Whiteheads pop up when pores get clogged with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. It's tempting to squeeze and pick at your whiteheads, but that's a ticket to bleeding, scarring and even an infection. If you just can't wait for the bump to go away on its own, lancing is a better idea. To lance, insert a sterilized needle into the whitehead. This drains the sebum and other fluid and allows the skin to heal more quickly.
Dip a cloth in rubbing alcohol and use it to sterilize a sewing needle.
Apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the whitehead with a cotton swab. This sanitizes the skin, killing germs and bacteria that can cause infection.
Stand in front of a well-lit mirror, then hold the needle parallel to the whitehead.
Slide the needle carefully into the white tip of the pimple, then push it through to the other end.
Lift the needle up slowly to pull away the tip of the whitehead. Allow the sebum and other fluid to drain.
Moisten a cloth with a benzoyl-peroxide solution, then dab the lanced whitehead gently. This disinfects the broken skin.
Smooth a bit of antibacterial cream over the drained whitehead, then cover it up with a small, round bandage. This will soak up any remaining fluid and protect the skin from infection.
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- If you're not comfortable draining a whitehead yourself, a dermatologist may be able to do it for you.
- Lance whiteheads at night before bedtime so your skin has time to heal.
- Cleanse your skin with products containing salicylic acid to encourage skin-cell turnover and clear acne.
- Do not try to drain a pimple if you have shaky hands or tremors.
- Avoid lancing or popping zits just above your nose and around the inside corner of your eyebrows. Doing so can spread infection to the sinus cavities or brain.
- Don't squeeze a whitehead with your fingers. They're not sterile and can force blockages deeper into pores, causing cystic acne.
Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.