Unfortunately, none of us are saints. And equally unfortunately, no matter how skin-savvy (or, some might unkindly suggest, obsessed) we are, no one is immune to the odd spot. Or more than the odd one, if you’re anything like us.
As it happens, Murphy’s Law means that the moment we need a spot least of all in our lives, we’re sure to end up sporting a real humdinger. A Frank, if you will.
We’ve all been there, with a spot so loud and proud that it’s deserving of its own name, address and passport. It can be just too tempting, and too hard to resist the urge sometimes, but we all know that the world and our mothers (mostly our mothers, it’s true) tell us that we shouldn’t pop our spots. But still we wonder … Can you ever pop a spot?
Can You Ever Pop A Spot?
Strictly, we have to say no. You should never pop a spot – but we are not perfect all of the time (even if we try our gosh darn best).
What Can Happen If I Pop A Spot?
Popping a spot can lead you into pretty bad skin territory if you go about it the wrong way. We’re sure you know what we mean, but in case you need enlightenment…
Even popping a seemingly ‘ripe’ pimple could potentially lead to scarring. If the spot contains infected pus, popping a pimple carelessly can spread bacteria into other pores and lead to a breakout. You could end up dealing with a whole bunch of spots leaving you full of regrets that you didn’t quit while you were ahead.
Equally, if you get your technique wrong, and push too hard at the sides of your spot, you could end up causing the wall of the pore to burst. This might end up pushing the infection deeper into the layers of your epidermis, making the spot worse instead of better. This is also a good way to go about creating scarring.
How To Get Rid Of Spots Without Popping
How To Cleanse Spots Away
There are plenty of ways of tackling spots which can really work, although they might not be as satisfying in the short term as going in ham and popping. Still, if you can possibly manage to hold yourself back, tackling the root of the problem will doubtless be more effective in the long-run than a pop and regret.
Limiting, diminishing and treating breakouts starts with an effective cleansing routine. As we go through our day, excess oil (or sebum), SPF, makeup and pollution can block our pores. If we don’t effectively clear this away, then these blocked pores will remain blocked, and spots can form, leading to blackheads, whiteheads and breakouts.
Avoiding this from the outset is super important, and doesn’t have to be a total drag. Cleansing your skin twice a day is the perfect place to start. Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanser is a gentle, inactive cleanser with plenty of pre and probiotic goodness, designed to help care for the natural biome of your skin while maintaining a healthy skin biome.
It’s suitable for even sensitive skin and can be used morning and evening, or as often as you need to use it – it’s mild mild, as in Nando’s Lemon and Herb mild. Using a cleanser twice a day will help to keep your skin free of product build-up and keep those pores clear too.
Salicylic acid is the friend of the oily hooman, and those prone to congestion. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid which works as a chemical exfoliant in many skincare products, including our very own Sally Cleanse.
Calling it a chemical exfoliant might sound scary, but we promise it’s not. The skin of the hooman, and most everything else that we come into contact with is, in fact, a chemical or a chemical reaction! Chemical exfoliation is more effective than a purely mechanical exfoliant, such as a gritty scrub because it gets deeper into the skin causing exfoliation from further down.
A chemical exfoliant penetrates deeply into your skin. The skin works a little like roof tiles, working as protection for us. Instead of chipping away at these protective tiles with a mechanical exfoliant, a chemical exfoliant drips between the tiles to get beneath the surface, causing less abrasion to the skin. Salicylic acid works by penetrating into the pore and dissolving sebum and debris which might otherwise block it, which in turn can help to prevent a breakout.
Sally Cleanse contains 2% salicylic acid, the highest legal EU limit, making it ideal for congestion-prone hoomans looking to clear up breakouts. It’s pretty powerful, so we suggest you use it only once a week to begin with, and no more than three times a week after that.
It’s also suitable as a micro-mask, left on the skin for two minutes and then cleansed away. You can also use it as a spot zapper – apply it to the Frank in question for no more than three minutes, before cleansing it off.
How Serums Can Tackle Congestion
Vitamin A serums can do a whole lot of good for congestion-prone skin – take Skin Protein as an example. Skin Protein contains two forms of vitamin A – both retinyl palmitate, the fat form of vitamin A, and beta carotene. Vitamin A is particularly useful when tackling acne-prone skin as it increases cell renewal and turnover, prompting your skin to proliferate more frequently.
The vitamin A in Skin Protein can also help to improve the appearance of acne scars, to help you even after you’ve tackled any persistent or ongoing acne. Vitamin A can also decrease inflammation in your skin, which can help reduce the appearance of acne breakouts.
Skin Protein can also help to manage sebum production, and limit the amount of excess sebum produced by your skin, which can in turn lead to fewer breakouts. Sebum is not the enemy – but when produced in excess, it can easily block pores.
Skin Protein is not suitable for use if you are taking acne medication such as Isotretinoin due to its levels of vitamin A – make sure you check in with your GP or dermatologist if you have any questions about what products are safe for use during your treatment.
Skin Veg and Inflammation
When it comes to bringing down redness and inflammation, you can also rely on Skin Veg. It contains soothing liquorice extract and cucumber extract too, which is particularly effective when it comes to calming inflamed skin.
Inflammation can be an uncomfortable and also very visible element of a breakout – as the skin becomes swollen or inflamed, it can put pressure on nerve endings, which is why swollen, inflamed spots can cause so much pain.
Skin Veg is also super hydrating, as it contains sodium hyaluronate and works to draw moisture towards the surface of the skin. The poly-hydroxy acid in it also works as a very gentle exfoliant to slough off dead skin cells.
I Still Want To Pop My Spot, What Do I Do?
We did our very best to talk you down, but we aren’t perfect and we do understand. If you absolutely must, reader, be warned: there is no completely safe way to pop a spot. But there are ways of going about it which are better than others.
We seriously recommend that you don’t pop your spots, and if it’s a regular occurrence that your spots cause you a lot of grief, we’d recommend chatting to a facialist, your skincare professional, or your GP and seeing if there is an underlying cause or more long-term treatment.
However, if you absolutely HAVE to pop that spot – then here’s our suggestion …
- Wash your hands thoroughly, in antibacterial soap.
- Wrap tissues around your fingers to keep the skin clean.
- Don’t use your nails – just the sides of your forefingers!
- Place a finger either side of the spot in question and press down firmly and outwards from the spot. This will allow the infection underneath to drive upwards and gives you a better chance of drawing the infection out fully.
- Do not press until you draw blood – this is much more likely to result in scarring – if you see blood, you’ve gone too far.
- When the spot is popped, disinfect the area by cleansing with diluted Sally Cleanse – this may sting a bit, but it’s an important step.
- Don’t put SPF or makeup over the site of the spot as long as it remains an open wound – wait ‘til it has scabbed over before applying anything to it.
If you must pop, it’s best to do it pre-bedtime, to give your skin a chance to heal overnight!
Spot popping is one skin sin that we do understand but we urge you to find another method of tackling your breakouts. When it comes to spot popping, you’re mostly going to experience pain and get little gain in return.