The picking and popping danger zone
Trust me, as a clinical aesthetician I gain much joy from seeing a perfectly ripe white head extracted from a pustule in all of it’s glory. I enjoy pimple explosions so much that I even when to school to learn how to do it professionally. There is nothing more satisfying than the relief of a painful pimple coming to a head and being squeezed out of its home. The trouble is that most people do it wrong, and the results from popping are much worse long term than just leaving the pimple alone to extract on its own.
Why is popping your pimple such a terrible idea?
A pimple is actually an infected or inflamed pore that has collected excess sebum and led to bacteria growth. When you manipulate the pimple you are actually forcing bacteria into surrounding tissues around the skin while injuring the wall of the pore. The inflammation signals produced by the acne bacteria reach the bloodstream, and the immune system creates more inflammation, not less. What may happen next is a second cyst formation under the surface, where there is already open skin susceptible to outside bacteria. You may actually trigger the creation of a new, bigger, stronger pimple.
Another possible outcome is my personal biggest fear- giving yourself a scar! The pressure applied to a pimple you pop on your own is not the same as having a dermatologist or aesthetician professionally extract it. You are probably using unsterile equipment and breaking the walls of the pimple enough to leave a scab. Also, your skin can actually change colors around your acne. It's called Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation. This is a flat area that's a bit darker than the skin around it. The more inflamed the pimple, the bigger the scar.
So, if Im telling you to leave the unsightly acne alone what are your options to not suffer physically and emotionally? Your goal is to get the inflammation of the pimple as low as possible, and/or kill the bacteria with a gel or cream treatment. My favorite remedy is icing the spot with an ice cube, and then applying a dab of benzoyl peroxide. Other topical remedies include aloe vera gel, milk of magnesium, salycilic acid, or tea tree oil.