Friday, September 23, 2011

How To Treat A Bleeding Popped Pimple To Avoid Scarring or Staining

I don't advocate popping your pimples, but I know some of us can't help ourselves sometimes.  Is it bleeding? If so, you've broken the skin and need to handle it if you want your skin to heal properly.  These tips will minimize those unpleasant reminders left behind from blemishes of the past and keep your skin looking better as it heals. 

If your skin has makeup on it, you will need to clean the area as gently as possible.  Wash your face with tepid water and a mild cleanser like Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash or Olay Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin, which remove makeup better than Cetaphil without aggravating problem skin.  Double the amount of time you would normally spend rinsing your face to avoid irritation and to flush the wound.  If desired, hold a damp cotton pad over the bleeding area once finished to ensure the area has been sufficiently cleansed.  Please... skip the astringents.

If still bleeding, you will want to use a clean tissue to gently blot the area until it stops excreting any fluid.  Do not apply pressure to hasten the process, just dab away the liquid at the surface until it clots.  (This can take an annoyingly long time if it's technically a head wound.)

Using a clean Q-tip, apply an antibacterial ointment only to the broken skin.  This may sound obsessive, but I suggest using a magnifying mirror for accuracy.  While a first aid cream will promote healing of the excoriation, you still do not want an occlusive product covering pores that could potentially get clogged nearby. After applying the ointment precisely to the area, blot away any excess with a clean tissue to keep it from traveling to the surrounding skin which is usually vulnerable to future breakouts already. 

Antibiotic ointments vary, and not all are appropriate for the face.  Neosporin should not be used because it contain neomycin, a skin sensitizing ingredient that can cause contact dermatitis and may increase your body's immune response to the injury.  This is a big problem if you're prone to hyperpigmentation.

I suggest using Polysporin. Bacitracin is another option.

Do not ice the area, as this is shocking to the nerves and may cause undesirable complications.  Extreme heat is equally problematically, so use lukewarm water when cleansing and avoid steam.  (It is a total myth that either of these can benefit acne at all.)

During the day, women may struggle with makeup application after popping a pimple that hasn't yet healed.  Makeup does not adhere to broken skin, so check out my post on how to fix this by clicking on the link Help! My Concealer Won't stick! to learn my emergency-only trick for those special events when a popped pimple must be concealed.  However, on a daily basis, you should be gentle with the area as it heals, being sure to use disposable cotton swabs and sponges to apply the least amount of makeup to the area.  Irritation will cause the area to swell and redden, making it more obvious.  Using the least amount of product possible on the excoriation will reduce the chance of contaminating your cosmetics or interfering with the healing process.

Send any questions to  And--of course--comment below!

This blog should never substitute the advice of a medical professional.  It is for educational purposes only.

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  1. I have to say I'm starting to fall in love with your blog! Every post you've written has been so helpful and packed with great information that is hard to get else where :) Thank you for the wonderful blog, I'm a huge fan now!

  2. Hello Helen,

    That is so sweet! Thank you so much for your support! =)


  3. i'm so young but i want to take care of myhat problem
    face, because my face have acne so , can u give me advice of t

  4. Hi!
    I have tried to pop a white acne under my nose but failed, so now it's bleeding and white stuff is coming out. But how come the acne is still present and bumpy? How should I treat it to avoid having a scar? Thanks !

    1. Let it heal on its own. If it's still there, you can either apply some antibiotic ointment like Polysporin to stop the bleeding or you can dab a small amount of a Benzoyl Peroxide spot treatment on it to treat the pimple. Scarring will not be permanent though. My best advice is to treat pimples minimally, use a gentle skin care daily to keep breakouts from becoming irritated, and protecting skin from the sun to avoid hyperpigmentation. If darkness occurs once the pimple has healed, a lightening treatment can be used to accelerate the fading process.

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