Should you squeeze spots?

It's the age old beauty question: should you squeeze spots or leave them to heal naturally? Here we answer that question, and provide tips for squeezing methods (when you just can't resist) that are least likely to spread infections or cause scarring. Remember, your GP can offer you treatment options for persistent acne.

To squeeze or not to squeeze?

Spots are annoying - there's no two ways about it. And the chances are you'll want to get rid of a spot as soon as possible. However, is squeezing the right way to go about this or not?

Squeezing can lead to the spread of bacteria, which may trigger a breakout in the skin surrounding the spot. It may also cause skin damage and even scarring.

However in some circumstances, squeezing a spot may shorten its lifespan and reduce swelling. As a rough guide on whether to squeeze or not:

  • Red, inflamed spots - Leave them alone. Even if you can feel pus beneath the surface, don't try to squeeze it out unless the spot develops a head.
  • Spots with a green head - Squeezing the pus out can shorten the healing time.

How to squeeze spots - the right way!

Start by cleaning the area with an antibacterial face wash, preferably one that is specifically designed for acne prone skin.

Cover the index finger of both your hands with a couple of layers of tissue (fold the tissue in half to double it up).

Using the tissue-coated fingers, gently squeeze the area around the spot. Gentle, repetitive motions are usually most effective.

If the spot doesn't burst, don't force it - it's not ready. And never squeeze spots so hard that you leave marks on your skin.

Once the pus is removed, clean the area again with an antibacterial facewash. Then apply a dab of spot gel or cream to the area. If bleeding occurs, place a dot of tissue on top until it ceases.

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