Ah, the art of pimple popping. I’ve been known to stand in front of a mirror for more time than I care to admit, going at my zits with zeal.Yes, it’s a gnarly habit, but so many of us do it, because honestly, popping your pimples feels freaking amazing. In a sense, attempting to get rid of a zit seems pretty logical there’s a dirty substance boiling up and invading my pores and making them into gross, tiny, red, irritatedmountains, so I should probably get rid of them, right?

Well, no.

As you may know, there really aren’t many ways to safely pick at your skin without facing any consequences.

Elite Daily spoke withdermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss about why popping your pimples is really just never a good idea.

She explains,

First off, pimples are like icebergs; so much of them [is] underneath the surface of the skin.

So, when you think you’re doing yourself a favor by squeezing the head, you’re actually pushing most of the pimples’ content including the pus and bacteria deeper into your skin.

This results in longer-lasting inflammation and redness, not to mention the potential scab you just formed that might result in a scar.

Ugh, fine, I guess that all makes sense.

But wait, why is it that when you get a facial or go to the dermatologist, get to pop your pimples?

You won’t like the answer, but it’s really quite simple.

Dermatologists are pros when it comes to this stuff. They’re able to use the correct pressure around the affected acne lesion to prevent further inflammation or scarring, and they’re also using totally sterile equipment.

When you go at your own acne, it is almost impossible to not cause further damage to the skin, and I will not hesitate to call you a liar if you say you use totally clean hands to pick at your pimples.

Plus, the more you go at one particular spot, the less likely the scars you’re forming will eventually go away. In fact, continuously popping pimples will only elongate the time it takes for those areas to heal (discoloration and scarring can take as long as three to six months to heal, guys).

So the question is, are there safe ways to get rid of pimples on your own?

Well, not really, but if you just control the compulsion to pop, says Dr. Idriss, do it after a long, hot shower:

The heat and steam will help open up your pores and bring the inflammation to the surface of the skin, making it easier to extract the most pus and leave less of a mark behind.

So, doctor’s orders: no touchy. Leave your face alone already!

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