There are two types of people in this world. There are the ones who can see a juicy spot staring back at them in the mirror and walk away, and ones that just can’t resist the satisfaction of a squeeze.
We know, we know, technically speaking, we all should be leaving our blemishes well alone. But we know most of you won’t, which is why we want you to know how to pop a spot without inflicting too much damage.
There are a number of reasons why a spot may have taken up residency on your face. Fluctuating hormones, stress, poor diet, inefficient cleansing and using the wrong skincare are all common culprits. Prevention is always better than cure, so making sure you are eating well, getting enough sleep and cleansing your skin properly will go a long way towards warding off future breakouts. Incorporating blemish-busting actives into your skincare routine is also a smart move. Try niacinamide to help with oil flow, retinoids to speed up cell turnover and salicylic acid to give the pores a good clear out.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of how to pop a spot, it’s important to know which spots have the potential to be popped, and which should be left well alone. Only ever try to squeeze a spot which has a visible head, as these are closest to the surface. Never pick, probe or attempt to pop a spot which doesn’t have a head. If it’s red, inflamed and sitting angrily under the skin, walk away. Patience is a virtue, and this kind of blemish will either eventually bubble to the surface or resolve itself in time.
Playing with or prodding at a spot that’s not ready to be squeezed, or using the wrong technique, will increase the risk of scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark marks where the spot once was). If you have broken the skin and created a wound, you’ll have both the temptation to pick at the scab and potential infection to contend with too.
Here’s your step-by-step guide to how to pop a spot as carefully as possible. Remember, popping a blemish will cause redness, so it’s best to do this in the evening, giving inflammation time to settle overnight.
Before you start, it’s crucial to clean your skin and your hands. That means you’ll need to be in your bathroom, at home – not jabbing at your spot in a dimly lit restaurant bathroom. Working with a clean canvas and hands will reduce the risk of transferring more bacteria into the blemish.
Wrap both of your index fingers in a piece of clean tissue. Or, if you want to be extra gentle, you can use cotton buds in place of your fingers.
Place your index fingers (or cotton buds) on either side of the spot, laying them flat on the skin. Don’t be tempted to use the end of your fingers, as you will inevitably end up using your nails, especially if they’re long.
Carefully squeeze your fingers together, pressing downwards. Applying gentle pressure should be enough to dislodge the gunk inside. If it hurts, stop, and if it bleeds you have gone too far.
If it won’t budge, step away. It’s not a case of if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again – this is your cue that the spot is not ready to be popped. Pushing at and playing with a pimple that’s not ready to pop is more likely to cause inflammation, making the spot appear redder and angrier than it was previously.