Gina Florio
March 25, 2016 4:16 pm
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The classic zit popping transgression. You know you’re not supposed to. But you do it anyway. Well, there’s good news for all us acne sinners — if you must get down and dirty with a pimple, there’s a correct way to go about it.

NBC / giphy.com

Dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Benabio gave the rundown on the art of zip popping on his blog, and Science Mic has recently given us the scoop. First and foremost, don’t even think about touching that pimple if there isn’t a fully formed white head on top of it. Messing with the thing before it gets to that prime stage of zithood will only aggravate it and make things worse.

If you’ve found the right one, the next step is to wash your hands. No, really, wash your hands, the doc says. Hold a needle over a flame to sterilize it, then wipe it clean with a rubbing-alcohol-soaked cotton ball. Then, Dr. Benabio instructs, “With the needle nearly parallel to your skin, impale the head of the pimple… then pull up, opening the top of the pimple.”

Grossed out yet? If you can still keep up, don’t skim over this next part: if nothing comes out of the hole on top after you do the needle work, leave the damn thing alone! It’s not ready to come out yet, if so.

Fox / giphy.com

If stuff comes out, though, you can start to press — not squeeze — down on the skin around it. That should get all that juice to come up and out from underneath your skin. If you squeeze, you could make the pustule rupture deeper into your skin, resulting in an ugly nodule that won’t go away.

When it’s all said and done, wipe the area clean with alcohol and maybe a natural toner.

You might be reading this and think, What?! You mean I’m allowed to pop my pimples?! Well, not exactly. You’ve always been told you’re not supposed to for good reason. Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in D.C., told Huffington Post that screwing with a zit before it’s ready to naturally come up makes it more inflamed, and you run the risk of leaving a nasty scar on your face.

Another dermatologist Zakiya Rice told WebMD that the bacteria you squeeze out of a pimple could splat onto other areas, onto other pores, causing extra zits to grow on your pretty face. In other words, same thing — don’t pop your zits.

However, Dr. Benabio is a realist. He knows you’re gonna do it anyway; at least he gives you the proper instructions on how to get the job done. So the next time you’re staring at a juicy one in the mirror, don’t forget his advice.

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