Dear Derm

The Crucial Step a Derm Says You’re Probably Missing if You’re Popping Your Pimples at Home

Welcome to Dear Derm, our video series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. See All

Sitting around watching people pop pimples was, like, big thing back in 2017. But here at Well+Good, we always secretly hoped for a spinoff where dermatologists judged how real people pop their pimples at home. If you share the same dream, grab some popcorn: On this week's episode of Dear Derm, board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, is eavesdropping on some white head extractions... and laying down some essential tips for how to do them properly.

If you've been in the white head extraction game for a while, you already know there's a right and wrong way to take care of those suckers. You should always wash your hands and face beforehand, use an extraction tool (ideally a comedone extractor), and apply a pimple patch to seal the deal.

But there's one critical step that many people often skip: The post-extraction cleanup.

After you squeeze out the "puss" from the pimple, you'll want to get it off of your face ASAP. "You're left with this keratin and bacteria and skin cell build-up right outside of the pimple, and you need to wipe it away," says Dr. Gohara. She recommends doing this with a cotton swab or cotton round (... just please don't use your bacteria-laden fingers).

Then, it's time to wash your face again. "Make sure to use a high rating, gentle cleanser to make sure that the field around the pimple is sterile," she says. After that, you'll apply your pimple patch and then leave your face alone, okay?

To watch Dr. Gohara critique a few common pimple-popping techniques, make sure to check out the full video.

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