Pinterest tag What To Do After Popping a Pimple | Rael
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Close up of a woman washing her face after popping a pimple.

What To Do After Popping a Pimple

Most of us just can’t seem to help ourselves. We wake up to a shining symbol of our hormones planted directly in the middle of our foreheads, and we can’t leave it alone. We try to ignore it, cover it, or avoid it, but eventually, we cave.

Once you pop a pimple, you can feel even worse about the condition of your skin than you did before you squeezed, prodded, and picked. Normally, you’ll be left with a swollen red lump that lets everyone know what happened. 

Even after the swelling subsides, you can be left with a scab or a dark area of hyperpigmentation that takes months to go away. Don’t freak out; you’ve got options. Let’s talk about what causes pimples, what happens when you pop them, and what to do once you squeeze them. 

What Causes Pimples

You thought the madness was over once you outgrew braces and bad haircuts, but here you are. Pimples can be caused by numerous different external stressors and some internal triggers, like hormones and stress. 


Your skin and how it behaves have a lot to do with your family history. If one or both of your parents had acne, you’d have a higher chance of developing it at some point during your life. 

This doesn’t mean that you’re locked into bad skin or a life of battling bumps; it just means the conditions are right for you to develop acne, and you may have to be more proactive about your skincare. 

Genetic factors also determine pore size, and people with larger pores tend to develop acne more frequently than people with smaller pores. 


Hormone changes happen day to day, with major hormone shifts happening during certain periods of your life. Changing from childhood to adulthood is famous for hormones that cause pimples, but going through menopause can make your skin equally blemish-prone. 

Stress hormones, like cortisol, can also increase the number of blemishes you develop. Cortisol causes your skin to produce more sebum, which can clog your pores and create a breakout. 

Bad Skin Care

Sometimes, the products we use on our skin can cause a breakout. If you use a product for anti-aging or acne with glycolic or salicylic acid, it can cause your skin to purge. This means the skin cells begin to turn over faster, and dead skin cells can get trapped in your pores to create a blemish. 

Not having a good skincare routine can also cause your skin to break out. If you leave your makeup on overnight, for instance, you can wake up with a bump. 

Popping Pimples

Anytime you squeeze a pimple, you’re at risk of developing a new one. Popping a pimple can spread germs and irritate your skin, making an already noticeable situation even more noticeable. 

What Happens When You Pop a Pimple?

When you pop a pimple, it sets off a chain reaction of events in your skin that leave the area looking worse and even damaged. It may give you a momentary feeling of satisfaction that you somehow fixed your little pimple problem, but it only makes it worse. 

Spreading Germs

When you use your fingers to pop a pimple, dirt, and grime from your fingers and your nails have a chance to relocate to your skin, which can clog your pores and create even more bumps. If you continue to mess with your skin after you’ve popped the pimple, you can infect the open pore and end up with an even bigger bump. 

You Never Get It All

No matter how hard you try to dig and squeeze, you’ll never get all the pus, sebum, and dirt out of the clogged pore. The top of the pimple that is white and “squeezable” is just the portion you can see. They are deeper in the pore, but it’s impossible to dig out. 

The remaining dirt and oil have a better chance of reforming now that you’ve popped the pimple and opened the pore so that more dirt and oil can fill it again. 

It Leaves a Mark

There is literally no way to pop a pimple without it leaving a mark. When you squeeze your skin, your cells recognize that as a threat, which means it creates an inflammatory response, sending blood and fluid to the area to protect it. 

As soon as you pop a pimple, it will be swollen and red. This swelling will likely subside within an hour, but depending on how hard you went while popping, you could be left with a scab that takes days to heal. 

After the skin heals, it’s not unusual to be left with a red or dark brown colored spot—kind of like a little tattoo to remind you of your bad skincare behavior. At Rael, we think you should give yourself a break and grab a remedy that helps get rid of that unwanted mark sooner rather than later. 

What To Do After Popping a Pimple

We can all work on not picking at our skin, but popping a pimple from time to time is bound to happen. When it does, be prepared to do a little damage control and give your skin a fighting chance to heal quickly, without a trace of the pimple (or the popping).

Immediately Cleanse the Skin

Once you’ve popped, grab a cleanser and thoroughly cleanse your skin. If you’ve spread germs to other areas of your face, this should help prevent you from developing more bumps. You’ll also clear any dirt and oil from the pore that was clogged, giving it a better chance of keeping clear and not reforming into another bump. 

Use a Toner

A toner is an ideal way to clean deeply, tighten pores, and hydrate your skin. Rael’s Daily Zen Balancing Toner is an alcohol-free formula designed to restore your skin to its natural pH levels and ensure it stays hydrated. 

Our toner contains vitamin B5 and Chinaberry extract to soothe the skin and help encourage elasticity. This is especially helpful for skin that is damaged from picking and popping. The best part, our toner won’t dry the skin and leave it feeling uncomfortable. 

Cover With a Pimple Sticker

Pimple stickers are tiny patches you place over pimples to help them disappear in a matter of hours. They’re excellent for using on pimples you can’t seem to leave alone, and they can help keep your fingers from popping and squeezing. 

They’re also handy if you do pop a pimple. Cover the affected area with a pimple patch and let the hydrocolloid technology help heal the area while keeping it hydrated and removing any remaining dirt and oil that might still be hanging out deep within the pore. 

Bonus, you won’t be able to mess with the bump while you’re wearing the patch, which means your skin gets a chance to heal properly.  

Reduce Spots

Even after any scabs disappear, you can be left with a mark that can take months to fade. Speed up the process with a dark spot corrector, like Rael’s Microcrystal Dark Spot Cover. Our dark spot covers work just like our pimple patches but includes ingredients to help fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation. 

Niacinamide, Tranexamic acid, and broccoli extract help soothe skin, keep it hydrated, and fade dark spots faster than they fade on their own. Our dark spot covers are clear, so you won’t notice them when they’re on your skin.  

Get Better Skin Care

Seriously, stop the problems before they start. A better skincare routine with cleaner products that are gentle on your skin can help you avoid breakouts before they start. Rael’s skincare is formulated with K Beauty technology that helps keep your skin hydrated and deeply nourished. 

Our products are gentle on your skin, helping it stay balanced so that you can be gentle on it, too. 

Get Rael

Popping pimples happen. It’s seriously unavoidable unless you just have some amazing willpower. When you pop a pimple, remember you could be causing a blemish to form. Instead of creating a big problem out of a small bump, look to Rael for skincare solutions that actually work. 

Our pimple patches keep your blemishes safe from your fingers and help eliminate them in a matter of hours, so you can quit obsessing over them and obsess over your new favorite podcast. With Rael, you can get control of your skin, no matter what time of the month it is or what you find on your forehead when you wake up. 


Adult acne | 

Wound care: fact and fiction about hydrocolloid dressings | PubMed 

Niacinamide | Medline Plus

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