Sandra Lee – the woman behind the Dr Pimple Popper fame, has built an empire on bursting pimples, extracting blackheads and emptying cysts of their pus-filled innards.
Is it disgusting? Absolutely. But avid fans of the rock star dermatologist know the oddly relaxing and therapeutic appeal that is her Instagram and Youtube channel, so much so that she’s amassed 2.8 million Instagram fans, over four million Youtube subscribers and a television deal with US network TLC.
And now she’s shared her technique for DIY pimple popping, because even though we know we shouldn’t be doing it, sometimes the temptation is just too damn strong.
Speaking to Glamour ahead of the UK premiere of her show, Dr Pimple Popper shared her golden rules for DIY extractions.
Fans of Dr Pimple Popper rejoice, this is the ‘blackhead field of dreams’ and it’s exactly what it sounds like.
1. No all spots can be popped.
Now Sandra is very clear that she doesn’t actually recommend squeezing your own zits in the comfort of your bedroom or bathroom mirror, she just knows you do it anyway.
“As a dermatologist, I actually don’t recommend popping anything at all at home,” she tells Glamour before sharing her tips on avoiding scarring and further inflaming the skin.
That being said, only pop the pimples that have come up to the skin and have a fully formed head. Generally this will look like a clearly identifiable white head and feel sore from the pressure building underneath.
“The more superficial, the better, as you’ll cause less trauma to the skin and it’s less likely to scar,” says Sandra.
However, cysts, milia and moles are strict no-go zones and should only be treated by professionals. Mitts off, you have been warned.
2. But you can speed up the process.
If you’ve got one of those pesky under the skin spots that feel painful but just isn’t coming to a head, Sandra recommends a tip to quicken things – a hot compress.
You can easily make one yourself by running a flannel or muslin cloth under hot water before wringing out the excess and applying it to the pimple.
“Just place it on the area for a few seconds a few times a day and be patient,” she says.
3. Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene.
This step is super important as it prevents the bacteria from spreading and infecting other pores.
Wash your hands before touching your face and sterilise any extractors or tools with rubbing alcohol before using them. Sandra also recommends cleansing the skin with an antiseptic cream or salicyclic acid after you’ve popped the spot too. A product like Dermalogica’s Clear Start Breakout Clearning All Over Toner ($25.52) or The Orindary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Solution ($9.30) will do the trick.
“I’d even recommend showering beforehand, not just from a hygiene perspective, but also to open up the pores and soften the skin,” she says.
4. Less is more.
According to Sandra, this is the rule people consistently break, but she has a rule to combat over-squeezing. Instead, the dermatologist says you should only ever squeeze for 30 seconds and if it hasn’t popped, then it probably means it’s not ready.
“Set an alarm on your phone to time yourself – pimple popping is the ultimate time warp and people often don’t realise just how long they’re digging around in one spot,” she tells Glamour.
“If you really can’t stop yourself and you keep going back for more, even after the 30 second deadline, put a band aid on it.”
Are you for or against squeezing pimples and do you have a special technique we need to know about? Tell us in a comment.