcome than squeezing and scarring.

If the scarring and skin infections don't scare you, and you cannot take the advice of dermatologist Rachel Nazarian who told ELLE that "the risks nearly always outweigh the benefits since most pimples will resolve on their own," then you must be specific about your pimple popping procedure. According to Elle, it's best to pop at night, post-shower, without tools, and as gently as possible. Nazarian says if the pimple does not drain easily, then it is not ready for popping.