How to Safely Pop a Pimple (You’ve Been Doing it Wrong)

how to pop a zit correctly (you've been doing it wrong)

Let’s get this out of the way: Should you pop a pimple? Nope. Popping zits is bad. It forces more bacteria into the area, which adds fuel to the whole disgusting fire — but we all do it anyway. So we talked to experts and put together this guide to doing it right. At least this way you can cut down on the germs and get that sucker to heal faster, and less time spent hiding from hot women.

One warning: if your zit is a cyst (swollen bump as opposed to a white or black head) do not pop it. Cystic acne is like a balloon underneath your skin; you pop it and all that gunk stays under the surface and really messes things up for you. That said, if you’ve got a nasty white- or blackhead, here’s how you can safely get rid of it:

How To Properly Pop a Pimple

Step 1:

Hop in the shower. The steam will help open your pores and make it easier to pop your zit. While you’re in there, wash your face with an antibacterial cleanser, such as Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash ($13 for 3 bottles @

Step 2:

While you’re still in the shower, after cleansing, exfoliate your face. You can do this with a face scrub (like Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($38 @ a chemical exfoliant (like hydroxy or salicylic acid), or even just rubbing your face with a washcloth. Whatever method you use, be very gentle. You want to remove dead skin cells from around your zit, not rip the top off it.

Step 3:

When you get out of the shower, wipe your face with a clean, never-been-used, freshly washed towel. Cover your fingers with a tissue. Even after showering, your hands and nails have bacteria that can infect your about-to-be-popped pimple. To do this, fold a tissue in half and wrap it around your index finger. Repeat with your other hand. Consider yourself prepped for zit surgery.