How To Pop a Pimple

Tips for Getting Rid of Pimples Without Creating More

Photo of a pimple

So you're preparing for _______ (prom night/wedding day/job interview/State of the Union address), and over the course of one night, it suddenly happens: your face cruelly decides to let Mt. Vesuvius sprout up.

Maybe you found yourself in this situation because your face is in need of better hygiene, hormones are running wild or you're stressed out, or maybe there is no obvious reason, but why now?! It won't help to get angry at your face, or to demand explanation from some higher power, or to question whether there's any dermatological justice in this world (there isn't). Now that you have a pimple, there may be only one thing on your mind - getting rid of it. Especially if you're heading out tonight, you'll probably want to remove the pimple right away. Whatever you do, make sure you practice the proper pimple-popping precaution, please!

  • Is it an active volcano or a dormant one? You shouldn't even think about popping a pimple unless the pimple is starting to remind you of Mt. St. Helens before it erupted. By that, I mean a pimple with a pronounced, creamy-white head of dried pus (gross!). If your pimple doesn't have a head on it, you shouldn't squeeze it or even touch it in any way, lest you spread bacteria along your skin even more or, worse yet, force the pimple deeper into your face. Squeezing an unripe pimple is a mistake most people only make once and regret forever. You might even end up with a Mt. St. Helens crater to remind you of the unpleasant pimple for the rest of your days. Patience is a virtue! Wait till the pimple is ready before you do anything except apply acne cleanser to it.
  • Hermit pimples. Some pimples are never ready to squeeze. We've all had those mysterious, painful inner-pimples before - the ones that never have a head and, aside from a dully red patch on your face, hide their existence from the world... antisocial little pus-bags. But despite the pain, these hermit pimples will resolve without revealing their pus to the world; consider that a blessing. Don't waste time trying to figure out how to get a pimple to surface. Don't squeeze such a pimple, because you could easily bring about the metamorphosis from reclusive hermit pimple to sociopath pimple - an angry, enduring reminder of your mistake.

Okay, now that you know the kind of pimples not to pop, it's time to describe what to do with the pimples that have a pronounced white head on them. Here's how to get rid of pimples overnight.

  1. how to pop a pimpleWash your hands thoroughly. Touching your face with dirty hands is a recipe for more acne. So the first step in pimple treatment is to always was your hands before touching your face.
  2. Heat makes the pimple easier to pop. Before popping a bad pimple, you should either take a nice, warm shower, letting the hot water run over your face as you wash it, or just wash your face in the sink using hot water. The heat softens your skin and opens your pores, making it less traumatic to pop the pimple. It's a good idea to apply a warm compress directly on the pimple before popping as well.
  3. Check your pimple. Is the white gooey pus already trickling out of your pimple? Sometimes the hot compress is all you needed (in which case, you're lucky). If that's the case, then you can skip ahead to step six.
  4. Sterilize a sewing needle. Right now, you're thinking, "What on earth?..." But take it from someone who's paid for riskier popping techniques - this method is worth the couple extra minutes it requires. You can sterilize the needle tip using either an open flame or rubbing alcohol. Please don't try popping pimples using this method without sterilizing the needle.
  5. Poke. With the sterile tip of the needle, make one gentle poke at the very surface of the pimple's white head. Don't make a deep poke! All you need to do is the slightest poke into the surface of the head, and pus will begin to ooze out.
  6. Use tissue or gauze to squeeze, not your bare fingernails. For the sake of cleanliness and gentleness, wrap your index fingers in some of the material, using it to apply the pressure. At most, you need only apply a tiny amount of pressure immediately around the pimple to encourage the pus to flow out of it. If you feel that the pimple is too tender to apply pressure, then just hold the tissue over the pus and let it absorb.
  7. Know when to stop. Your body has a few good ways of telling you when it's time to stop popping the pimple. First of all, the pus will often give way to clear fluid and blood. That's a very good sign, believe it or not; you've eliminated all the pus that was in there!

    If you don't see blood, but instead notice that the flow of pus has dwindled, then stop applying pressure. You'll likely begin to feel the pressure more acutely as the pus stops coming out anyway. Any one of these observations should signal to you that you must stop. If you try to pop the pimple beyond this point, you risk doing more harm to it than any good you did removing the pus.

Lastly, always maintain proper perspective about your pimple. Where you see Mt. Vesuvius, everybody else sees a small dune or, at most, a drumlin. When we forget this, we're more likely to try the desperate, traumatic pimple-squeezing that leads to far worse pimples. Be gentle and patient as you tend to your pimple, and your face will reward you. Now that you know how to pop a pimple properly, you can feel confident about getting rid of pimples without leaving scars behind.


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