That big, juicy pimple greeting the world from the center of your chin is too ugly to resist. It's a day wrecker for sure, and the urge to squeeze it into oblivion overwhelms reason. (You know you could make it worse.)
The problem is that when a pimple is squeezed hard enough to pop, a little bit of the pus (white cells that eat up bacteria) may be pushed below the skin."Pus is pretty inflammatory, and if it gets into the oil gland that lives at the base of the hair follicle, the goop can get below the skin, causing further inflammation," explain RealAge experts Mehmet Oz, MD, and Michael Roizen, MD, in their new book, YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens. But the docs have a satisfying fix for your urge to pop that pimple. And this tip doesn't just apply to teenage acne. It's great for adults who break out, too (millions do).
How to Pop It
Follow these directions precisely so you don't risk scarring. Ideally, you'd have a skin doc do this, but who has a dermatologist on speed dial?
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Sterilize a needle by soaking it in rubbing alcohol, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or boiling water or (last choice, say some experts) by holding it in a flame.
- Use the tip of the needle to barely pierce the tip of the pimple (docs call this lancing). Your goal is to let the pus out and ease the inflammation. Do NOT squeeze, especially with your fingers. If truly necessary to get the pus moving, gently press either side of the pimple with two cotton swabs.
- Wash the area with soap and warm water, then wash your hands thoroughly (in case any bacteria from the pus got on them; you don't want to infect other pores).
- If piercing the pimple hurts, stop! The tissue isn't dead, and the pimple's not ready to lance.
- Do NOT jab or penetrate deeply.
- Do not rip at the skin.
- Repeat: NO squeezing! It inflames tissue and slows healing, which defeats your whole purpose: Make it go away. Fast.
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