How to Pop a Pimple

Three Parts:Deciding Whether a Pimple Should Be PoppedPrepping Your Hands and the PimplePopping the Pimple

The reason you're not supposed to pop pimples is that anytime you deliberately break skin, you risk creating a scar or getting an infection. Popping pimples also in the long term damages skin. Sometimes, though, it's impossible to wait for a pimple to go away on its own. This article describes how to figure out when a pimple is ready to be popped, and how to do it safely with minimal pain and damage. However, use a hydro colloidal bandage on a pimple whenever possible.

Part 1
Deciding Whether a Pimple Should Be Popped

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    Pop whitehead pimples. Whitehead pimples have usually been around for a few days, and they have a white tip where pus has collected underneath the skin. These pimples are easy to pop, and when treated with care they can be safely removed without causing an infection or scarring.
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    Don't pop other types of pimples. Whiteheads are the only type of pimples you should be popping. Popping other types of pimples can lead to scarring, infection, bleeding and pain, so leave them alone.
    • Pimples that have just appeared in the past day or two aren't ready to pop yet. Wait until the whitehead appears at the tip of the blemish.
    • Pimples that are big, red, and sore should not be popped. There's too great a risk that an infection could occur, and popping a pimple this big will almost definitely lead to a scar.

Part 2
Prepping Your Hands and the Pimple

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    Wash your hands. This is a very important step, so do it thoroughly, especially underneath the nails, and use plenty of soap and warm water. You'll want to avoid letting your fingers and nails actually touch the pimple, but just in case they do, having them clean will reduce the likelihood of irritation and infection.
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    Clean the skin surrounding the pimple. When you pop the pimple, you'll be opening the skin, creating a way for bacteria to enter. The pimple will heal faster if you don't give bacteria a chance to settle in and create an infection. Cleaning will also remove any oil, sweat, dirt, and makeup.
    • To cleanse the area, you can use antibacterial face cleanser or swab the area with rubbing alcohol using a cotton ball.
    • Don't scrub the area too hard, or you'll irritate it further. Gently cleanse the area, rinse it with warm water, and pat it dry with a towel.
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    Put a bowl of water in the microwave until it starts releasing steam. Put a towel over the back of your head, and place your face over the steam (not too close, though, you don't want to burn yourself). The steam will open up your pores, and allow the sebum to exit the pimple through the pore easier, allowing for a lower chance of scarring.
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    Cover your hands. Put on disposable gloves just before you're ready to pop the pimple. Not only will this put a barrier between any remaining bacteria on your fingers (and in your fingernails) and your skin, but it will also prevent the sharp edges of your nails from impacting the pimple. Applying pressure with your nails is unnecessary, especially if you've followed all these steps.
    • If you don't have disposable gloves, you can cover your fingers with clean tissues.[1]
    • If you don't want to use your hands, you can use a clean small-loop-headed blackhead/whitehead remover tool (called an extractor), which will evenly apply pressure around the edges of the pimple where it is needed and not in unnecessary areas where it will simply cause pain and bruising. (Since the end of the tool is sort of pointy, be careful not to poke yourself too hard with it.)

Part 3
Popping the Pimple

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    Plant your fingertips around the pimple's peak. The peak of the pimple is its highest point, usually located right in the center. Place one fingertip on either side, just below the tip of the whitehead. Instead of pushing at the tip of the whitehead, aim for the area underneath. You should be able to feel the sebum-filled area easily. If it feels more squishy than like a hard ball under the surface, the pimple isn't ready. After you've located the sebum-filed area, very gently wiggle your fingers together to coax the fluid out.
    • If no pus comes out, position your fingertips in a slightly different place around the pimple, then try again.
    • If the pus still remains in the pimple, stop trying to pop it. The pimple is not yet ready to be popped; either wait a few days or let it go away on its own.[2]
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    Massage the skin around the pimple. This will encourage the remaining pus to come out; keep doing it until the pimple is completely drained. Don't touch the pimple itself, except to blot away the pus with tissues. There may be some bleeding. What this means is that the sebum from the pimple opened up the follicle it had grown in. If you see blood, stop pushing at the pimple, and leave it alone - it will only put more pressure on the swollen area, and may cause scarring.
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    Wipe the area with an antiseptic solution. Again, the important thing is to make sure bacteria doesn't invade the opening in the skin.
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    Apply a benzoyl peroxide acne treatment on the pimple. This will help oust any bacteria that was inside the pimple.


  • To prevent future pimples from coming up, watch your diet and clean your face every day.
  • Dampening a washcloth with hot water and holding it onto the blemish will help drain the pimple, and may reduce or eliminate the pain.
  • Don't scrape at your skin to get the pimple; that will make it worse.
  • Keep your skin clean and healthy by changing your pillowcase weekly, eating foods rich in protein, washing your face with a gentle cleanser, using fresh make-up and drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day to avoid pimples, and when they come, try to keep your hands off your face. If you do touch your face, wash it gently in the next hour.
  • All pimples will eventually go away on their own, and you minimize your risk of infections or scarring if you decide not to pop it.
  • If you have a frequent problem with acne, you should mention this to your dermatologist. He/she might be able to help!
  • Extremely resistant pimples can be forced open with a needle or small pin. Sterilize the needle or pin either with alcohol or by holding the needle or pin in a flame for 10-15 seconds. Let it cool a few seconds before puncturing into the side of the pimple, if you puncture the top there is a greater risk of damaging the skin.
  • You can also try using moisturizing lotion or ice. This is not painful and it really helps.
  • Popping a pimple will damage skin, pushing bacteria deeper inside. Consider using a gentler method of a hydro colloidal bandage instead.
  • If you want to get reduce the size of a pimple and help I go fast, just use ice. Get some ice, cover the ice with a washcloth and place it on your pimple for about 10 mins, doing this regularly will help to shrink the pimple and therefore make it go away faster. Do not place ice directly to your skin as it will irritate it.
  • It's better to not pop it. It will naturally go away. Good hygiene can help preventing acne or pimples. Some acne or pimple last 2-3 days or at least 1 week.
  • If you don't have an extractor tool, use the looped end of a new, unused bobby pin the same way an extractor would be used.
  • Toothpaste doesn't work very well. Try buying some special cream instead.
  • It's alright once in a while to wash your face with soap and water, but using soap on your face isn't always good.
  • Don't pop your pimple; only a little bit of the bacteria comes out and the rest explodes inside into other pores causing more pimples.
  • Toothpaste is not a myth. There is logic behind it as to why it reduces redness in acne.
  • Don't scratch your pimples as you may risk getting damaged tissue and ultimately a scar.
  • Dry out pimples overnight using an oil free moisturizer. Oil in the moisturizer only feeds the pimple!
  • It's not safe to this as you can infect the area or your skin. It's not sanitary either. Research and try products that are compatible with your skin type and your purpose for purchasing it.
  • If you do this, you have to be careful. After doing so, put a cotton ball on the pimple to absorb any extra pus and then apply ice to the pimple to minimize the redness and size.

Article Info

Categories: Acne