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Is Popping Pimples Bad?

Updated: 2 days ago


Why You Should Not Squeeze Your Pimple

Some individuals mistakenly believe that popping or crushing pimples themselves will expedite the healing process and eliminate acne. However, if you desire to accelerate the recovery process, it is advisable to refrain from attempting to pop or crush the pimple on your own.

By independently popping or crushing a pimple without professional guidance, you run the risk of damaging your skin and, in certain instances, exacerbating the condition of the pimples. It is best to seek assistance from a medical institution to ensure appropriate and safe treatment.

The following is a specific explanation of why it is not recommended to squeeze pimples:

Can Cause Cratering of Acne Scars

Crushing a pimple by yourself can lead to the formation of a depressed crater-like scar. These scars occur when the deeper dermal tissues of the skin are damaged and as a result of the strong pressure applied while popping pimples. Scars can result in uneven skin surface and lasting negative psychological impact.

These depressed scars can also develop during prolonged inflammation. Once these cratered acne scars are formed, they are unlikely to disappear even with diligent skincare at home.

To improve the appearance of scars, it is advisable to seek treatment options available at medical institutions, such as hyaluronic acid injectables, CO2 fractional lasers or chemical peeling. These professional treatments can help improve the appearance of the scars and minimize their visibility.

Click here for more information about the popular acne and acne scar treatments in Singapore.

Squeezing a pimple makes acne worse and slows healing

Early-stage acne typically includes whiteheads, which are pimples with a visible whitish core right after the pore is clogged, and blackheads, which occur when the debris clogged in the pore oxidizes and turns black upon exposure to air.

Whiteheads and blackheads are considered less advanced forms of acne, and in certain cases, squeezing or crushing them at this stage may aid in faster healing. However, self-induced popping can introduce bacterial from your fingers into the affected area or result in incomplete removal of the pimple's contents. This can potentially slow down the healing process and increase inflammation. Therefore, it is not recommended to pop or squeeze early-stage acne without proper guidance or medical advice.

Why does popping a pimple cause a white discharge?

Pimples in various stages often display a white core which is expelled upon squeezing. The white contents consist of sebum and dead skin cells that accumulate within the pores during the formation of acne. By maintaining clean, moisturized skin and adopting a well-regulated lifestyle, the risk of clogged pores caused by sebum and keratin can be reduced.

Normally, the contents of a pimple have a minimal odor. However, if the yield is viscous and malodorous, it may be worthwhile to visit the dermatologist as this might be something else! Many common lumps and bumps of the skin can be mistaken to be a pimple. This includes things like dermal cyst and even an abscess! Self-management is strongly discouraged!

Why do pimples bleed when squeezed?

When a pimple is popped, bleeding occurs because the capillaries in or around the affected area may have been damaged. While some people may believe that bleeding is inevitable to some extent when squeezing or popping a pimple, it is important to note that the presence of bleeding indicates an ongoing inflammatory process. Irritation and bleeding of an inflamed pimple can be harmful, so it is recommended to avoid touching it further.

To address a bleeding pimple, it is recommended to gently apply pressure to the affected area using clean cotton or gauze, and once the bleeding has stopped, apply an antiseptic cream or solution. It is important to refrain from scrubbing the affected area during the treatment process.

After initially cleaning the bleeding pimple, it is advisable to seek follow-up treatment from a healthcare provider. The doctor will likely prescribe an ointment or other appropriate treatment to prevent bacteria growth in and around the affected area

What is acne treatment with comedone extraction?

At medical institutions such as dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, depending on the condition of the pimple, a treatment called "comedone extraction" may be performed to remove the core of sebum, keratin, and pus clumps.

First, a small hole is made in the pimple with a needle or laser, and then the core of the pimple is pushed out with a device called a "comedone extractor".

When preparing for a comedone extraction, it is recommended to go to the clinic without any makeup.

This treatment method is often done to accelerate the healing of pimples in the early stage before they become red and swollen or to prevent the recurrence of pimples.

Although it is easy for anyone to purchase a comedone extractor, it is not advisable to use without physician guidance.

Some products are even equipped with a scalpel to scratch the affected area to make it easier to remove the pimple core, but we don't recommend individuals to practice such invasive techniques without professional guidance.

A small puncture is made via sterile technique during this dermatological procedure. This might be difficult to replicate at home and may result in uncontrolled large gaping wounds. This will only increase the risk of acne scar formation and secondary bacterial infection.

Using tweezers or a pimple presser and popping pimples by non-professionals is therefore not recommended.

How can we prevent pimples?

A picture of multiple sliced oranges

A balanced intake of nutrients is important to prevent acne formation and improve skin health.

The list below shows different foods and vitamins that should be consumed for a balanced diet. Each of these nutrients is more likely to be effective when combined than when taken alone.

In addition to vitamins, a balanced intestinal microbiome is the key to prevent acne. There is a growing amount of evidence that shows a good gut health directly correlates to individuals having better skin!

To improve the intestinal microbiome environment, we recommend consuming dietary fiber such as seaweed and mushrooms, and fermented foods containing lactic acid bacterium.


To prevent the worsening of acne, avoid unnecessary touching of the affected area and refrain from popping or crushing pimples. Applying makeup over pimples can exacerbate the condition, and the use of contaminated makeup tools can lead to bacterial growth and irritation. Maintain a regular face washing and moisturizing routine to regulate sebum production and promote healing of acne.

This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.


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