There are mixed feelings about popping pimples. Some find it extremely satisfying to remove pimples, while others find it repulsive. Yes, popping a pimple or big blackhead is tempting, but any dermatologist will tell you that tightening your skin is a bad idea.
The problem is that popping won’t get rid of the pimple problem. In fact, pinching your face can make things worse. Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder that occurs when the sebaceous glands become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells, trapping bacteria in the pores. This process produces an inflammatory response, which results in the development of pimples containing pus.
Pimple odors when popping
We may not have noticed if we only get a few pimples from time to time. But the truth is that when a pimple is squeezed and we release the pus (a mixture of bacteria, blood and debris), sometimes an unpleasant or strange smell can be emitted. This odor is simply the byproduct of bacteria feeding on the oil on your skin.
And while an occasional stinky spot isn’t uncommon or cause for alarm, some scents, like the ones discussed below, can signal more serious skin issues if they happen frequently.
If we have acne that smells like cheese, it’s probably due to an epidermoid cyst , a non-cancerous bump under the skin. The skin is made up of a thin layer of cells that the body sheds. An epidermoid cyst forms when these cells move deeper into the skin and multiply instead of shedding. Epidermoid cysts can also develop due to injury or irritation.
These cysts usually have a thick yellow substance made of the protein keratin, which is secreted by epidermal cells. And sometimes this fluid comes out of the cyst and will give off a cheesy smell.
While epidermoid cysts are generally harmless and painless, they can become inflamed or infected, and in rare cases, can lead to skin cancer. If the cyst becomes red, swollen, or tender, we should consult a dermatologist, who may choose to treat it with anti-inflammatory injections, drain the cyst, or remove it entirely.
rotten egg smell
Sulfur-smelling pus may be a sign of acne conglobata , a rare form of nodulocystic acne that occurs when large, painful cysts attach deep under the skin. Acne conglobata is a serious skin condition, which can also cause visible and disfiguring scarring.
The first sign of acne conglobata is multiple swollen nodules, which are filled with pus that may have a foul odor, like rotten eggs. To treat this type of severe acne, we must consult a dermatologist. A doctor may prescribe retinoids, steroids, or antibiotics to help control symptoms.
Onion or garlic odor
If a pimple gives off an onion or garlic scent, we can blame bacteria. Pimples are filled with pus, which are essentially dead white blood cells that provide a feast for infesting bacteria. These bacteria are mostly anaerobic (meaning they don’t need oxygen to survive) and make their own sulfur compounds as they grow.
That is why when we exploit a granite infested with this type of anaerobic bacteria, we can notice a smell of garlic or onion, whose characteristic essence (and flavor) comes from the presence of compounds that contain sulfur .
Although not uncommon, if pore odor persists, we might go to the dermatologist to discuss acne treatments.
Consequences of popping them
Any dermatologist recommends that pimples not burst. Not only will we increase the chances of leaving marks on the skin, but they also pose a danger for skin infections.
redness and swelling
Popping, pinching, and handling a pimple can irritate it and cause it to break under the skin. This often triggers an inflammatory response, leading to more redness and swelling.
In other words, breaking up the blemish can make it larger and can lengthen the time it takes for the blemish to clear up. That is, the opposite of what we want. And, although it bothers us to see the whitish head of the pimple, it is usually better than having red and inflamed skin.
get an infection
Popping a pimple can cause trauma to the skin, which can create an entryway for bad bacteria. Once bacteria get through the portal of broken skin, they can worsen inflammation or start an infection. Although less common, in severe cases this can even lead to an abscess (a painful pocket of pus) or cellulitis (a bacterial infection of the skin that causes a red, swollen rash that is hot to the touch).
In fact, if left untreated, a cellulitis infection can travel to the lymph nodes and bloodstream, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. However, when talking about the common pimples on the face, we should not be alarmed in this type of infection.
The whole premise behind popping a pimple is to make it go away faster. But ironically, picking at the pustule can leave a lasting mark. Popping a pimple makes inflammation worse and increases the likelihood of acne scarring.
Inflammation can break down collagen and cause increased pigment production in the skin. This process produces atrophic acne scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (patches or darkened spots on the skin). Also, if we sunbathe with broken pimples, it is common for spots to remain.
Alternatives to not exploit them
There are certain types of imperfections that we should never try to blow up. They include boils, cystic acne, and pimples that are below the surface of the skin. If we can’t see a visible whitehead or blackhead on a pimple, we probably won’t be able to pop it anyway.
In trying to pop a pimple that isn’t ready to break open, we risk exposing the inner layers of the skin to bacteria and other irritants. This can cause the pimple to take longer to heal, resulting in more pimples and even permanent scarring on your face.
try the topics
To avoid unwanted side effects, it is best to eliminate the appearance of pimples. We can think about trying acne and topical medications that will help prevent and treat the problem with pimples. Topicals that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can help soothe inflammation and reduce acne lesions.
And if it is difficult to resist touching a pustule, we can use a pimple patch instead of touching it with our hands. It is recommended to start with a product that has a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient.
go to a dermatologist
If pimples are a persistent problem, we should see a board-certified dermatologist so they can assess the skin situation. In addition to prescribing acne-fighting medications, dermatologists can also employ some strategies to safely pop a pimple, such as the following techniques:
- Extraction: The doctor uses sterile instruments to remove blackheads and whiteheads.
- Corticosteroids : The doctor injects a pimple with a corticosteroid, which speeds up the healing process of acne, cysts or deep painful nodules and reduces the risk of scarring.
- Incision and drainage : A doctor uses a sterile needle or surgical blade to cut open a pimple, cyst, or nodule and drain the contents.
But if you insist on popping pimples at home, dermatologists advise against doing so as there is a safer way to do it if you just can’t resist the urge.
How to pop a pimple?
The surest way to get rid of a pimple is to wait for it to pass. Blackheads surround bacteria that get trapped in the layers of the skin. Popping a pimple releases those bacteria on the face. The skin knows how to heal a pimple better than we do. If we are going to pop a pimple, it is recommended to follow some guidelines that will be safer for the skin.
- wash hands Always wash yourself with soap and water before touching your skin. This will reduce the chances of dirt, debris, or bacteria getting into the skin and causing an infection. If we are using a comedone extractor, a hand tool with a hollow circle on the end that is specifically designed to remove blackheads and whiteheads, we need to make sure to sterilize the instrument as well.
- Apply a warm compress (or take a hot shower) beforehand. This helps soften and prepare the skin for extraction.
- Using a clean tissue is important to gently press down on the skin around the pimple. We should never use our nails to squeeze. This can inadvertently scratch the skin’s surface, creating a convenient entrance for infection-causing bacteria.
- Do not apply too much pressure . If we’re trying to pop a pimple, but do it with light pressure, chances are we’re going too deep and not being aggressive. Strong pressure will contribute to increased swelling and redness.
- Apply a drop of a topical antibiotic cream . This will help prevent infection in the area.