Should you or should you not pick at your pimples?

Many beauty articles advise us not to pick at pimples but instead, to make sure it’s clean and to constantly re-apply whatever pimple or acne treatment you are using. As much as it is a good habit to not pick at pimples, some pimples form a whitish ‘head’ after a while and I can’t resist picking them. I have to admit, it’s partly habit for me to pick them and at the same time, I find leaving these whitish pimples on my face really unsightly so I’d prefer to remove them whenever I can.

Does picking your pimples form scars?
I’ve been told countless of times that picking at pimples cause scars and that if I want to have beautiful skin I should never pick at my pimples. Personally, I’m not sure if I’m just lucky or if my skin is still able to recover fast for now, but whenever I pick at a pimple, even if it scabs or a scar forms, it is only temporary and heals in no time. Because of this, I find it even more tempting to pick at them whenever I can. But of course this should only apply to pimples that are closer to the surface of the skin and not the kind that are cyst-like or acne that is lodged deep within the skin.

Will popping a pimple make it heal faster?
There also have been instances where the time taken to heal becomes faster after I pop the pimple. I used to get acne that sits on my skin really long and doesn’t go away until I pop it. And after popping it, it scabs up and then heals really fast. Again, I’m not sure if this is just me or if popping some pimples will quicken the time it takes to recover.

Misjudging whether a pimple is ready to be popped or not
There are times when I let my bad habit get the better of me and I start attempting to pop a pimple that is not ready to be popped or cannot be popped. This usually ends up with me in pain and a very red and swollen looking pimple that takes longer than usual to recover. This has happened many times already, but has never deterred me enough to stop picking at pimples that doesn’t look ready to be popped. In this case I believe it’s a very bad habit on my part.

Stopping my bad picking habit
Recently I have stopped the habit of picking at my pimples unless there is a very obvious whitish head on top of it, and it has been such a huge improvement to my skin. It could be the acne treatment product that I have been using or it could be a mixture of both the acne treatment and the fact that I stopped picking at the pimples that led to the drastic improvement of my skin. It was only after seeing results of improvement that I was even stricter on myself on not picking at pimples, so in that sense, it was sort of a vicious cycle in the past when I couldn’t stop the habit of picking at pimples.

Pick at your own risk
Even though I used to pick at my pimples, after using the right acne treatment serum and along with not picking at my pimples, I don’t get any breakouts anymore, not even before and during my period. Although I have to add, my diet probably plays a part in not having those awful breakouts. Now that I don’t get scars or pimple outbreaks, I find the need for concealer almost gone. Apart from having nicer skin, I spared myself the need to rely on concealers all the time and it definitely saves me a lot of time preparing to go out. So unless the whitish head is really, really obvious and threatening to pop on its own anytime, my advice to you is still the age old saying, never pick at your pimples unless absolutely necessary if you want good skin.


  1. xin says:

    guilty as charged! i can’t resist popping pimples on my own too! i always have the doubt of leaving it pimple there to heal it by itself, what about the pus in it?
    xin last post is: Nail Art Tutorial: Catching the Rainbow in April

  2. Carrie says:

    Ah! I can never resist popping a pimple and unfortunately I am not as lucky as you, since most of the pimples I popped do leave me with scars!! Yet recently I have decided to use tea tree oil do the trick for me. When a pimple is about to form I would dab some tea tree oil on it and the next day they just subsided!! ? Though it won’t work as well when they are already whiteheads… so if I do missed my chance for tea tree oil I think I will still pop them nevertheless, coz I just can’t help it XD
    Carrie last post is: What a smell could be there!

  3. stella says:

    my mom (of all people) used to squeeze my cystic pimples when i was growing up, which probably resulted in me with more scarring that i would have if we just left them alone

    my skin has since cleared up and what works for me now is tons of salicylic acid gel on the monthly zit, if any. it either subside on its own, or if a head shows up well, i squeeze it gently with the pads of my fingers. i then apply the gel until the zit becomes mostly flat, after which it’ll heal on its own. so far, i haven’t had problems with new scars

  4. vivavoomz says:

    I used to pop my cystic acne. I don’t really have a choice. It’s either I leave in at L size or at least drain as much as I could so that at least it appears like a S size. But of course before that, I usually apply some form of pimple cream or clay mask to dry it up and also bring the pus to the surface (ripen it)
    vivavoomz last post is: New Hauls: Kate eyeshadows + Canmake Blush and Lip Concealer

  5. espenine says:

    Definitely killing those with whitish heads with a vengeance. I can’t stand the sight of them & who knows if they will ooze some liquid if I am outdoors and leave me embarrassed??! They start to heal immediately once I have cleared out the pus. I don’t have pit scars but I do get acne marks which take looong time to fade.

    After years of trial & error (ouch!), I have given up picking on those that swell as red bumps and learnt to leave them alone until they become yellow monsters!

  6. HKLights says:

    NEVER, ever pick a pimple. Instead let it heal on its own, untouched…unless you like scars, that is.

    That was the recommendation made to me from a skin doctor many years ago, and it’s an eternal wisdom.

  7. Organic cosmetics says:

    Thank you for sharing. Plenty would gain from this.
    Organic cosmetics last post is: Autumn Skin Revival

  8. Lizzy says:

    If you draw a triangle from between your eyes to either corner of your lips and your pimple falls within that triangle you shouldn’t pop it.

    If you end up “popping it wrong” you’ll push the bacteria into your veins and the veins within that region doesn’t have valves. Bacteria can travel straight up to your brain..

  9. RedScorpio says:

    Sometimes I pick, sometimes I show character and I do not pick ?
    I have never got a scar from a “picked” pimple; all I get -whether I have picked it or not- is a dark spot that may take weeks to leave altogether. And it does indeed heel faster, when I pick it and use the right products to heal; after all, if you do not “extract” the puss, it must be absorbed by your skin.

    What I have also noticed is that once it scabs, it will heal much faster if I put baby talc powder on it during the night. Not sure why, but it does work every time so I keep doing it!

  10. Germila says:

    It should not to be done if one wants to pick pimples. It would cause rashes leading to inflammation. Water therapy is my choice. Or apply with safe remedies. If you are really anxious for an effective way, go to a dermatologist and ask for a more thorough approach regarding the problem.
    Germila last post is: best acne treatment

  11. Cassie says:

    Yeah! I also feel that the pus has to come out somehow.. :p

  12. Cassie says:

    Seems like I’m really not the only one with this popping zits habit! Haha!

  13. Cassie says:

    Ahhh… Cystic pimples really really hurt if you squeeze them! It’s good to hear your skin has cleared up now. I really leave cystic pimples alone at all costs cause squeezing it really hurts too much for me.

  14. Cassie says:

    Yes! that is what I mean by it fastens the healing process because of the slow draining of the pimple!

  15. Cassie says:

    Ah! That is really similar to mine! I have also learnt to leave those swollen red bumps alone till I see white, if not it really takes a while for the scars to go away.

  16. Cassie says:

    I have been a good girl recently and stopped picking them! ?

  17. Cassie says:

    I’m glad this is useful for you. ?

  18. Cassie says:

    That sounds severe! I think if one has to pop a zit, best do it with clean hands whether it falls within the triangle or not. Hehee ?

  19. Cassie says:

    It must be drying the pimple out that’s why talc powder works. Interesting! I’ve never heard of using talc powder… Thanks for sharing!

  20. Cassie says:

    True true.. but some bad habits die hard ? However! I have stopped picking them recently already and it works.

  21. Jasmine says:

    If only I could pick mine! Mine are mostly below the surface, hormonal acne. They never surface so I can’t even pick them if I want to. I’m at my wits end as I’ve tried almost everything. What is the acne treatment serum that has worked for you?

  22. Sesame says:

    If it’s the cystic type, you gotta get to the root as most of the time, they’re a manifest from what’s happening within your body. How’s your diet like?

  23. Jasmine says:

    I try to eat healthy. Non-oily and less dairy. But it’s pretty much the same. It’s definitely hormonal since I get breakouts when I’m stressed and around my period.

  24. Wei ling says:

    My doctor once told me that the area in the triangle is most prone to scars. So be careful and really gentle to your skin

  25. catalina robin says:

    Thank you, great article and it’s important for adult acne and should you pick at your acne

  26. Diana Fernandez says:

    I think the pimples that are dried out; should be popped without any fear of leaving a scar.

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