THE ONLY WAY TO POP!

post + photos by amy nadine, graphic design by eunice chun

I tell my clients this so much, I feel like a broken record. If you squeeze a whitehead:

  • you inflame it and the tissue around it
  • it bleeds and scabs over, making it harder to cover up
  • it ends up lasting a week instead of a few days
  • you might even damage the skin, leaving you with a scar.

But I get it. You wake up and there’s an unsightly whitehead on your chin. You can’t go to work or class and subject your peers to it. They’ll lose their appetites! But that doesn’t mean you should annihilate your face either and walk in with a scab. Here’s what you can do instead:

  1. Run hot water that is pretty hot but not so hot that you can’t touch it with your finger. Place a corner of a clean washcloth under the hot water to soak it.
  2. Wring it out so it’s no longer dripping.
  3. Immediately hold the corner with your finger directly on top of the blemish. This is bringing all of the fluid to the surface (where the phrase ”bringing it to a head” comes from). Watch TV or chill for a few minutes until the cloth is no longer warm.
  4. While holding your finger still directly on top of it, gently slide your finger 1 millimeter in any direction. The whitehead should slide right off with the cloth.
  5. If not, no worries, you just need to repeat steps 1-4 again until it’s ready and it works.

Congrats, you’ve removed the head without doing any damage or inflaming it! 99% of the time it won’t even bleed or need to scab over. Splash your face a few times with cold water to close the pores, pat dry and medicate it with a benzoyl peroxide cream (my favorite is Proactiv Advanced Blemish Treatment because it doesn’t irritate the skin).

Note: If it wasn’t a whitehead to begin with but a cystic pimple deep underneath the surface, you shouldn’t be squeezing it anyway because it’s not offensive to anyone. Just cover it up until it becomes a whitehead. If you want to accelerate the process, try this trick but if after a few times it’s still not a whitehead, walk away and visit your dermatologist! Please don’t try to squeeze it. Let me be a cautionary tale for you… I have a couple scars from trying to pop two pimples almost 20 years ago! How I wish I would have just walked away!

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