Pimple popping: Dr Zac Turner on how to safely pop spots

Welcome to Ask Doctor Zac, a weekly column from news.com.au. This week, Dr Zac Turner talks about pimples.

Question: Hi Dr Zac, I’ve got a simple one for you! I’m an avid pimple popper, my favourite part is when the pus spurts out. My mum always tells me never to pick them because it’ll stay longer on my face, but I think that’s rubbish. I reckon the moment it turns white, it’s good to go.

Can I pop my pimples till my heart’s content, or should I listen to my mother? – Emily, 21, Sydney

Answer: Thanks for your question Emily. A few things to unpack here. Let’s first go through what pesky pimples actually are, and then I’ll let you know the best skin care to treat them.

Pimples, or acne, are caused when the pores on our skin produce excess oil, or sebum. The sebum then mixes with sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells, which become trapped in the pore itself. When the mixture rises to the top layer of your skin, this is what you are referring to as “turning white”. If the clogged pore is exposed to air it turns into a blackhead.

There’s a whole list of possible factors which contribute to pimples or acne, these include sand, dirt, sweat, saltwater, chlorine, and sunscreen. Diet can also contribute and some people find limiting their processed foods and dairy intake reduces acne.

Now on to your popping habit. I don’t think there’s a dermatologist out there who would recommend you pop a pimple yourself. There’s a medical procedure to safely pop a pimple that only they would know, and a DIY approach puts yourself at risk of infection and scarring.

When you squeeze a pimple, you are pushing bacteria and pus deeper into your skin which causes more swelling and redness. Also when you squeeze a pimple you spark a reaction where your skin forms a scab, which in some cases leads to a scar. More often than not, you’ll be making the pimple more noticeable than it already was.

You need to understand that our body is a sophisticated organism with detailed processes in dealing with things. If you are patient, your skin will heal itself and the pimple will dissipate. Popping a pimple is like asking your skin to do a quick and cheap job. You wouldn’t ask the builders of your house to do a crap job, so you shouldn’t ask your skin to do it either!

In saying this, I understand for face focused people, especially adults, we can have little patience for pimples and acne. If one pops up on your face, and you need it to vacate promptly, I recommend applying benzoyl peroxide gel or cream once or twice a day. This is readily available at both pharmacies and grocery stores.

My only area of leniency for patients to try is based on the concept rather than intrigue of ‘through the eye of a needle (non-pointy part of a needle where the thread goes)’. What you do is pour some hot water/cleanse or sterilise ‘the eye’ then press that end onto the tip of the pimple lightly with the surrounding circumferential pressure assisting and if this does nothing after you’ve cleaned it then leave it the heck alone! Or at least the least … until, tomorrow. Literally wait at least another full sleep before trying again.

Another great trick to reduce the size of a pimple is to apply an ice-cube directly to it for quick 30 second bursts.

You can also use a mild face wash in the morning and at night to ensure no more pimples pop up on your face. If you work outside, or regularly exercise, I recommend you adopt a daily skin washing routine.

Finally one thing I always tell my patients, stop touching your face! Our hands are littered with bacteria and other things that can cause pimples.

Emily, I really do hope you reconsider your love for popping pimples, as it won’t end well for you. Be patient, and love yourself – pimples and all!

Got a question:


Dr Zac Turner has a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney. He is both a medical practitioner and a co-owner of telehealth service, Concierge Doctors. He was also a registered nurse and is also a qualified and experienced biomedical scientist along with being a PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *