Reasons to Stop Picking at Your Face - Advanced Dermatology Care
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Reasons to Stop Picking at Your Face

Acne & Acne Scars

At some point in your life, you were probably told that you shouldn’t pick at your face. If you have struggled with acne or breakouts, you have been tempted to pick, pop, or scratch your face. However, doing any of these things is counter intuitive to improving your skin’s appearance. When you are constantly touching your face, you are using your hands that have germs you can’t see with the naked eye. Picking at pimples also worsens inflammation and prolongs the healing of acne. There are microscopic germs and bacteria that live under our fingernails. When you pick at a pimple or scab you are exposing that area to bacteria that can cause infection. By touching your face, you are also prompting more acne and pimples to surface by introducing different types of bacteria. You should also stay away from picking at scabs. Scabs are the body’s natural healing process and when you pick at a scab you are interfering with your body trying to cure the wound.

Like mentioned earlier, picking at pimples can worsen inflammation. It might seem like popping a pimple will release all the puss inside; however, it doesn’t remove everything. There is still buildup being lodged deeper into your pore which causes the area to become red and inflamed. It is best to leave the pimple or acne as is and apply skin care products that suit your skin’s needs. Touching your face regularly also prolongs the healing process. The reason a scab forms is because it creates a barrier that is intended to protect the wound. If you absolutely need to pop a pimple there is a good alternative to picking and poking. You can use a hot compress and apply pressure to the pimple or zit to release some of the puss.

Lastly, poking at your pimples can cause scarring. When the skin becomes damaged, there’s always a chance some tissue will be lost. This is why you see hyper pigmented scars or pitted acne scars. Once the scar heals, they are difficult to treat and will likely stay on your skin for a long time if not permanently. The best way for your skin to heal is to allow your body to take its natural course. If you want to speed up the healing process you can always try an acne spot treatment. These products are placed on existing pimples to help dry them out and heal them quickly. They work best for smaller pimples, but if you have a really big pimple that won’t go away, you may need to see a skin specialist for help. Spot treatments are unlikely to be much help with more severe blemishes. When you feel the urge to pop a pimple, try to remember the negative effects it will have on your skin. The immediate release will not be worth the long-term scarring or the production of additional breakouts.


Advanced Dermatology Care of Southern California is a comprehensive dermatology group providing general & surgical dermatology, cosmetic enhancements and plastic surgery with two Southern California locations. Under the direction of Michael P. Tabibian, M.D., Medical Director, our collective experience aims to provide our patients innovative and highly individualized skin treatment solutions for patients of all ages and skin types.