Jyn Meyer Photo

We all get them. Pimples affect teens and adults alike. In fact, even babies can get pimples with a case of baby acne. Any aesthetician will tell you that you're not supposed to pop or squeeze a pimple - it will only make it worse. But in some cases, the temptation is simply too great. Unfortunately, many people will squeeze or pop a pimple incorrectly, which leads to infection and acne scarring. So if you must pop a pimple, you'll need to do it correctly to avoid making the pimple larger, or worse, you'll create an infection that leads to scarring on your face. Keep reading to find out how to pop a pimple correctly in a way that prevents scarring in the vast majority of cases.

DISINFECT A NEEDLE OR PIN WITH ISOPROPYL RUBBING ALCOHOL: Begin by placing a thin needle or pin in isopropyl rubbing alcohol. It's easiest to pour some of the liquid into the bottle cap. Let the needle sit in the alcohol while you perform the next steps.

APPLY A WARM, WET COMPRESS: Begin by wetting a washcloth with hot water and applying a hot, wet compress to the pimple. Do this for 20 minutes. You'll need to keep re-wetting the washcloth with hot water every few minutes or you can use a microwavable heat pack with a wet washcloth wrapped around it. This will soften the skin and bring the pus to the surface.

WASH YOUR HANDS AND DRY THEM WITH A PAPER TOWEL: Once you've applied the hot compress, you need to move fast. Wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap like Dial and dry your hands using a paper towel. Do not dry your hands on a hand towel - these harbor bacteria.

CLEAN THE FACIAL SKIN BLEMISH: Using a cotton ball or cotton pad soaked with alcohol, clean the area around the pimple. Disinfect the skin in a two-inch diameter around the pimple.

LANCE THE PIMPLE: Remove the disinfected needle from the bottle cap with isopropyl rubbing alcohol and use this to lance the pimple. Since the skin has been softened with the warm, hot compress, the needle should enter the skin with little resistance and little pain. About 1/4 of an inch of the needle tip should enter the skin in order to lance the pocket of infection that's formed beneath the skin's surface.

DRAIN THE PIMPLE: Draining the pimple is a gentle process; pus will usually begin emerging as soon as you withdraw the needle. Little pressure is required to drain the pus from the skin blemish. Place a finger on each side of the pimple and move your fingers toward the blemish while applying slight pressure. Repeat this from several angles.

You CANNOT squeeze the pimple with force or you will drive the pus and infection deeper into the skin. This will make the pimple worse, causing scarring. If you squeeze gently and nothing emerges, you'll need to apply a compress for 20 minutes longer and try again. If the pus still does not emerge, this means the pimple is not yet ready to be drained.

WIPE AWAY ANY DRAINAGE FROM THE SKIN BLEMISH: As you're draining the pimple, you will want to wipe away the pus or fluid with a cotton ball or cotton pad soaked with isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

APPLY ANTIBIOTIC CREAM: When you're finished draining the pimple and it's been swabbed and disinfected per step 7, you'll want to apply some antibiotic cream to promote healing. DO NOT use antibiotic ointment; this will clog your pores, causing blackheads and more pimples!


You may need to repeat the process if the pimple redevelops a white head. Always remove your makeup at night and use a non-comedogenic moisturizers. Exfoliate your skin during every shower or every time you wash your face. This will gently remove dead skin cells that often clog pores, causing pimples to form.


Do not use lots of pressure when popping a pimple; this will make it worse! This will drive the infection deeper into the skin, ultimately leading to acne scarring. When you do this correctly, you will need minimal pressure to drain the pimple successfully. Never try to pop a pimple or pick at your face unless you've applied a warm, wet compress for at least 20 minutes. Otherwise, you'll create scarring and you'll fail to remove a significant portion of the pus. Always use a disinfected needle to lance the pimple; don't just squeeze, as this will create scarring.