Show of hands: Who’s obsessed with pimple-popping videos? (Us, too, guilty as charged.) Oh, some of you haven’t brought yourselves to watch one yet? (Surely, you’ve been tempted though?) Well, regardless of your status, it’s worth it to at least discuss the few pointers we’ve learned along the way about properly handling trouble spots as they...pop up.
Time It Out
Before going to town on a spot, think about what you have coming up on your schedule. Even if it’s a successful, um, operation, it’s going to look a bit worse initially until the redness subsides. Give yourself at least 24 hours of buffer time before any major events.
Know When to Pop (and When to Stop)
You know when you pop a zit and somehow make it worse? This usually means that the pimple wasn’t ready to be popped in the first place. You want it to come to a head (aka have a white center) before attempting anything. If the blemish is under the skin and tender to the touch, leave it alone. Squeezing will only cause more swelling and possible scarring.
Always Prep the Area Before Going In
After washing your face and hands, gently wipe down the area in question with some rubbing alcohol and a cotton round. Next, wrap your fingers in tissue, steady your hands against your face and push down gently until all of the pus is out so it doesn’t come back—or worse, get bigger. Stop when you see the teensiest tinge of blood.
Treat It Immediately Afterward
Wipe the spot down with rubbing alcohol once more to make sure it’s clean and follow with a cold compress on the area, using a bit of pressure to help bring down any swelling. After a few minutes, finish with a small dab of antibiotic ointment or a cortisone cream to lessen inflammation in the area and help it heal properly. OK, now give yourself a manicure or sit on your hands—whatever it takes to keep them away from your face.