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Is picking my pimples really bad for my skin?

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Dermatology
There is a name for the type of acne that occurs from constant picking at the lesions. It is called acne excoriee. A number of people feel that their skin must always feel smooth at any cost. They feel that if they could just get the contents of the pimple out, the pimple will go away and the skin will heal. Even though they see that the result is scarring and that picking does not solve the problem, the picking continues and perpetuates the acne. Actually, even as the skin heals, there can be a feeling that something hard is under the skin, and the temptation is again to pick it.

The problem is that picking makes matters only worse. No matter how much you wash your hands, bacteria still exists on your hands and under your nails and will transfer to your facial skin. Also, there is no way that you can be accurate enough in focusing on only the acne lesion without irritating the surrounding skin to some extent. This picked skin then has to heal itself and can again feel like there is a hard substance under the skin from the scab that forms, or from scarring process within the skin that is trying to recover.

Undoubtedly one of the worst consequences of acne is the scarring that is left behind. Unfortunately, the chances of scarring are only increased when lesions are picked at. The solution is to treat the acne with appropriate medications and to avoid touching the lesions at any cost. In time, as the lesions heal and fewer new pimples occur, the skin will feel naturally smoother and will look healthier as well.
100 Questions & Answers About Acne

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100 Questions & Answers About Acne

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.