A Pimple Popping Guide For The Pimple Poppers of the World

We’ve all been there. We have an angry, glowing like a full moon in all her glory, pulsating pimple. It’s staring at you. You’re staring at it. You gently prod it. It hurts, but in a good way. You imagine the sweet release of giving it a little squeeze and it deflating with a satisfying ooze. Then You wonder: when can you pop a pimple?

But you stop yourself… You’ve read the cosmo articles warning you about popping pimples causing scarring….you’re not about to scar your face and cause a river of bacteria that will re-infect what will surely be your whole chin. Are you? Let’s dig in….

What is a Pimple, And Why Do People Get Them?

types of pimples

Let’s start at the beginning shall we? A pimple is a small, raised bump on the skin that is usually red or pink and may contain pus. Pimples occur when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, or pregnancy; the use of certain skincare or makeup products; and an unhealthy diet, food intolerances or lifestyle. Pimples appear anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the face, neck, chest, and back (or bum 😫).

Sometimes these pimples grow and get filled with pus 🤮 and while popping pimples isn’t always recommended, there are certain situations when it can be done safely and some people even report that popping pimples leads to faster heal times.

(ps if you want to cure your acne once and for all check out my list of best acne treatment books)

Types of Pimples You Can Pop

There are several different types of pimples that can appear on the skin, each with its own characteristics and potential for safe popping.

Here’s a brief overview:


Whiteheads are small, raised bumps on the skin that are typically white or flesh-colored. They form when oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria become trapped in hair follicles. While it’s generally not recommended to pop whiteheads, if they have come to a head and are visible on the surface of the skin, they may be safely popped using the proper technique. (keep reading for the section on the best practise for how to do this)


Blackheads are similar to whiteheads but are open to the surface of the skin. They appear as small black or dark brown spots and are caused by the same buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. While blackheads can be tempting to squeeze, it’s generally not recommended to do so, as this can push the debris further into the pores and make the problem worse. Generally speaking, gentle exfoliation is the best way to get rid of blackheads.


Pustules are larger, inflamed bumps on the skin that are typically red or pink with a visible white or yellow center. They are caused by the same buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria as whiteheads and blackheads, but are more inflamed and may be more painful. If a pustule has come to a head and is visible on the surface of the skin, it may be safely popped using the proper technique. (keep reading for the how to!)


Cysts are deep, painful bumps that are typically larger than other types of pimples. They are caused by an infection in the hair follicle and are usually filled with pus. While it’s generally not recommended to pop cysts, as this can cause scarring and further infection, they may need to be drained by a dermatologist or other skincare professional in order to heal properly.

Overall, it’s important to exercise caution when popping pimples of any type, as this can lead to scarring, infection, and other complications. It’s generally best to leave pimples alone and allow them to heal naturally, but if you do decide to pop a pimple, be sure to use clean hands and tools and stop if it starts to bleed or hurt. Keep reading for full instructions on pimple popping.

can u pop a green infected pimple

Signs That It’s Safe to Pop a Pimple

Not all pimples should be popped, BUT there are certain signs that indicate it’s safe to do so…heres a list of when you can pop a pimple:

  • If the head of pimple is soft and white or yellow then you can likely pop it
  • If the head of the pimple is green and soft you can pop it, but take extra caution to clean after as this likely indicates infection.
  • The bump of the pimple is superficial
  • The sides of the pimple feel soft, like it may break or pop on it’s own.
  • No longer hard to the touch, especially in the centre.
when you can pop a pimple and types of pimples to pop

Ok….so you’ve got the green light 🚦to pop your pimple. Now it’s time to figure out how to to do it avoid scarring and spreading the bacteria from the pimple. (which can cause MORE pimples….

How to Pop a Pimple Safely

If you do decide to pop a pimple, it’s important to follow the proper technique in order to minimize the risk of scarring, infection, and other complications.

Here are some steps to follow:

pimple popping tools and should you ever pop a pimple

Wash your hands:

Before popping a pimple make sure you wash up. Start with a clean slate to remove bacteria or dirt that could cause infection.

Sterlize your tools

If you use a pimple popper or needle be sure to sterilize with rubbing alcohol or boiling water. If you are attempting to pop a whitehead or black head you will need an extractor tool.

Soften the pimple

Apply a warm compress or soak the area in warm water for a few minutes to help soften the skin. This also makes it easier to pop. I typically take a hot shower first or use my facial steamer for 5-10 minutes before attempting extractions. As a side note, facial steamers are awesome for prepping the skin for skincare. I have this one..

Use gentle pressure

Gently press down on the sides of the pimple with your fingers or tool. Be careful not to apply too much pressure. If the pimple doesn’t pop easily, don’t force it.

Stop if it hurts or bleeds

If the pimple starts to bleed or hurt, stop immediately. Then apply pressure with a clean tissue to help stop the bleeding. Don’t continue popping the pimple if it’s too painful.

Release The Pus

Once the pimple opens up I like to apply some pressure to the sides of the pimple. I use my fingers to release all the pus and liquid from it.

Clean the area:

Once you’ve successfully popped the pimple, clean the area with a gentle cleanser or rubbing alcohol. This will help prevent infection.

Apply a Spot treatment:

Finally, apply a spot treatment containing ingredients to help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. I personally like to use a bit of mct coconut oil with a drop of tea tree oil in it. The combination is gentle, and all natural. They both have natural astringent abilities to keep the skin clean and infection free.

⭐️ Pro tip for pimple popping: wrap your fingers in tissue paper to avoid introducing more germs. You can also to soak up any pus that leaks out of the pimple when you pop it.

When NOT to Pop a Pimple

There are some situations when a pimple shouldn’t be popped. Popping pimples in these situations are more likely to lead to scarring or infection.

  • If your pimple is on your nose or forehead, it’s best to avoid popping it. This is because there are more blood vessels and less fat…or padding for a lack of better words (lol). So scars will show more.
  • Deep cyst type of pimples shouldn’t be popped if there is no white pustule at the top. This type of pimple is solid, so trying to pop it will be painful and give little relief. Give it a couple days…it will likely turn white and then you can pop.
  • You can use your best judgement on this, but if you are wondering if you should pop a pimple on your lip…. It’s a delicate area and takes longer to heal since your lips move and get touched more than other parts of your face. So use more caution if you decide to pop a pimple on your lip.
  • If the pimple is in your ear I wouldn’t pop it. Too much risk of infection.
  • If you have a pimple on your eyelid then it is best not to pop it.

Of course the best case scenario is to not have any pimples to pop in the first place…

Clear skin can be achieved with a consistent skincare routine and getting to the root cause of what’s causing your acne.

If you want to learn more check out my article on the 5 Best Acne Treatment Books!

One last reminder: it’s not recommended to pop pimples, as it can lead to scarring, infection, and other complications. If you’re unsure about whether it’s safe to pop a pimple or how to do it properly, it’s always best to consult with a dermatologist or other skincare professional.

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