This article just had to be written given the name of this blog.
To pop or not to pop, seems to be the question no matter how obvious the answer might be.
I’ll be super honest with you. I love popping my own pimples… and there was a time when I was one of those (sick) people who loved popping other people’s pimples too.
When I see a white head stick out, or when I even see a pimple starting to come to a head, I make a mental date with it.
I’ll meet you in two days – at night, before bed. I will gently seduce you, caress you, and then POP the sh** out of you. It’s gross, but so satisfying!
The aftermath is never fun.. With a weepy red mess on my face that’s close to impossible to cover up.
So for someone like me, it’s extremely difficult to NOT pop a pimple. Whenever anyone looks at me in disapproval for popping, I just shrug and say.. Hey, I will stop once my face is clear. Sounds like a sound solution…
Wherein lies the conundrum, since…My face could potentially get completely clear if I stopped popping those damn pimples.
NEW IN 2017!
Sometimes I let a pimple slide…I let it do it’s thing and just disappear. This is usually the better route in terms of scarring and redness, but it’s mentally more difficult to let a pimple just sit there – taunting me.
Pimples Are A Total Mind Game
It’s a duel to the death.. But I’m bigger and stronger. Who will win?
Let’s consider what is done to your face when you decide to pop a pimple.
According to Toronto’s premiere dermatologist Dr. Kellett:
“NEVER pop a pimple. This is an inflammatory lesion and popping or manual extraction can lead to scarring, cyst formation, infection and at the very least an increase in blood flow. Cysts and infection can lead to permanent scarring. An increase in blood flow will make the affected area even redder, more inflamed and overall worse looking!”
There you have it! Never pop a pimple!
Dr. Kellett’s response made me a bit sad. It means that I was making my skin worse all those years of pimple popping…
But what happens to the area if you don’t pop the pimple?
From personal experience (and a superhuman dose of patience and willpower) I have found that the pimple just goes away on it’s own. It depends on the pimple of course.
Where does the pus go?
Don’t worry, the pus doesn’t go back inside the body. A pimple is a body’s inflammatory response to the acne bacteria inside the pore.
This means that the body is fighting of the acne bacteria by attacking it with white blood cells, and it pushes the bacteria out.
Our bodies are perfectly created to heal themselves. There’s a process in place for everything, including that freaking annoying pimple.
Surface-level pimples take 1-3 days to pass, whereas deeper pimples might take around a week to fully heal. Deep cysts or nodules can take a week or more to heal – if you don’t touch them.
If you pop a pimple, it ALWAYS takes longer to heal – because now not only does the pimple itself have to heal, you’ve also created a wound that needs to heal.
The wound itself is a gateway to bacteria from the outside world. Our skin is meant to protect us, but if we damage it then our protection is compromised.
What’s worse is that we don’t always pop the pimple the right way.. Meaning we don’t always sterilize our tools or prepare the skin.. We just GO IN FOR THE KILL.. Or at least I sometimes do.
That means that if our fingers or pimple popping tool isn’t clean we are spreading that bacteria to the skin. But later we are also picking up acne bacteria from the popped pimple and spreading it to the rest of the skin!!!
How does the skin heal after damage?
If you popped hard and drew blood the blood clots as a temporary barrier preventing pathogens/infection from getting into the wound. The red blood cells will form a scab.
Then the body sends white blood cells to take care of any remaining bacteria that might have made it through. This is when you’ll experience red, swollen skin.
An inflammatory response is normal when the body is fighting off bacteria.
After that your body sends in collagen to repair the damaged skin.
But depending on how deep and hard you popped, the pimple can leave behind discolouration which takes even longer to heal – sometimes months.
The pimple may have gone away and healed, but a mark can be left behind making your skin look flawed.
What I noticed from personal experience is that if I pop a pimple, it’s usually angrier the next day OR there are new pimples in the same area (next to the popped pimple).
Is there a kind of pimple that can be popped?
You might be wondering if there is a type of pimple that can be popped..
I wanted to know because of the sheer pleasure of popping pimples..Is there a pimple I can pop without any negative consequences?
But again, Dr. Kellett’s answer saddened me.
“All pimples should be left alone including comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), inflammatory papules and nodules. Extractions are an old and outdated method of treating blackheads and whiteheads – scarring and infection can occur if these areas are manipulated.” according to Dr. Kellett.
Are you reaching for your forehead right now? You know what you have to do. The same thing I have to do. Stop touching your face.
I always knew that I should stop touching my skin, and for the longest time I was extremely good at it. That’s actually when my skin was also it’s clearest (coincidence?).
I was known for shouting “Don’t touch my face!” to anybody who came close. The only times I touched my face was to wash it and apply products – and I always did so with super clean hands.
My crazy Jojoba Oil Experiment where I destroyed my face, and later my Argan Oil experiment where I further destroyed my face changed me.
I developed a kind of paranoia about my skin.
I would go to sleep touching my face, feeling for bumps, and I’d wake up doing the same thing.
I found myself mindlessly scratching at the little comedones on my forehead.
I think I needed to hear from an expert to realize the error of my ways. I needed the fact that popping pimples is bad for the face to be confirmed.
Now it’s confirmed, and I found myself wanting to reach for my face three times while writing this article – but I stopped myself.
Can we please vow to each other to stop touching our faces? Let’s leave our skin to do its own thing without constant interference.
So why did I name is blog ‘pop the pimple’ if we’re not allowed to pop the pimple?
As a joke, of course! But a little bit more than that too.
Don’t literally pop the pimple on your face, but literally get rid of any problem in your life. Pop the pimple is a euphemism for making things happen for you instead of letting them happen to you.
If you have pimple problems, then it’s time to do something about them. This is deep stuff, I know.
I’d like to thank Dr. Lisa Kellett, Dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto for her time.
P.S. If you need help on your skin-clearing journey, sign up to get 28 of my BEST hacks for clear skin here!
Resources: Research Article