Apologies if you’re eating, but what is it about spots that just calls out to be picked or popped?
Whether you’re 13 or 31, the sight of an unwelcome whitehead or blackhead has our fingers twitching and itching to have a go at the pesky pimple.
We know we should be careful with what and how we squeeze – or else face the risk of infection and scarring.
Still, there are no shortage of pimple-popping tutorials on the internet which encourage us to get hands-on with our skin complaints.
But some should DEFINITELY be left alone.
Here are the five types of spot you should never squeeze, or play with, or pop.
1. Ingrown hairs
This is a difficult one, as an ingrown hair can be very tempting to pick or squeeze. But just leave it alone.
"It simply creates trauma without addressing or releasing the ingrown, leading to inflammation and scarring," dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook tells Body + Soul .
If the hair is embedded deeply, then a dermatologist may need to express and release the ingrown with a sterile needle.
You just keep your hands to yourself.
2. Cold sores
These nasties aren’t like your humble spot. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus-1 and, as such, are HIGHLY contagious.
Even if you use a tissue, a cold sore can spread.
Dr Cook says you can tell a cold sore from a regular pimple by the "tingling sensation which usually accompanies a cold sore.
"Before they come to the surface, they look like groups of little clear fluid-filled blisters, whereas pimples tend to be red or yellow."
These are the tiny white bumps you may have seen crop up on your face from time to time, which, frustratingly, refuse to be squeezed or popped.
Which should be a sure sign to leave them alone.
Dr Cook adds: "They don’t have an opening on the skin, as they are encased like a cyst.”
Instead, you’ll have to get a professional armed with a fine needle to break the surface and pop the cyst out.
Spots, pimples and skin complaints
4. Sandpaper/chicken skin
This is a condition you may have very well had as a child, and people tend to grow out of it.
Also known as keratosis pilaris, it’s a very common, harmless condition where small bumps appear on your skin, according to the NHS .
"The best treatment is using a cream that has cell exfoliating properties, or keratin dissolving ingredients like salicylic acid and lactic acid. Prescriptive Vitamin A at night followed by a moisturiser can also assist," Dr Cook says.
5. Cystic acne
The spots you get if you’re affected by cystic acne should also be given a wide berth, as they’re embedded so deeply, you risk scarring by trying to squeeze them yourself.
In this instance, you should seek advice from e dermatologist.
So which type of spots can I pick or squeeze?
Blackheads and whiteheads are game – but they need to be right on the surface of the skin, and you should always use a tissue. "
A salicylic acid or lactic acid can alternatively dissolve them if you’re not game," Dr Cook advises.
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