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How to get rid of a pimple without causing scarring

We have the 411 on how to sort stubborn blemishes and get rid of those pesky pimples once and for all.

You’ve probably heard you should leave your skin well alone and never pop a pimple. But we all know how tempting it can be to pick and squeeze at our skin, especially when it seems like the quickest way to get rid of huge or painful pimples.

While dermatologists will warn against popping or picking at any blemish, some zits may be fine to squeeze as long as done correctly. If you mess with your skin too much it will only lead to scarring which can put you in a worse situation in the long run.

If you’re eager to get stuck in with your fingers (although you shouldn’t be too eager), here are the rules you should follow when extracting a pimple.

Make sure the pimple is ready to pop

What you need to remember if you want to avoid damage is that there is a right and a wrong time to pop a pimple. Forcibly squeezing a pimple before it’s ready to be popped will only lead to scarring. Only consider popping a blemish if you see a full whitehead formed at the top of the pimple, and make sure it’s easy to squeeze – if you feel like you need to apply considerable pressure, it’s not ready. The slightest pressure should be enough to extract the pus, if not, save it for another day!

Never squeeze this type of pimple

Blind pimples (those super annoying, painful ones with no head that sit under the skin, also known as cystic pimples) should never be popped. Squeezing a blind pimple before it comes to a head may cause sebum to spread under the skin – spreading bacteria – not to mention cause a lot of pain and scarring. Seeing a dermatologist or using an over-the-counter topical treatment are two of the best ways to treat a blind pimple.

Good hygiene is crucial

Though an obvious step to take, being hygienic is essential to prevent the spread of bacteria which will only slow down the healing process. You might also be tempted to use a needle to prick the pimple in order for pus to escape, but this technique is best avoided as it can leave a hole in the skin that is open to more bacteria. If not fingers, to minimise trauma and decrease inflammation, you can try using two cotton buds to squeeze the pimple gently.

Don’t pick at your pimples

However addicting it can be to pick at your skin with your fingernails, doing this may inflame the skin, make the pimple stay around longer, and of course scar. Give your skin a break and don’t go popping left right and centre – if a pimple isn’t ready don’t mess with it obsessively.

Consider a non-invasive solution

If you want to DIY, apply ice to the pimple for five minutes to limit blood flow and reduce redness. Similarly, you can hold a clean face cloth soaked in warm water to the spot to help it erupt on its own.

Instead of squeezing, you can let your pimple do its thing while applying products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide (which destroys bacteria) to help move a stubborn spot without having to take drastic measures.

salicylic acid acne products

Miss FQ loves: Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment, $40.99, from Life Pharmacy; Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel, $80, from Life Pharmacy; Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, $59, from Life Pharmacy

Visit a dermatologist

When it comes down to it, there’s no safer step to take than booking a dermatologist appointment. If left to the pros, dermatologists can pop a difficult pimple without inflicting damage – even those under-the-skin ones that don’t seem to go away. When done right, extractions can calm a pimple down and help speed up the healing process.

This article originally appeared on

Words: Emma Gordon
Photos: Getty Images


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