young woman looking in mirror squeezing and popping pimple

How to Properly Pop a Zit!

So, I know you've heard time-and-time again that you should never pop a zit.  And while technically that's true, let's face it, sometimes you just can't resist.

Who out there has the strength to look the other way when that ginormous whitehead is nearing the point of eruption and you feel the throbbing pain at the base of the zit that you know will most certainly disappear the moment you pop it? The exhilaration of the squeeze is truly hypnotizing, like you’re under a spell. I've been there, recently, and despite my every effort to resist, I eventually succumb to the pop. 

But before we discuss how to "properly pop" let me first say, try to resist the temptation to do so.  Popping a zit introduces bacteria, oil, and sweat beneath the skins surface potentially creating an even larger infection of the skin.  In rare cases, this infection of the skin can become infected with more serious bacteria or it can even find its way into the blood stream!  You may also find that instead of the zit disappearing after a pop it oftentimes refills with puss beginning a vicious cycle of refilling and popping that's hard to recover from.  If that weren't tragic enough, popping a zit creates an open wound on the skin's surface which means two things will occur; 1. a gnarly scab will develop in order to heal and 2) an unattractive potentially permanent scar may form as a result of healing.  Ugh!

Well, if you still must pop here's what I advise.  First, wash your hands.  Although we will not be popping with our bare fingers, it's still good to practice proper hand hygiene.  Next, clean the zit and the area around it with rubbing alcohol.  Then, grab a paper towel, not a tissue, and not toilet paper.  Reason for the paper towel, it doesn't tear easily and it doesn't stick to your fingers or the open wound.  Plus it's hella absorbent.  You will cover your two index fingers with the paper towel when it's time to pop.  Catching the zit at the right time will determine how you pop.  If it is pretty early in the zits life, no whitehead visible, WAIT to pop.  You'll just end up scraping your skin trying to pop a zit that isn't ready.  It's like trying to squeeze the air out of a fully inflated basketball, however, if the ball has a hole in it, squeezing the air out becomes possible.  In this case, warm compresses, steam, or any form of warmth and humidity will help bring it to a head. 

Now, If there's a tiny barely-there white head you can use a small sterile needle to poke a hole in the highest point of the zit (usually where the whitehead is visible).  This will make relieving the zit of its contents easier and less traumatic to the surrounding skin since less pressure will be needed. If you don't have a sterile needle, bring the zit to a visible head with time and/or humidity before popping.  If the zit is more mature and the whitehead is visibly mocking you, no needle is necessary to create an opening, but it's still recommended to minimize trauma to the skin. 

So let's get to the pop. 


  1. Cover the index fingers with a paper towel, PUSH DOWN on the widest part of the base of the zit while slightly angling inward (rocking the index fingers in).  You want to really rely on the pushing down motion to expel all of the pus out, it also limits trauma to the skin. 
  2. Push down on the sides of the zit as well as above and below it.  Move in closer to the center of the zit and repeat; push down and rock in on the sides and above/below.  The heaviest amount of pressure should be in the pushing down motion, as the rocking inward/slight squeeze is what is likely to tear the skin.
  3. Once you see blood being expressed from the zit, stop, you've gotten it all out.  If no blood is ever expressed stop expressing once clear fluid comes out. 
  4. Clean the area with alcohol and apply an acne fighting medication and The O.G. Peel over the spot.  Keep the area clean, dry, and fingers off. 

Despite our best efforts, zits are stubborn. You may have to repeat this process or just let time heal all zits.  This technique is only one way of trying to reduce the amount of trauma and the degree of infection.  Remember, NEVER touch your face with bare fingers and create a healthy skin care regimen that focuses on your individual needs.  A cleanser, toner,  corrector (different for everyone) and moisturizer (with an SPF) are essential to keeping your skin in peak championship fighting condition.  Don't let pesky zits, the harsh elements or Father time win!