Pimples are the scourge of many a life, especially in teenage years. Outbreaks always seem to come at precisely the wrong time, no matter how careful your skincare routine. When pimples are unusually large, the temptation to pop them is almost irresistible, but this is nearly always a bad idea, often only making the problem worse.
A pimple is a self-contained parcel of bacterial matter in the form of pus, formed when natural microbes in the skin's pores provoke an immune reaction. The discharge is the body's way of removing these germs from under the skin's surface, and ideally, you should let a pimple run its course and fade naturally once the bacteria are neutralized. If you pop a pimple, you run the following risks:
- The infected liquid within can leak onto your skin, enter other pores, and cause even more pimples to develop.
- The bacteria may be pushed deeper under the skin, spreading the infection more widely, and making the pimple larger, more painful, and slower to disappear.
- You can introduce new germs into the popped pimple with your fingers, leading to further infection of the exposed subdermal tissues.
- By breaking the skin instead of letting the pimple heal on its own, you increase the chances of it leaving a permanent pockmark.
However, if you have a large pimple that you're desperate to get rid of before a big occasion, it is possible to pop it more safely than by simply squeezing it - although this is still only advisable as a last resort, and care should be taken for all the reasons mentioned above.
Firstly, wait until a pimple has a visible white head; this means that the pus is ready to be drained. Because it won't discharge before this stage, the pimple won't heal so quickly and is more likely to become infected.
Next, thoroughly wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap, and sterilize a sharp pin with rubbing alcohol. Also, swab the spot with alcohol. Using a clean tissue, gently squeeze around the base of the pimple to raise it up, and carefully prick the tip of the white spot using the pin. If the pus starts to come out, then slowly increase the pressure, keeping the discharge away from your skin. If no pus appears with this mild pressure, your pimple is not ready to heal, so stop and try again in a day or two.
When your pimple is fully drained, clean it with more alcohol, and apply a little antibacterial ointment to prevent any infection while the puncture heals.
If you're regularly afflicted by severe acne, then consider speaking to your esthetician about possible natural treatment and regimens. Otherwise, irritating as they are, it's best to let your body handle pimple outbreaks naturally while following an effective skin care regime - being too keen to squeeze, can lead to far more problems than it solves.