Aftercare of a Popped Pimple

Popped pimples don't have to leave behind scars.
... Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images

When you spot a zit in the mirror, you'll do almost anything to get rid of it. You may have heard not to pop a pimple -- it can lead to scarring -- but in the moment, it's hard to resist. Once you've done the deed, treat your delicate skin right so the pimple doesn't leave behind a permanent mark. New zits can arise in the same spot as popped ones, so you'll also need to treat the area with acne medication to ward them off.

Dampen a washcloth with warm water, then blot the popped pimple a few times. Gently wipe away any blood, pus or other fluid. If the pimple is actively bleeding, wait until it stops before proceeding. Hold the cloth over the pimple to help it stop bleeding faster.

Dip a cotton ball in benzoyl peroxide or another antibacterial solution. Dab the pimple and surrounding skin with the solution to kill bacteria and ward off infection.

Apply a dab of salicylic-acid acne medication to the popped zit to discourage the pimple from returning.

Blot the area with a glycolic-acid pad. The acid helps shed the top of layer of damaged skin. Alternatively, apply a cortisone cream several times per day for up to a week. This is gentler than exfoliating with a gritty scrub, especially if you have sensitive facial skin.

Dab the pimple with an antibacterial ointment, then cover it up with a bandage overnight.

  • Never pop a pimple on your upper lip or nose. The blood vessels there communicate directly with the ones in your brain. If the popped pimple gets infected, that infection can spread to your brain. This may very rarely cause a fatal condition called cavernous sinus thrombosis.
  • Popping zits can cause permanent scars if not done correctly.
  • Only pop a pimple if you can see a white head above the surface of your skin. If the pimple is still below the skin's surface, don't try to pop it.
  • Consider having a dermatologist pop the pimple for you. It's safer and more sanitary than doing it yourself.
  • To conceal a popped zit, smooth some mattifying serum over the area, then apply your regular foundation. Select a concealer that matches your skin tone. Dip a concealer brush into the product, then gently dab it over the zit. Blend outward so the covered area matches the surrounding skin's color. Finish by dusting the area with translucent powder.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.