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Pimple Popping: An Overview

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4 min read


Pimple popping is when an individual scratches the acne or pimple at home. But it can cause infection, inflammation, and discomfort.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Filza Hafeez

Published At August 18, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 18, 2023


When people see themselves with pimples in the mirror, they feel uncomfortable and ugly. They want to scratch or squeeze that pimple. They like squeezing the pimple more likely when it appears before any party, family function, or date. Is it wrong to squeeze pimple pop or cause any side effects on the skin?

According to dermatologists, pimple popping can cause inflammation, discomfort, and infection. But some pimples on popping can go away on their own and even leave behind no scarring. Pimples usually heal within a few days, but pimple popping interferes with the natural healing process. This can increase the chances of infection and leave behind scarring or blemishes. Instead of popping the pimple, people should visit a dermatologist to get medical aid for pimples or pustules. The article discusses pimple popping, risks, skin changes, alternative treatment, and avoiding pimple popping.

What Is a Pimple?

Many people have pimples or acne on their faces. This happens mainly during puberty or in their teenage age. The skin condition occurs when a hair follicle gets filled with dead cells, oils, and debris. It appears as red, raised, or inflamed lumps on the skin's surface. These can be filled with fluid or pus, known as pustule. If the tip of the pimple is black, called a blackhead. It can occur anywhere in the body, but on the face, people feel uncomfortable. Various factors can lead to the formation of acne. Daily skin care can prevent acne formation.

What Is a Pimple Popping?

Pimple popping is when an individual scratches or squeezes a pimple to remove its contents, such as oil, pus, or debris. People do pimple popping because they feel discomfort when they look at their faces in the mirror. But generally, dermatologists will not recommend this. Pimple popping can cause several problems on the skin, which even may delay the healing process.

If people want to do pimple popping, there are proper techniques to squeeze the pimple. Only skin care professionals know about squeezing the pimple. If an individual feels discomfort or concerns, they should consult a dermatologist online or personally visit to get a better treatment for the acne or pimples. The pimples can get proper management in a sterile environment.

How to Pop a Pimple?

Generally, people are recommended not to squeeze or scratch the pimple. If an individual wants to squeeze the pimple, they must visit a dermatitis specialist because they know the proper technique to squeeze the acne. This can decrease the risk of infection and scarring. The steps to pop a pimple are as follows:

  • Hand Washing: First, an individual must wash their hands with soap and water. This will remove the bacteria present in the hands.

  • Skin Cleansing: An individual should take a cotton swab and mild cleanser to clean the area around the pimple. This will help remove the oil, bacteria, or dirt on the skin's surface.

  • Warm Compress Application: The clean cloth should be wet with warm water and compressed against the pimple. This will help in softening the skin and easy extraction of the pimple.

  • Needle Sterilization: Then the needle should be sterilized by using alcohol. The alcohol should be taken on the swab, rubbed on the needle, and left to dry.

  • Pimple Puncture: The pimple should be punctured using a needle. It should be punctured on the pimple's visible yellow or white part. The puncture should be done by creating a small hole in the yellow or white part of the pimple.

  • Pressure Application: By using cotton swabs, apply pressure on the pimple. This will help in removing the debris, oil, or pus. This also prevents infection, inflammation, and further skin damage. Do not apply excessive pressure.

  • Medication Application: The affected area should be cleaned and rinsed thoroughly. Then topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide should be applied to prevent bacterial overgrowth.

  • An individual should avoid touching the affected area.

What Is Better Than Pimple Popping?

The alternative approach to managing pimple popping is as follows:

  • Routine Skincare Maintenance: Regular skin can be maintained by cleansing, toning, and moisturizing the skin. Use only that product that suits the skin.

  • Topical Treatment: An individual should use topical creams containing benzoyl peroxide to inhibit bacterial growth and reduce acne.

  • Seek Professional Help: In case of severe pimples or acne, an individual should consult a dermatologist to manage pimples or acne.

  • Hygiene Maintenance: An individual should maintain hygiene by washing and cleaning their face.

  • Eat a Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables can give glowing skin. The pimple and acne formation will be reduced.

  • Manage Stress: The more stress and more will be the pimple formation. The stress can be reduced by doing yoga, exercise, and meditation.

What Are the Risks of Pimple Popping?

The risks or side effects of pimple popping on the skin are as follows:

  • Infection.

  • Inflammation.

  • Dark spots.

  • Scarring.

  • Hyperpigmentation.

  • Delayed healing.

  • Pain.

  • Discomfort.

  • Increased anxiety and self-consciousness.

What Are the Treatment Ways to Take Care of Pimples?

The dermatologists may suggest some treatment methods to take care of pimples as follows:

  • Topical Treatment: The doctor may prescribe topical creams which contain retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide.

  • Oral Medications: The doctor may suggest antibiotics such as Erythromycin to reduce pimples.

  • Procedures: The dermatologists may perform several clinical procedures to treat pimples. The procedures include extraction, chemical peels, and laser therapies. Extraction is the removal of blackheads and whiteheads. Chemical peels are the exfoliation of the skin by applying a chemical solution.

  • Lifestyle Changes: The changes include hygiene maintenance, moisturizer application, use of sunscreen, irritant avoidance, and healthy diet maintenance.


Squeezing a pimple once can be expected. But it can make a human habit. This can lead to infection and blemishes. It is advised that the individual let the pimple heal naturally. Pimple popping can lead to bacterial overgrowth, skin discoloration, and scarring. The best option is to consult a dermatologist online, or an individual can visit a derma clinic. Maintenance of skin hygiene and diet maintenance can prevent acne formation.

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Dr. Filza Hafeez



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