How to Pop a Pimple

When You Must Pop, Do it Safely and Effectively

The Essential Info

Pop only pimples with a white or yellow center that are ready to be popped. Use a gentle touch and don’t overdo it.

The Science

Video instructions

Written instructions

Common advice is to let your body heal a pimple on its own without popping. However, in the real world, it’s not great for your social life to go around with a bulging white zit for the world to see. Plus, when done properly, popping a pimple can be beneficial to the healing process. Reserve this technique only for pimples that are ready to be popped – you can tell it is ready when it has an obvious white or yellow center. After a shower is best, when the skin is supple, but popping can be successfully performed with dry skin as well.

Follow these steps:

1. Disinfect a needle with rubbing alcohol. A basic sewing needle is a good choice because sewing needles are strong and sharp.

2. Gently prick the pimple’s surface.

3. Take two tissues and wrap each of your index fingers with them.

4. Squeeze from the sides, confidently but gently, using a down-and-in motion. Don’t force it. If the pimple is ready it will expel its contents onto the surface of the skin. If it doesn’t, leave it be.

5. Stop if clear fluid or blood starts to come out.

6. Walk away from the mirror! Continuing to work at a lesion that is not ready to be popped will most definitely introduce unnecessary irritation and can also increase the chance of scarring.

Do Not Pop Cystic Lesions: It is very important to leave large, deep, painful lesions (nodules and cysts) untouched. Do not attempt to pop them. Instead, make an appointment with your dermatologist for a cortisone shot injection, which will bring down swelling and potentially reduce or eliminate scarring.