How to Pop A Pimple in 10 Steps

I’m a dermatologist and I tell my patients every day not to pop their pimples. But let’s face it, none of us wants to go outside with a huge pus-filled pimple on your face. So I realized that I needed to tell you the safest way to pop a pimple. Of course, I would prefer for you to let it pop on its own, but if you cannot wait, here is the proper way to pop a white pimple:

1. Do NOT pop pimples that do not have an obvious white center.

There should be a very discrete central white collection of pus that looks like it is about to explode.

2. Get your acne under control.

Acne treatments take eight weeks to work, because acne is an eight-week cycle. So the time to start treating existing pimples is NOW! Get on a personalized skin care regimen as soon as you can that treats your acne skin type. That way you, won’t have to be in this situation again in the future.

3. Wash your hands.

Popping a pimple with dirty hands can lead to an infection that can cause acne scars. Use antibacterial soap or, even better, GCP Pre and Post Procedure Cleanser, which is used in medical offices before medical procedures to clean skin and hands before popping a pimple. You can apply this after the salicylic acid cleanser described in the next step.

4. Wash your face with a salicylic acid acne cleanser.

Use a salicylic acid cleanser such as NoLIO to help shed dead skin cells from the surface, which can otherwise clog pores, and reduce redness and inflammation. You can use this cleanser in the shower.

5. Take a hot shower.

If you have a pimple with pus in the center, take a hot, steamy shower and see if it will pop on its own. Stay in the steam for at least five minutes. The pimples will usually pop on their own in the shower, and then you can proceed to step 8.

6. Apply gentle pressure on each side of the pimple.

Do not use your fingernails. Wrap a tissue around your fingers to protect your skin from puncturing from your nails. Cover the tissue with Element 47 toner to kill any bacteria. Then, apply gentle pressure at the edge of the pimple.

7. Give up and try again later.

If the pimple does not pop after two gentle tries, stop and wait six hours. Do not ever try to pop a pimple that does not have the central collection of pus. You will just make the pimple worse and drive the pus deeper into the skin, which will likely cause a cyst. Do not dig your fingernails into your skin to scratch off the pimple. The top layer of skin makes it heal faster, so you want to leave that top skin on the pimple.

8. Apply an antibacterial such as benzoyl peroxide, silver, or an antibiotic.

These ingredients can help to eliminate acne-causing bacteria within the hair follicle (pore). I like Element 47 toner because it contains silver to act as an antibacterial.

9. Don’t pick the scabs.

Scabs that form on the skin after an acne lesion are part of the skin’s healing process. Leave them be! Picking at scabs will increase the chances of scarring and will make the pimple heal more slowly.

10. Cover the area with SPF.

Sun exposure can cause pigmentation problems after acne, so always wear sunscreen. Or even better, you can use an SPF-containing concealer like Dermablend to protect against UV damage and conceal the pimple while it heals.

What to Do after Popping a Pimple

Once you pop the pimple, try and leave it alone and let it heal. If it fills up with pus again, repeat steps 3–8.  If you don’t feel like showering again, you can boil a pot of water on your sink and steam your face. However, you need to be very careful not to burn your skin. The steam is hot. Note that this is a bad idea if you have darker skin because it can cause hyperpigmentation.

Follow these 10 tips to pop a pimple safely. Don’t forget to fine-tune your acne skin care regimen so you can avoid this problem in the future.  For specific skin care routine advice on acne, head to

October 30, 2020 Acne