Picking, Popping and Scratching: The Three “No’s” for your Acne

Ruth Tedaldi

January 12th, 2015

Most of us have heard our parents and experts repeatedly preach “don’t pick at your pimples.” Just like “don’t run with scissors” and “treat others how you wish to be treated,” this age old life lesson holds very true! Picking, popping and scratching at acne—be it blackheads or whiteheads—are three serious no’s when it comes to skin care.

Aggravating acne by picking or popping at the surface level can push the debris—typically a combination of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria—deeper into the follicle. This can cause the follicle wall to rupture and spread infected material to the surrounding skin. By picking at sources of acne you run a very high risk of worsening the blemish, causing additional blemishes to sprout and inflammation that can lead to acne.

If you frequently find yourself in a “to pick or not to pick” mental battle, here are tips to keep in mind:

  • Try to avoid touching your face. When touching ones face, there is a tendency to scan for irregularities and then a following compulsion to pop or pick at anything undesirable. Avoid the urge to pick by refraining from touching your face.
  • Invest in a quality topical acne spot-treatment to help reduce inflammation and support a rapid, and healthy, healing process.
  • Keep your bathroom routine short and to the point. Avoid standing in front of the mirror for five (or more!) minutes assessing your skin. This is when temptation grows and willpower dwindles.
  • Think of the future! Remind yourself that popping, picking, and scratching can do more damage—lifelong damage. Left alone, a blemish will heal itself, and usually within days.

Always consult your physician if you have questions about how to best treat your acne.


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