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  5. What Happens When You Pop A Pimple and How To Minimize Damage?

The urge to pop a pimple is always difficult to resist. Isn’t it? As a thumb rule, you should try and keep your hands away from those annoying little bumps on your face. But accidents do happen, don't they? Don’t worry, we have got you covered in case you have had one!

Read this article to know all about the dos and don'ts of popping a pimple on your face and what you should do to prevent further damage on your skin.

What To Do After You Pop A Pimple And It Bleeds?

A popped pimple can cause a lot of pain or even bleeding. In case there is a lot of bleeding, press the affected area with a clean cloth till the bleeding stops. Applying ice can also help stop the bleeding. Here are a few things you can do to help speed up the healing process.

1. Keep The Area Clean

A popped pimple is an open wound that can easily get infected. So the first thing to do is to clean the area with a mild cleanser. Avoid touching the affected area to prevent the germs from spreading.

2. Use An Antibiotic

Once you have cleaned and dried the wound, apply an antibiotic ointment just on the spot of the pimple. You can also cover the area with a small bandage to prevent infection and help healing.

3. Grab An Ice Pack

If the affected area looks red or swollen, apply ice to make it feel better. Wrap an ice cube in a clean cloth and rub it for a few minutes on the spot. This will soothe the irritation and reduce the swelling and inflammation.

4. Keep It Covered

A hydrocolloid bandage or a small piece of silicon sheet can be used to cover the affected area. Alternatively, you can dab ample amount of a gentle moisturiser on the wound to keep it covered. You can use hyaluronic acid serum which will keep the skin hydrated without clogging the pores.

5. Allow It To Heal

This is the most important thing to keep in mind once you have already popped open a pimple. Avoid touching the spot as much as possible and do not pull the scab if there is one on the affected area. Removing the scab will slow down the healing process and may also result in a scar that may become permanent.

Also, avoid any harsh chemicals, exfoliants or heavy oil based make-up while the spot is healing. This will not only slow down the healing but may also give rise to fresh pimples on your face.

Dangers Of Pimple Popping

Pimples are one of the various symptoms of a skin condition called acne, which is caused by clogging of the pores in your skin by dirt, oil or dead skin cells [1]. Pimples are often filled with pus and may be accompanied by bacterial infection. So, trying to pop a pimple all by yourself may be a bit of a risky job. Here are some of the risks it may lead to:

1. Infection

Popping a pimple at home may lead to an infection in the affected area. You should especially avoid the ‘triangle of death’ on your face, that is the area surrounding your nose bridge and mouth.

Though it is not common, a case of lethal infection of the sinus (which lies directly under the triangle), was reported from an infected pimple in the triangle. Seek immediate medical help if you doubt an infection after breaking open a pimple.

2. Stubborn Acne Scars

Picking at a pimple or a scab can be a sure shot way to getting a deep seated acne mark that won’t disappear easily [2]. This is especially true if you are a repeated offender and keep picking at the same spot.

3. More Aggressive Acne

While trying to squeeze out a pimple you may actually push some of the pus and the bacteria into the deeper layers of your skin. This can not only cause inflammation, pain and swelling, but may also result in a more severe breakout. Your acne can become more painful and noticeable.

4. Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

You may develop some form of discolouration on the affected spot due to the inflammation caused while picking the zit. You can develop dark spots due to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or even red, discoloured patches in the affected area.

infographic with facial treatments say no to acne

Alternatives To Pimple Popping

The best alternative to popping a pimple? Well you surely know it already, treat the acne! You can take the following steps to prevent pimples in the first place or cure it, in case you already have some.

1. Cleansers

Since excessive oils and clogged pores are the chief villains of acne-prone skin, the first step to prevent breakouts is keeping your skin clean. A cleanser containing salicylic acid can be of great help.

Besides being an excellent exfoliant, salicylic acid also has double effects on acne. It not only reduces the inflammation but also unclogs the pores, thus preventing pimples [3].

2. Spot Treatment Product

Keep a spot treatment product handy in case you have an acne prone skin. You can opt for acne patches with benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. This will prevent bacterial infection and also make the existing pimples shrink faster.

3. Herbal Remedies

You can choose from a range of herbal medications like tea tree oil, witch hazel, aloe vera gel, sandwool paste, etc. to relieve acne. But it is difficult to precisely quantify the efficacy of these natural products, and it might take a while before you see any visible signs of improvement.

4. Customised Skin Care

You can also try SkinKraft’s anti-acne products that are formulated specifically for you. Take the SkinIDTM quiz today to know your skin better and get skin-care products customised to meet your skin’s unique requirements.

How To Safely Pop A Pimple?

It cannot be stressed enough that only a trained expert should be the one draining your pimple in case it is an absolute must. However, if you still cannot resist the urge to pop the pimple, you should be taking the following precautions while doing so:

1. The pimple should be firm and the pus almost near the surface when you are about to drain it. Do not poke it otherwise.

2. Wash your hands very carefully with a disinfectant soap and preferably apply a disinfectant such as 70% alcohol.

3. Sterilise the needle or lancet by holding it straight in an open flame for a few seconds or until the tip is red hot. Cool it off and sterilise again with alcohol.

4. Now clean the zit with some alcohol. Dry it off. Wrap your fingers in clean tissue or bandage gauze before starting.

5. Gently pierce the top of the pimple with the needle and lightly press the area surrounding it to drain off the pus. If the pimple does not drain with little pressure once or twice you should leave it like that as it is not ready to be popped yet.

6. Keep some sterilised cotton handy to clean off the pus and debris oozing from the pimple.

7. Clean the spot thoroughly and apply an antibacterial ointment. You can also dab some ice to relieve any pain or redness.

8. Last but not the least, take good care of the spot by washing, moisturising and keeping it protected till it heals completely.

woman face squeezing whitehead pimples on chin with acne removal tool

How Long Do Pimples Last After Popping?

A pimple if left alone will usually disappear in a few days or in a week. A popped pimple usually takes longer to heal. When you break open a pimple, the underlying layers of skin cells are also damaged which prolongs the healing process. Also, there are chances of infection which further delays the recovery.

If you have pushed a lot of the pus and debri back into the skin, you may get more severe and painful pimples as a result of inflammation. A popped pimple thus can take weeks to heal and leave deep marks behind.

When To Consult A Dermatologist?

If you have pimples that refuse to get better or keep coming back despite taking good care of your skin, you should definitely consult a dermatologist immediately. The dermatologist is the best person to diagnose the underlying cause of your acne and suggest the best suited treatment procedure.

In some cases, your pimples might flare up, become blood-filled and extremely painful. Your doctor can prescribe topical or oral antibiotics, prescription retinoids, etc. to help relieve the acne symptoms. Also, an early intervention of pus-filled, cystic acnes can prevent them from scarring your face permanently.

If you get a fever or doubt any form of infection after popping a pimple, you should immediately consult a doctor.

Wrapping Up

We all get pimples at least sometime during the course of our life and they are definitely annoying. But popping a pimple in order to get rid of them faster is counterproductive. Draining a pimple may actually lengthen the healing process, increase chances of infection as well as leave permanent scars on your face. In case you have to drain a pimple, it is best to get it done by an expert to minimize the undesired side effects.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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