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How to pop a pimple


Did I get your attention? To be honest, the actual title of this post was going to be “How to Pop a Pimple – and Ruin Your Skin in the Process.” I’m sure you’ve heard over and over how you should never ever squeeze or pop pimples on your face. And it’s true!

The process of performing “extractions” (which is the correct term) should only be done by a trained skin care professional. It’s the difference between maintaining clear skin and possibly scarring yourself for life – which one would you prefer?

Here are my 4 reasons you should keep your hands to yourself, and leave extractions to the pros:

1. THE ENVIRONMENT: Estheticians work in a sterile environment. That means everything that’s going to touch your face has been properly sanitized with medical-grade antiseptics. The entire facial room itself is meticulously clean – the linens, the implements, and the machines are sanitized before you enter, and after you leave. In short, nothing that even comes close to your skin will be dirty (or have cooties, as my nephew calls them). Your skin is a living, breathing organ, and anything dirty can cause an infection.

2. THE PRODUCTS: Your esthetician has access to professional-use-only products that contain lab-strength ingredients you simply cannot get yourself. She has been trained to use these products correctly and effectively for maximum results.

3. THE EQUIPMENT: She’ll use professional tools, including high-frequency zit-zapping machines and facial steamers. Steam helps to soften the skin’s hair follicles, which harbor plugs of debris (that consist of dead skin, oils, waxes, bacteria and dirt). This softening process helps the esthetician to safely manipulate the skin with less pressure to remove the debris without injury to the skin. (And no, you cannot mimic this steam over a pot of boiling water at home!)

4. THE KNOWLEDGE: Simply put, an esthetician has received years of advanced training. She knows what to do – and what not to do. If you are just standing in front of the mirror at home and squeezing a pimple – you can cause the skin to become more inflamed, and you may push infected matter deeper into the pore. This can cause a more serious infection that can lead to a painful, raised and red bump – and could even rupture the weakened hair follicle and spread the infection further. All of this leads to – you guessed it – a scar, which can last for weeks, or may even be permanent.

A professional knows how to avoid all of this (find one at a Bioelements Spa near you). She will prevent scarring by first performing a Bioelements SkinReading(R) to evaluate the condition of your skin. Next, she’ll cleanse and exfoliate under steam, and then further soften the skin prior to extractions using professional products. In fact, extractions will only be performed on comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) if the esthetician feels the breakout is ready to be extracted – if not, she’ll treat it topically instead.

What do you think? Ever been tempted by a pimple and suffered the consequences? Let me know – I promise I won’t be mad!


One of the first-ever licensed estheticians in the U.S., Barbara Salomone is the architect of the modern American facial. Since launching Bioelements Professional Skin Care in 1991, she has trailblazed the industry, incorporating nutritional supplements into topical skin care products, and pioneering the introduction of antioxidants, calcium, probiotics and lutein. Visit Bioelements on FacebookTwitter or Youtube.

Comments (7)

Joan says:
Oct 22, 2010

I can admit to being one of those people that used to stand in front of a mirror and sqeeze until my skin bled, with lasting horrible results. I still have a few scars on my face from when I was a teenager. You are so right! I wish I could have read this years ago. 🙁

Michelle says:
Oct 23, 2010

Thanks for the straight up in your face info about those dreadful pimples that uninvitedely pop up. I myself have always been a chronic “picker”. Lately though just consciously telling myself to ST0P has helped.

medical esthetician says:
Jan 15, 2011

I always did that and now that i read this i will not do anymore, thanks a lot for the info, great post.

a mom says:
Jan 18, 2013

hello! my 10 years old daughter has acne. black heads, yellow pimples, some turn into cists after torture. there is no way she will stop squeezing as she will not go to school with yellow pimples! we tried the Clinique 3 steps treatment, which only worked for few weeks. she has oily skin, in fact she has little pimples on her back and chest. i need help before she will scar her face for life. supplements? skin products? please advise.

    Barbara Salomone says:
    Jan 25, 2013

    Since your daughter is only 10 years old and already experiencing moderate to severe acne symptoms on her face and body, we professionally recommend that you take your daughter to a dermatologist for diagnosis – there may be a necessity for medical intervention based on what you’ve told us. It could be acne, but there are other skin disorders that look like acne but in fact are not. Once her symptoms are under control, we can then recommend an at home care agenda that will work with her skin type and age group. Even if it turns out she does have acne that is being stimulated by early hormones, there may be a need for some topical antibiotics to help get her symptoms under control to help prevent permanent damage to her skin due to her picking. With doctor’s permission, we can help her further.

Debra says:
Feb 11, 2013

In response to the mom who commented last, call a dermatologist!

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