Leaving pimples "alone" is good advice for some spots (inflamed, deep, painful) - but, if you know HOW to pop a pimple, and when, you can do so with great results. This page will show you exactly how to do it!
It may be a natural instinct to squeeze a pimple - but attempt to pop a pimple when it's not ready and it will become angry and aggravated, and stick around a lot longer as it tries to heal! Ugh.
Sometimes they can turn into a scab, and this is what causes scarring...
An over-zealous squeeze will break the skin and cause more inflammation.
BUT squeezing can work for surface-type pimples - the 'whiteheads' that don't have a lot of inflammation.
Any deep, inflamed pimples or cysts should never be squeezed. For these, try a different approach.
Sometimes you might get a pimple that doesn't have a lot of inflammation, which is normally a blockage from the surface (eg. from not cleansing thoroughly). These pimples are generally ok to be squeezed early.
Preparation is key!
Using a Needle
In professional extractions a sterile needle is often used to carefully break the surface of skin, allowing pus to be removed easier and avoiding damage to the skin's surface - which is what causes scarring.
The most important thing here is ensuring you only break the VERY TOP layer of skin.
There should be no blood or pain whatsoever, in fact you really should feel nothing but a mild scratching.
The important thing to remember when popping a pimple is the DOWNWARDS pressure - you are trying to create pressure from the bottom so the 'contents' can be forced out the top.
Squeeze gently until no more pus comes out.
Do not continue to squeeze as this will just produce blood, and you DEFINITELY want to stop there. Squeezing beyond this point is what leads to bruises and possibly long term scarring.
Just as important as popping it with the right technique, is what to do after. This is the difference between a healed spot and a nasty scar:
If the spot is dry over the next day or two, keep rubbing in a bit of Vaseline to aid healing. This will also help concealer sit on it easier without flaking.
Now you know how to pop a pimple like a pro. Please remember again to not be tempted into squeezing a pimple as soon as it shows up.
REMEMBER: it looks better to have a naturally occurring pimple on your face than a raging, angry, recently-squeezed spot!