How to Pop a Pimple
You don't necessarily have to wait around for that Mount St. Helens on your forehead to erupt on its own. It's fairly easy to pop a pimple, but proceeding without caution can cause more pimples or scarring. This article discusses "whiteheads," where the pimple has a white top and liquid pus underneath the skin.
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. It should be hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and alcohol-free. Use very warm water, soaping up for at least 20 seconds. Cold and lukewarm water don't dissolve oil or kill germs nearly as well, but hot water irritates the skin and causes flaking.
- Rinse thoroughly for another 20 seconds and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Dab the pimple with a 100%-cotton pad soaked in an all-natural astringent such as witch hazel to assure no extra dirt or residue is left behind.
- Take a clean washcloth and run part of it under very warm water. Immediately apply it directly to the pimple, so you can open up the pore and make it easier and less painful to pop. Do this for about 60 seconds, re-running the cloth under warm water if it starts to cool off.
- An alternative is to gently slide the warm washcloth over the pimple several times, without squeezing or pushing into the pimple.
- You can substitute a salt water mix in a damp (not dripping) cotton ball to soak the pimple for 1-3 minutes.
- Using cotton swabs, cotton balls, or your finger tips, very gently pull outward, around the pimple more than towards the center. It should not take much effort. If it doesn't burst, do not try to apply harder pressure. Soak the pimple in warm water again and retry.
- The cotton swabs and cotton balls are preferable because they are less likely to damage your skin, whereas the tips of your nails can cause intense irritation.
- If you do use your finger tips as a last resort, thouroughly apply some hand sanitizer all over your hands first.
- Wipe the pus up with another cotton pad or your finger.
- Wait 10 to 20 seconds, then start to press the pimple gently again with clean fingers. Repeat as needed and/or until you start to see blood emerging.
- Wrap your finger in a new cotton pad and press gently right on top of the pimple to stop the bleeding.
- Leave it be for a minute or two--don't touch it, cover it, or apply anything to it right away. After it's had a chance to chill out, wash your hands thoroughly, then wash your face as directed in the first step.
- Spread a generous amount of aloe vera gel or an antibiotic ointment onto the pimple, then cover with a bandage. If you dislike the bandage on your face for cosmetic reasons, you can apply the aloe or ointment and then leave it uncovered, though covering it would be most effective.
- Replace the bandage and apply more ointment or aloe once or twice a day. If the area is still swollen, wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and hold it against the bandage for 30-60 seconds at a time.
- The most important thing to do is not to try and force a pimple to pop that isn't ready to pop yet. If it is just a red bump and you can't see any yellowish-white pus just beneath the surface, just wait. Prodding and pinching when it is at this stage will cause nothing but harm.
- The key to popping a pimple is to sterilize everything and minimize your skin's exposure to bacteria and any other foreign matter. Fingertips are not recommended because fingernails can harbor bacteria that can enter the newly ruptured skin.
- If the pus and dirt have congealed under the skin to form a blackhead, you can use a blackhead remover to safely remove these blemishes. Rather than just applying pressure on two sides of the pimple, these removers apply even, equal pressure on all sides. See the Related wikiHows below.
- Extremely resistant pimples can be forced open with a needle or small pin. Sterilize the needle or pin either with alcohol or by holding the needle or pin in a flame for 10-15 seconds. Let it cool a few seconds before gently puncturing the top center of the pimple.
- If you get a scab, don't pick at it.
- To remove one of those stubborn pimples on the upper lip, try pricking the white head with a needle, soaking the pimple with a hot wet cloth, and then slowly applying pressure around the base of the pimple.
- Some people have mild allergic reactions to aloe vera gel, marked by rashes and itching. Obviously, don't use it if you've had this experience with aloe vera in the past, or test it on the inside of your wrist to make sure.
- It's important when taking care of pimples to use 100% cotton balls/pads or gauze pads. Toilet paper and paper towels contain harsh, sharp fibers that often stick to your skin.
- You should only do this when absolutely necessary. Popping zits is terrible for your skin, and can cause major infections and scarring.
- You may need to see a doctor if your pimple scars, gets worse, or does not significantly heal after one or two weeks.
- Never try to pop acne cysts. These are deep, painful, hard pimples seen in people with severe acne. Cysts must only be treated by a medical professional.
Things You'll Need
- Clean towel
- Clean washcloth
- Hand sanitizer
- Pure, gentle, non-comedogenic face cleanser
- Natural astringent such as witch hazel or rosewater (optional)
- 100% cotton face pads or balls
- Aloe vera gel, polysporin or neosporin
- Bandages (optional)
- Ice and paper towel (optional)