We’ve all been guilty of it.
Despite the fact that, yes, we know we shouldn’t do it, it can be hard to resist popping a pesky pimple.
But it’s important to make sure that if you do squeeze a spot, you do so safely.
While any “extractions” would ideally be left to professionals to make sure there’s no scarring or the breakout doesn’t get worse, let’s be honest: it doesn’t always happen.
“The type of acne lesion that can be extracted (correctly) in a clinic is more of a pustule.
“The pustule occurs as the white blood cells fight the infection forming pus; this then rises in the follicle and becomes visible (not as deep set as nodules or cysts).
“Never touch a deep, red, inflamed and very painful breakout.
“It is likely that you will worsen the redness and inflammation.
“Worst case scenario, if you squeeze an inflamed lesion you could potentially rupture the follicle wall under the skin and spread the acne-causing bacteria resulting in a worsening of your acne or more acne popping up nearby.
“If inflammation worsens as a result of trauma from squeezing this can increase your risk of scarring.”
However, whiteheads and blackheads are usually non-inflammatory, feeling more like a bump on the skin rather than actually painful.
If the pimple is ready to pop and you want to do it at home, here’s Zoe’s steps on how you can safely do so:
1. First, soften the area with a tissue or clean towel soaked in warm water.
2. If working with a pustule, carefully open the pore (using a sterile needle), this gives the compaction an easy exit route out of the skin rather than “breaking” the skin on its exit.
3. Identify the direction of the follicle to determine where to apply pressure. Most follicles are not perpendicular to the skin, so applying pressure in one area or direction will not always do the job.
4. Use the correct “scoop and roll” technique, which resembles a C-like shape.
The end of the roll should be where the head of the breakout is.
If the white head is ready to go it should easily pop and pus will be released.
Usually, a hard compaction at the end indicates the lesion has been extracted correctly and a small amount of clear plasma may be secreted.