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Quick Dose: Is There a Safe Way to Pop a Pimple?

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Popping a juicy pimple may be tempting, but it’s not always a good idea. This nasty habit can cause scarring and infections. 

But if you must pop, wait until the pimple has been around a few days and has developed a white head, indicating there is pus near the surface. Avoid popping new pimples or those that are red or sore. 

When doing this at home, many people choose to pop pimples with a lancet needle or pin – which is not a good idea because it can cause infection if the needle or pin haven’t been properly sterilized, and you might penetrate other parts of your skin, causing additional damage.  

A gentler approach is to use a warm wash cloth or compress. This way, you will soften the pimple to help draw it to a complete head, which makes it easier to remove. 

If this becomes a recurrent issue, please seek the advice of your dermatologist. There are options for “quick fixes” of an acute pimple which can speed healing time as well as other options for better long-term management.

Lauren Taglia, MD, PhD, dermatologist,
Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group

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