Why Your Dermatologist Discourages Pimple Popping

It may seem satisfying in the moment, but pimple popping is potentially damaging to your skin. While extractions (preferably in-office) are sometimes appropriate, Dr. Pimple Popper (dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee), always advises patients not to pick, pop, or squeeze their pimples. Here’s why.

Man popping pimple instead of using salicylic acid Spot Check by SLMD Skincare Why is it bad to pick pimples?

Basically, pimples are your body’s natural response to a disruption in optimal skin function. When you mess with that natural response, you invite unwanted consequences. According to Dr. Lee, here’s what can happen when you squeeze your delicate skin.

You’re tearing your tissue. Unless it’s an open comedone (aka blackhead), popping a pimple means you’re breaking through a layer of skin. This creates a wound on top of a pimple. To gently but powerfully exfoliate clogged pores without picking, Dr. Lee favors salicylic acid. Find it in SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Cleanser, which also contains antimicrobial green tea extract to fight bacteria.

You’re interrupting the healing process. Blemishes form when pores clog up with dirt, oil, and sometimes, bacteria. Your body’s defenses naturally kick in to remedy the situation — which gets sidetracked when you squeeze. When you get a powerful urge to pop a pimple, remember that blemishes are a normal skin condition — and be kind to your skin.

You might be making it worse. Popping a pimple can introduce more contaminants from your fingers and face — or push trapped oil and bacteria deeper down — into your pores, provoking an even bigger blemish. Instead, try a blemish-fighter like SLMD Skincare Sulfur Lotion. A natural mineral, sulfur is known for its gentle yet effective antibacterial properties.

You might create multiple pimples. All that gunk exploding out of a pustule or papule can spread bacteria, exacerbating your breakout. To keep blemishes in check, try SLMD Skincare Blemish-Prone Skin System — a simple, 3 step programme that includes dermatological ingredients used in-practice by Dr. Sandra Lee.

You could be creating a scar. Anytime you pick at your pimples (particularly deeper, cystic blemishes), you run the risk of creating permanent damage. Even if you leave your blemishes alone, you’re likely to have some post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) as skin heals. PIH generally disappears over time, but you can speed the process with SLMD Skincare Retinol Serum, which encourages cell turnover.

Dr. Lee’s last word

As a dermatologist, I’m always going to tell patients not to pick or pop their pimples. It’s a lot to ask, I know — but having powerful and effective skincare ingredients like salicylic acid and sulfur on hand will promote healing and keep skin clearer over time. So next time you’re tempted to pick a pimple, treat it with a targeted skincare — and step away from that magnifying mirror!

— Dr. Sandra Lee


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