By Sam Nichols
So, we’ve all been there: You wake up, look in the mirror and suddenly there’s an enormous red lump pulsating out of your face. Mocking you, almost. Maybe you’ve got a date, a party, or a job interview. Or maybe you’ve woken up from a big night, you’re already feeling fragile right now, and the last thing you need is to have a painful zit staring at you.
You know you’re not supposed to pop zits. But this particular morning, you think to yourself: What’s the worst that could happen?
Wrong move there.
Look, I’m not what you’d call a “dermatologist,” or a “doctor,” or “someone with real medical advice.” You’ve caught me out. And I’m not here to shame you on your decision here. We’ve all done it before. But as indulgent as popping pimples may be, and as much as you hate that pimple, it’s not a great idea.
We’re not the only ones who feel this way. There are infinite scientific journals that uphold the danger of popping zits. But let’s be real: Few people are reading those. So instead, here are some very important and realistic reasons you shouldn’t pop your pimples.
You Will Regret It
It’s very simple: You will regret it. Don’t believe me? Here’s a hypothetical:
Let’s say one day you wake up and you notice there’s a head on that pimple of yours. So, naturally, you decide to pop it. But in an amazing plot twist: That wasn’t a head—deep, underground zits are not characterized by heads. You squeezed too hard, and it’s now bloody, swollen and looks worse.
It’s not unlikely you’ll now have a scab for two weeks, and you’ll spend those two weeks thinking about how illogical that decision was.
Literally no one recommends you do this
Usually, in science and medicine, there’s always a one percent margin of experts who give horrible advice, saying things like running isn’t a good form of exercise, or that you should rub acid on your face.
You know who’s advocating for you to pop a pimple immediately as it rises on your face? No one. Not even the dermatologists who pop pimples on YouTube — the people who pay their bills by the action of popping pimples — are saying it’s the best idea.
So here’s our logic: if everyone is here saying that you should avoid popping pimples, you should avoid popping pimples*.
(*There’s one caveat. Read ‘til the end for it.)
Let’s break down exactly what you’re doing: You’re squeezing what is an inflamed, blocked pore with such strength, that you cause rupturing of the epidermis. Nothing comes out except a little blood, because you can’t pop blind, deep zits, remember?
It might leave a mark
Have you ever popped a pimple, and maybe done something you shouldn’t have? Like, scratch it off when it wasn’t healing or going down fast enough? Or did it just slowly heal, only to leave a mark that no matter what you try, won’t go away? Want to know why that happened? You popped your pimples.
When you squeeze a zit, it can result in facial scars or hyperpigmentation (which is discoloration you can’t immediately fix.)
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having either of those things, but what sucks is how years later, you’re at work holiday party, minding your own business as you sip on that third glass of champagne, chatting with Carol from HR. Then out of nowhere, Carol’s husband (you remember Mark? The obnoxious one) comes up to you, blurting out mid-conversation “IS THAT A BIRTHMARK ON YOUR FACE.”
You really will regret It
I really, really can’t stress this enough. You will regret it. Just like you did the last time you popped a pimple. And the time before that.
….Okay, fine, if you’re going to do it anyway
I get it. You’re human. If you’re going to pop your pimple on your own, it’s about using common sense. Don’t pop unless there’s a definite head. Be gentle. Don’t keep squeezing if nothing’s coming out. Make sure you’ve washed your hands and your face with a gentle cleanser. You know, logical stuff.
To avoid scarring and abrasions, it’s about steps — don’t just rush in there. Hold a warm washcloth over your blocked pore for a few minutes. It’ll open the pore and soften the junk inside. Also, use an extractor or a loop instead of your fingers. And once you’ve popped — stop; apply a hydrocolloid patch and keep that ex-pimple clean.
But the moral of the story is don’t do it. Just leave it. It’s fine. Zits are fine. You look still look great, okay?