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Does Popping Pimples Actually Help?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Does popping pimples actually help?
Signed: Does Popping Pimples Actually Help?

Dear Does Popping Pimples Actually Help?,


TeenHealthFX completely understands the frustration of dealing with acne and pimples, as well as the urge many teens have to want to get rid of their pimples as soon as possible. That said, we appreciate that it is very tempting to pop pimples, but the fact is that popping pimples will not necessarily get rid of the problem and can even make the problem worse. Squeezing blemishes and picking at your skin can actually push bacteria and pus deeper into the skin, which can cause more swelling and redness – and it can also lead to scabs and may leave you with permanent pits or scars.


Patience is the key when it comes to pimples. Your pimples will disappear on their own, and by leaving them alone you are less likely to be left with any reminders that it was there. To dry out a pimple faster, apply some over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide gel or cream once or twice a day – your pharmacist can make recommendations about what product might work best for you.


If you are worried about how problematic your acne seems to be on a regular basis, FX recommends that you speak with your primary care physician or a dermatologist about your concerns. There are stronger prescription products available (in topical and oral forms) that are available to deal with various types of chronic acne.


Preventing Acne


  • Wash acne-prone areas twice a day to remove the excess oil and dead skin cells which can clog pores. Wash with a gentle cleanser and use oil-free, water-based skin-care products. Do not over-wash your skin, as this can cause irritation.
  • Use an over-the-counter acne cream or gel to dry excess oil. Your doctor or pharmacist can make recommendations about products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid that will work best for you.
  • Avoid using heavy make-up. Choose powder cosmetics over cream products as they are less irritating.
  • Always remove make-up before going to bed. Going to sleep with make-up on your skin can clog your pores.
  • Throw out old make-up and clean your make-up brushes regular with soapy water.
  • If you are prone to getting acne on your body, such as your back or shoulders, wear loose-fitting clothing on those areas. Tight-fitting clothing traps heat and moisture and can irritate the skin.
  • Shower after exercising or doing any kind of strenuous work. The oil and sweat on your skin can trap dirt and bacteria.
  • Watch what touches your face. Keep your hair clean and off of your face. Avoid resting your hands or objects, like the phone, on your face. Certain types of hats can also be a problem for the forehead because sweat, dirt and oils can easily build up where the hat comes in contact with the skin.
  • Acne medication or treatments may need to be continued between breakouts to reduce the frequency and intensity of future breakouts.


When Is It Time To Speak With The Doctor About Acne?


It is recommended that you seek medical treatment from a dermatologist for persistent pimples or inflamed cysts to avoid scarring or other damage to your skin. If your acne, or scars related to acne, is negatively impacting your social relationships or self-esteem, consider speaking with a medical professional.


FX would like to stress to our readers not to go overboard with playing doctor with your own skin. Many people who feel desperate to eliminate their acne will begin to over-wash, pop-pimples, or use products that they think will help, but will actually do more harm than good (like rubbing alcohol). When feeling so desperate and left to our devices, we can actually make matters worse – so if you are struggling with your skin and how to care for it, schedule a consultation with a dermatologist as soon as possible.


Treatment Options


There are prescription treatments available to combat acne. Your doctor may recommend a topical (apply to your skin) or oral medication (taken by mouth). These treatments work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infections, reducing the inflammation, or a combination of the four.


With most prescription acne treatments, you may not see results for 4-8 weeks, and it is possible for the acne to get worse before it gets better. So if it takes some time for your treatment to kick in – don’t get discouraged and try to hang in there!


It is also important to know that oral prescription treatments are not recommended for pregnant women, especially during the first trimester. Keep in mind that some topical remedies make protecting your skin from the sun more of an issue. Ask your doctor if any gels or ointments you are applying necessitate increased efforts at protecting your skin from sun damage.



To find a dermatologist ask your primary care physician for a recommendation or contact your health insurance company to get the name of an in-network dermatologist.

Signed: TeenHealthFX