How to pop spots the Dr Pimple Popper way
Hands up if you’ve ever been personally victimised by an unsightly pus filled pimple.
Hands up if you’ve ever been personally victimised by a spot just before date night.
Hands up if you’ve never been taught to properly pop a spot the correct way.
Hands up if you’re obsessed with Dr. Sandra Lee, MD AKA Dr. Pimple Popper?!
For years I have struggled with the urge to pop spots, pick them, scratch them and itch them! I have a rare form of hyper folliculitis which means any hair follicle on any part of my body can become inflamed and stressed at any point and as a result leaves my skin with spots and itchiness.
I’ve taken tablets, used antiseptic washes, soaps and creams, none of these work with combatting flare ups and preventing inflammation the only thing that has come close is treating a flare up with natural aloe vera leaf, this calms my skin down quite quickly but is not preventative or long lasting.
Throughout the years of teenage and adult acne I was told ‘STOP PICKING SAM!!’ (shouted at rather) by my mum, nan, sister and friends, near enough everyday and still to this day. When my skin first started experiencing hyper folliculitis none of us knew, I wasn’t diagnosed with folliculitis until 2017 and only recently had further diagnosis. Although this makes a lot of sense as to how I have badly traumatised my skin and why, it doesn’t give my skin any respite.
I have been obsessed with Dr. Pimple Poppers popping videos for a while now, and can proudly say I can differentiate between a dilated pore of winer and milia! I first found her videos online and watched them purely for pimple popping satisfaction (eww, I know right?)
As I got to learn more about Dr. Sandra Lee, MD, I realised she had a ton of useful information and so much knowledge on skin care for people that don’t have ‘normal’ skin, I found there were ways to treat my skin to minimise trauma and scarring and help the inflammation when my skin flares up.
I, should definitely not be popping my pimples, but we’re all human, and telling someone not to pop a pimple is the same thing as telling someone not to press a giant, red button that says “push me.” Although you know you shouldn’t do it, you’re probably going to do it anyway right?
We have all done it, still may do it, so we might as well be aware of the safest course of action.
First things first – the right moment.
There is an ideal moment to pop a spot, a window where you have the lowest risk of infection and scarring.
“This is when your pimple has come to a white/yellow head, called a ‘pustule,'” she says.
“If the pimple has a head, it is the easiest to extract completely with the least risk of scarring because the bump is very superficial to the surface of the skin.”
Dr. Lee has explained how to successfully execute the dirty deed at home (for those times when you just absolutely have to). Proceed at your own risk and keep in mind: Popping at night will give your skin time to recover (in case there’s any inflammation) and after taking a shower—the heat will help loosen pores and soften skin.
Everything—your face, your hands, the gunk under your fingernails, the towel you clean up with, and the sink you’re resting any of this stuff on. If it’s going to come into contact with broken skin, it needs to be completely bacteria-free. First, wash your hands and the affected area with warm water and a gentle face wash. Next, follow up with a cotton pad soaked in alcohol to disinfect what you’re using to extract the pimple, like the comedone extractor.
Encourage the pimple
Before popping, always encourage the pimple to come to the surface. A pimple is the result of an immune reaction where white cells and pus has collected to heal the bacterial invasion – you can bring all this closer to the skin surface using a hot compress. Just place it on the area for a few seconds a few times a day and be patient.
Soften the surrounding skin
Think of your pores as a precious little pathway between your sebaceous glands and outer complexion. A bigger pathway will allow for an easier extraction process. Gently press a warm washcloth against the pimple for a few minutes to soften the contents inside your pores. You can also steam your skin to loosen debris and dilate the pores slightly.
Slowly extract the pimple.
This step should be done with time, care, and lots of patience. Place whatever you’re using over the pimple—your fingers, two cotton tipped applicators, or the extractor loop—apply slow, downward, even pressure to push the pimple out. Pressure should be applied around and on either side of the pimple, but not on top of the white tip of the zit.
Remember: If the pimple is met with resistance after pushing for one to two seconds, don’t force it! A poppable pimple will allow itself to be pushed out of a clogged pore with some gentle coaxing. Continuous squeezing will only increase the chance of skin trauma, so it’s best to wait a little longer before trying again.
Aftercare is extremely important to make sure you don’t cause any more irritation to the skin. Once a pimple has been popped, keep the area clean and let it heal properly to avoid scarring. Apply a cold, clean washcloth against the area, and a spot treatment with salicylic acid, like SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment ( slmdskincare.com). You can also put on a pimple patch to keep the area safe from bacteria and speed up the healing process.
“I think people find it relaxing”
“People do it because they find it relaxing – it’s a problem that gets resolved, and that is satisfying. Acne scars and skin issues can have a huge emotional toll that you carry for life, so it shouldn’t be dismissed. That’s the message I want to get across – yes, I entertain but I also educate. I want people to understand their skin and know what treatments are available.”
I hope you found this information as useful as I have and enjoyed this post.
Stay safe & take care,
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