There's something decidedly satisfying about throwing caution to the wind and popping a pimple. It kind of gives you a rush—rolling up your sleeves, getting a bit surgical, and watching as you drain that that sucker for all it's worth. But a million derms and your mother will tell you taking matters into your own hands is a bad idea. A very bad idea. From bacteria to scarring, it's definitely not our best recommendation. In fact, we're telling you that if not done properly, it can do a ton of damage, including permanently enlarge pores.
This said, we get that you're probably going to pop a zit at some point. (Can't. Resist. Must. Touch. Face...) And if you're going to do it anyway, we want you to at least know how to be safe about it. (You can think of this as the birds-and-the-bees talk for your face.) Enter our go-to skin expert and celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau, who's going to give you the tools you need to not completely screw up that pretty ol' mug of yours.
Step 1) First thing's first, you need to have one thing going for you: a whitehead. If your pimple has come to a point, your blemish is safe to extract. No, seriously, heed our advice: If you pick a pimple before it's ready, it will make the infection worse and might damage the surrounding tissue. It's all about willpower, guys. You've been warned.
Step 2) Position your fingers in the 3:00 and 9:00 positions.
The key to squeezing is that you want to get the gunk under the blemish, so don't squeeze on the top. Keep fingers a bit outside of the zit so that when you apply pressure, you're getting it to pop "out." Squeeze slowly and see if anything comes out. If the whitehead is on the surface and is truly ready to pop, it will.
Step 3) If that doesn't work, position your fingers at a different angle, such as 2:00 and 7:00 and repeat.
If nothing has come out, stop after these three attempts. Yes, this is just like baseball—three strikes and you're out. Basically, that pimple isn't budging and, ahem, shouldn't have been touched in the first place. (Oops.)
If you do get all the gross stuff out (success!), apply a spot treatment to help dry up and draw out any remaining infection. Look for products that use ingredients such as camphor, zinc and sulfur, like the Renée Rouleau Night Time Spot Lotion ($29.50).
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