One of the cardinal rules of skincare is this: Never pop a pimple. You’ll leave a mark, the bacteria will spread, it’ll look worse than it did before, yadda yadda yadda. So, yeah, we know we’re not supposed to pop a zit, but you know just as well as I do that most people don’t always follow that rule. Sometimes, you just have to pop that sucker or else you’ll go absolutely nuts. We’ve all been there, right? Right. Even skincare obsessives and gurus break the no-pop rule every now and then. If they can, us mere mortals shouldn’t be expected to hold the line either.
Luckily, when it comes to popping a zit, there is a right way to do it. Do you still have a chance of developing hyper pigmentation if you pop a zit the right way? Sure you do. But trust, the chances are greatly reduced as long as you do just a couple of things differently. Check out these six things you need to do to pop a zit the right way and prosper.
DON'T Pop A Zit That's Not ReadyOkay, I know that this whole post is about breaking the rules about popping zits, but there's still an important rule to zit popping that you absolutely MUST follow: Don't pop a zit that isn't ready. That means as terrible as that burgeoning-under-theskin zit feels, don't even think about it. The only zits you should attempt to pop are the ones that have a whitehead or--at a push--the ones that are very clearly coming to a head at the surface of your skin. My So-Called Life
Treat The Area Before The Big PopMake sure your face is clean! Give it a good wash with your favorite cleanser before popping. If your skin isn't super sensitive, consider wiping your zit down with some salicylic acid (like Stridex Pads) first. The salicylic acid helps clean the pore, so your skin will thank you. Stridex Pads Maximum Strength for $7.35 from Amazon.
Lance The Head Of The Zit With A Sterilized NeedleUnless you're dealing with a whitehead that is ready to burst, don't just squeeze your zit, hoping that the pus will come out. Instead, you want to gently pierce your zit; just make sure the puncture is shallow. Skincare obsessives sweat by using diabetes lancets to get the job done; you can buy them at the drugstore. Or, keep it simple by using a sterilized sewing needle. You can sterilize the needle by soaking it in rubbing alcohol or running the tip through an open flame. iStock.com
DON'T SQUEEZEAs in, don't pinch it! This can leave the skin a lot more irritated and even spread the zit's icky bacteria. Your best bet is to press the skin around your zit to encourage the pus to come out. But never--and I mean never--get your fingernails in the mix. I've had to learn this the hard way and ended up breaking my skin, leaving a far nastier, more noticeable blemish than any zit ever could. Instead, consider using cotton swabs for your pressing action. The cotton bits will also help absorb any excess pus or blood, which is always a plus. iStock.com
Slap On A Hydrocolloid BandagesAfter you get as much gunk out as possible, place a hydrocolloid bandage on the area. You're probably wondering WTF that is. Here's the quick and dirty: Hydrocolloid bandages are special bandages that are coated with an adhesive that absorbs excess water from a wound and helps it heal faster. Basically, it's going to absorb all the excess pus and gunk that will flow from your zit post-pop. For the sake of ease, keep an eye out for hydrocolloid bandages that are circular and perfect for plopping on top of a healing zit. Check out the ones Nexcare and Corsx has to offer before exploring other options; they're highly recommended. Nexcare Acne Absorbing Cover for $4.93 and Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch for$4.99 , from Amazon
Give Your Zit The Proper Post-Pop Treatment To Avoid And ShortenYou can pop your zit perfectly, but that doesn't mean that you won't experience any acne marks after the big squeeze. That's why you need to do everything you can to make sure you get rid of the dark marks ASAP. There are a few ways to go about this. First off, use products with a chemical exfoliant like lactic or glycolic acid; these help speed up your skin's rejuvenation process and sheds away old skin faster than letting time take its course. If you're looking to splurge a bit on your skin, check out Drunk Elephant's Baby Facial treatment (left). You can also achieve this by using a store-bought or prescription retinol/retinoid cream. Additionally, vitamin C has healing properties that help fade dark marks fast, so check out vitamin C serums like Mario Badescu's (center). But no matter what, the most important (and underrated) element of reducing dark marks comes from good ol' fashioned SPF. The sun triggers melanin production, which is nice if you want a tan, but awful if you want to get rid of dark marks. Slap on some face friendly sunscreen like an oil-free one by La Roche Posay (right). From left to right: Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Baby Facial, $80 at Sephora; Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum, $45 at Ulta; La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen, $19.99 at Target.
Do you pop your zits on the regular or avoid it like the plague? Tell us in the comments!