There are several negative habits that may contribute to acne breakouts, and one of these relates to mistaken attempts to clear it up: Picking at or popping pimples. While it may seem like a good idea in the moment, and feels like it accomplishes something and gets rid of a negative mark, popping pimples yourself is not advised and actually will likely worsen your breakout.

At Skintherapy, we provide a wide range of acne removal and treatment options for those who want to rid themselves of these breakouts. What’s the problem with self-popping, and what are some of the potential negative outcomes? Most importantly, what are some healthy alternatives that will help limit the breakout? Here are some basics to understand.

Skin Damage

When a pimple becomes inflamed, like it often is before we decide to pick at it, it’s engorged with sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria and generally a pus of some kind. When you put pressure on the area, then, you’re creating even more pressure than there already is in this area, forcing those various pieces of debris down further into the skin follicle.

But, you might be thinking, I’m squeezing pus and debris out of the pimple – isn’t that good? For starters, this debris can spread bacteria to other nearby skin areas. For another, even if some pus is moving out of the area, it’s a sure bet that even more is being pushed down into the dermis, worsening the breakout.

Scarring Potential

In addition to potentially worsening the breakout itself, popping pimples is one way to worsen your blemishes and even risk long-term acne scarring damage. Enough squeezing can actually turn a pimple into a more serious blemish type like a cyst or a nodule, potentially serious and painful marks that are due to infection in the dermis.

In addition, each time the skin is damaged this way, its ability to heal itself properly reduces. Healthy tissue is lost over time, and the greater the damage, the higher the risk of this loss. Either dark marks or full-on depressed acne scars can develop.

Picking Alternatives

What are some safer methods for attempting to get rid of these marks? Here are a couple suggestions:

  • Ice: As soon as you feel an acne lesion coming up, get some ice – either in a circular package or frozen in a small paper cup. Roll the ice around your entire face in circular motions for a few minutes at a time, focusing in particular on the acne breakout area. This will help limit inflammation, plus will assist various acne treatment products with penetrating the skin properly.
  • Spot treatment: There are a few prominent over-the-counter acne spot treatments that will dry out existing pimples and help them heal. These are best for minor pimples – for more serious breakouts, speak to our team.
  • Visit a professional: Our esthetician are trained to perform extractions the safe way, which will help avoid damaging pores or spreading bacteria.

For more on why popping pimples at home is a mistake, or to learn about any of our acne treatment services, speak to the staff at Skintherapy today.