"When you look in the mirror and a pimple stares right back at you, you're going to get the urge. You want to squeeze it. You really want to squeeze it. Especially since pimples show up at the worst times.
Although there's never a good time to get a zit, they always seem to make their appearance right before a party, a special date, or a big family reunion.
So is it really that bad to pop a pimple?
Yes, it is.
What's the Big Deal?
Think of a pimple as a little sack that holds oil, debris, and acne bacteria, says dermatologist Zakiya Rice, MD, an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
"What we call the pustule is actually keeping the bacteria nice and contained," she says. When you puncture the pimple's outer skin, the gunk oozes out. If the bacteria in that gunk splatters and lands inside other pores, it can lead to more pimples.
There's another risk. Poke, pick, prick, and prod a pimple, and you can force the debris and bacteria even deeper into your skin. You may also introduce new kinds of bacteria from your finger into the zit. That can cause the pimple to become more red, inflamed, swollen and infected, and may even lead to permanent scarring.
'It's best to let a pimple run through its life span,' Rice says.
Left alone, a blemish will heal itself in 3 to 7 days. Popped improperly, it can linger for weeks or lead to scarring."
It is best to leave skin concerns of this nature to the expertise of a professional in order to prevent unwanted side effects such as scarring and spreading of bacteria.