How To Heal a Popped Pimple Scab

Heal a Pimple That You've Picked, Popped or Squeezed

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Photo: AzmanL / Getty Images

You had a pimple that was driving you crazy. So you popped it (yeah, you know you shouldn’t pop pimples but sometimes you just can’t help yourself). Now, instead of a pimple, you have an angry red sore or a dry crusty scab.

Here are some tips for how to prevent that former pimple (now nasty scab) from getting worse.

Don't Pick at Pimples

First things first, you have to allow the popped pimple to heal.

That means no more messing with it. Don’t squeeze it to see if any more will come out. Don’t pick at the scab. Let your skin start the healing process without being interrupted.

Keep the Skin Clean

If you’ve just popped a pimple, go ahead and give it a good cleansing. You can use your regular facial cleanser for this as you’re washing your face. Be gentle, though, and try not to knock off the scab that is trying to form.

You can also use a touch of witch hazel on a cotton ball or swab. Carefully dab the popped pimple with this solution a few times a day, at least until a good scab forms.

Although lots of people suggest cleaning a popped pimple with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, those can sting, and aren't as effective as witch hazel as reducing any inflammation that may occur.

Apply Ice to a Former Pimple

If you have a big, inflamed, red bump on your face, ice is the best way to soothe it.

Use an ice cube or cold pack, either wrapped in a soft cloth or paper towel and ice it down. This will help reduce the swelling and make your popped pimple feel better.

If your popped pimple already has a scab, and it's not swollen at all, icing the area won't do anything so just skip this step.

Treat Popped Pimples with Antibiotic Ointment

Treat your popped pimple like an open wound, because that's basically what it is.

Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment is your best friend. Dot a small amount directly on the popped pimple or scab. This will help speed up healing time. It also keeps the scab moist, so it won't look as dry, crackly, and obvious.

Keep a picked-at pimple covered with a small amount of ointment until it's fully healed. This can take a few days.

Also, make sure you're only covering the pimple, not the skin around it (especially if it's on your face). Non-prescription antibiotic ointment may clog your pores, so you want to keep it just in the area where it's needed.

Don't Pick at a Scabbed Pimple

It can be tempting, but don't give in. You need that scab to stay put for your pimple to heal. If you're a bona fide picker, do your best to keep your hands off of your face.  Again, keeping the scab covered with healing ointment makes it less appealing to pick it off.

Continue Using Acne Treatments.

If you're using any OTC acne products or prescription acne medications, you should continue to do so. Most acne medications have antibacterial properties which should be helpful in getting that pimple to heal.

 

Remember, if you treat your popped pimple well, it should heal within a few days. Try to be patient until this happens.

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