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Stop Before You Pop

Woman popping a pimple on her face

Breakouts can be incredibly frustrating. When blackhead and whiteheads appear on the skin for even a moment, there is a natural temptation to pick or pop. The urge can be so strong that, once you start seeing the release of oil and bacteria from unwanted growths on the face, neck, or another area, it may be difficult to stop picking. The best bet is never to start. Resisting the impulse to self-treat acne by picking or popping means a whole lot of benefit for the future health and beauty of your skin.

Here’s what can happen when pimples are disrupted . . .

  • The natural healing process within the immune system is inhibited. Pimples are an indicator of the body working as it should expel debris. The problem with these growths is that bacteria and oil have accumulated within follicles. There are ways to support the annihilation of pimples, just not by picking them.
  • The skin may be injured. To release a pimple or blackhead, it is necessary to squeeze or press hard on the skin. This could mean pinching too little tissue between the fingernails, which could result in the torn skin. Bruising is also a common side effect of disrupting pimples.
  • The overall problem could get worse. Touching pimples, especially for picking, often involves moving from one to another in steady succession. Like we said, once you start, it’s hard to stop. The problem with picking is that bacteria may spread across the skin. The inflammation of follicles, as well, may get worse when tissue is traumatized. This can lead to discoloration of the skin, or worse.
  • Traumatized, inflamed follicles release bacteria internally as well as externally. Popping a pimple may reveal some of what has been holed up beneath the skin, but there may be more inside that is spreading through superficial tissue. This is how acne scarring happens, and how minor acne can turn serious with infection.

There’s a Better Way

Acne is not a problem that you want to suffer any longer than necessary. Over-the-counter acne solutions such as spot treatments and face washes with benzoyl peroxide may reduce inflammation. However, it is also possible for acne to become worse under such conditions. If acne worsens or it does not improve after a few weeks of using a commercial acne product, contact your dermatologist. Our Westerville, Ohio office can be reached at 614-895-0400.

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