Let’s face it. Acne has been a part of our lives at some point or the other. So many times you have had those pimples rise on your skin and cause pain. That is the moment when some of us tend to burst it to seek relief. Truth is, that relief can cost us deep acne scars if we don’t take the right action to control the damage right after. We’re here to help you understand everything about pimples and how to take care of your skin after you’ve popped a pimple.
What’s a Pimple?
A pimple is a red inflamed raised body on your skin that is mostly filled with bacteria, dead skin, and sebum (oil that your skin cells produce) commonly. But it also depends on the kind of pimple you have. Let’s categorise these annoying little monsters on our skin.
It has exactly all the dirt filled in your skin cell that has raised to the skin’s surface. They come in contact with oxygen in the air and oxidises, making it black in appearance.
Read more about Blackheads here.
It is again all the dirt that is trapped in your skin cell and has not come in contact with air so there is no oxidation involved.
Read more about Whiteheads here.
When a clogged pore breaks your skin and reaches the surface of the skin, it causes pain, redness, and inflammation. This is when your body sends white blood cells to the target area to reduce damage. The white head that pops out has pus and dead white blood cells.
Know the ingredients that can help you with pustules here.
4. Cysts and nodules
These are some deep-rooted bacterial infections in your skin cells. Kind of like a big monster version of pustules. They will take time to rise on the surface of your skin and so you need a lot of patience to deal with them. They’re also filled with pus, so touching them will lead to infection of the surrounding skin cells.
Know more about cystic acne and its remedy here.
What happens when you pop a pimple?
Here’s what could follow right after you try to burst a pimple:
1. Acne scars
Picking a pimple will lead to damage deep under your skin and lead to acne scarring. We all know that acne scars can be more stubborn than our mothers forcing us to eat vegetables!
2. More infection
When you try to burst a pimple, it may ooze out watery fluid, pus, or a solid mass of dead cells and bacteria. This will lead to spreading the infection to the surrounding skin cells.
While picking on a pimple, you will push the skin cells to extract the gunk. In this process, your skin cells are broken to force the gunk out of the pore. Your body will send melanin (brown pigment) that will protect the skin from further damage. This type of acne mark is called Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH). Even after your skin cell repairs, the pigmentation will stay and will take at least a year or two to fade.
4. Worsening acne appearance and skin damage
Popping stubborn acne means applying more pressure to remove the gunk. This may lead to pushing the infection even further down your skin layers. It will only lead to worsening inflammation and skin damage. Mind you, even after getting rid of this acne later, this acne mark may take forever to fade.
What are the alternative ways to tackle a pimple?
1. Spot treatment
Without touching or squeezing it, you can never know if that painful pimple is ready to be popped. The best alternative is to apply a spot treatment lotion to make sure that the infection and inflammation die down sooner. Pick ingredients that have antibacterial properties like Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. We’d recommend Dr Sheth's Neem & Bha Spot Clarifying Serum that has 2% Salicylic Acid and Neem oil to help you unclog your pores from any kind of pimple grime. Use it as a spot serum every time you see those pimples partying on your skin.
The ones with acne-prone skin know that a small change in environment will worsen your skin health. To make sure no external stressors can harm your skin, keep your skin clean and fresh at all times. That means double cleansing with a mild cleanser. A pair that you could try is Coccoon Silk Appeal Cleansing Oil as your first oil-based cleanser and follow it with Beaumark Maskne Gentle Cleanser that has Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree Oil, Citrus Acid to address the clogged pores.
3. Apply an Ice Roller
Pimples are due to bacterial infection and bacteria grows only at a certain temperature. When you apply ice over it, that will stop the growth and that means the inflammation will go down. So next time, when Ms. Pimple hurts, instead of trying to poke it, apply some ice instead. The tool to go for is House Of Beauty Ice Roller that is a fuss-free option to roll ice over the pimple whenever it pains and calls out your urge to burst it.
4. Herbal tea and Essential Oils
Herbal tea and essential oils are loaded with Antioxidants that will create a healthy skin barrier. This will fight the infection and your pimple will ripe sooner. The simplest exercise is after your evening green tea session, press the tea bag on your pimple gently. Do it till the time the pimple is really pushing itself out of the pore. You can also apply essential oil like Tea Tree Oil along with a carrier oil. Essential oils cannot be used without a carrier oil to avoid burning. You can try Clay Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil along with a carrier oil like Vaunt Tamanu+Cranberry Seed Face Oil With Vitamin F Forte as a spot treatment. It’s a perfect combination to combat acne and not inflame your skin due to essential oil.
5. Right time, right skincare
When it comes to a woman’s body, your hormones are constantly going up and down. You need to understand your skin changes with the menstrual cycle. That will tremendously help you understand if the skin is turning oily during certain days or if they need extra moisture. So if you know a pimple can turn up on a specific day of the cycle, you can start with anti-acne skincare immediately.
What should you do after popping a pimple?
Well if the deed is done already, let’s break down the steps of your next action.
1. Clean it up
There may be blood or even pus oozing out from the area where you popped the pimple. Make sure that you’re cleaning the affected area thoroughly. Not just that, also clean the tools that you used to burst it. If it was with your fingers, use an alcohol-based hand wash to make sure that you’re not transferring the infection to another part of your face. Influence Anti-bacterial Hand Wash is a hand wash that specifically makes sure that it destroys all the bacteria!
2. Ice it over
Your skin cell has ruptured since you just popped that pimple. So your skin is inflamed and it needs to calm down to repair on its own. The best way to do so is by putting ice on the affected area. One way is to press a few ice cubes in a muslin cloth and press it on your skin. Another way is to use an Ice Therapy tool that can be used all over your face to calm and firm your skin. You can check out Isa Ice Therapy that uses cryotherapy to soothe your skin. To make sure that the skin is not inflamed any further after popping a pimple, make sure that you avoid steaming or applying anything hot in that area.
3. Don’t touch it now
While bursting a pimple, your skin cell ruptured to push out the gunk. This leaves it open to infection or any sort of damage. The area will also be inflamed and your body will start its repair mechanism. If you touch it often or try to scratch in that area, it will only magnify the damage. The best way to deal with it is to leave it alone to calm down. We understand that it is tempting to probe it further but that will only give you a really stubborn acne mark later that will stay with you for at least a year.
4. Spot treatment
As we mentioned earlier, when you pop a pimple, it is an open wound. To make sure that there is no carpet laid out for a new infection, apply a spot ointment that has calming and repairing properties. A serum like Aminu The Immaculate Clarifying Concentrate can be used on the spot to make sure that you don’t get an acne scar right after popping since it has Magnolia Bark, Manuka Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Arabian Black Cumin that helps you clean up your skin.
5. Post-popping skincare
As we mentioned earlier, a popped pimple is an open wound. You must make sure to not touch it often while it heals and also keep the skin moisturised. There may be some dried skin crusting upon the wound. Don’t scratch it off till it scrubs off on its own. Your post-acne popping skin care should include a good moisturiser and SPF that would strengthen and protect your skin barrier. Ensure that your skincare does not involve any active ingredients till the time the wound is healed completely. A suitable moisturiser to stick by after popping a pimple is Dear, Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream that has Centella Asiatica to calm your skin and Peptides to nourish your skin barrier.
Why should you see a dermatologist?
The number one reason why you should leave the pimple popping business to a dermatologist is that doctors have studied skin science and they know when to and when not to pop a pimple to save your skin. Pimples that are hard and pains like a nail stuck in your skin, are definitely deep-rooted and require more time to be pushed out of the skin.
Popping a pimple also requires sterile and right tools so that the skin is not stressed with extra pressure and possible germs on the fingers or the tool that you’re using. Sometimes we can get carried away to pop a pimple and not do it the right way. This will only lead to long-term scars and skin damage.
Lastly, a dermatologist knows what would be the right medication right after popping a pimple according to your skin type. That makes a lot of difference to your skin. So next time, before popping a pimple, think of the damage it could cause and choose to visit a dermatologist to know the right plan for getting rid of a pimple.
Popping a pimple is a big no-no. Given that, if you’ve already done the deed, you need to know the right action plan to follow right after. Your priority should be cleaning up your skin right after to not spread the infection and to build up the skin barrier so that your wound does not go through any more damage. After popping a pimple, your skin is really vulnerable to damage and so next time, you know better than to pop a pimple by yourself. Always prefer to go to a dermatologist to treat your pimple rightly.
- Divya Salvi