Q: Why can’t I just pop a pimple?
A: Lots of teens (and most adults, too) have the same urge: pop that date breaker! The problem is that when most pimples are popped, they ooze a little bit of pus (white cells that eat up bacteria), and more of it gets pushed below the skin. Pus is pretty inflammatory, and if it gets into the oil gland that lives at the base of a hair follicle, oil gets released below the skin, causing further inflammation. If enough oil gets released, you can wind up with a tract, or highway, connecting one hair follicle and oil gland structure to the next, causing your skin to cave in a bit, making a pizza face and eventually causing scarring.
Michael F. Roizen, MD, is Professor of Internal Medicine and Anesthesiology, Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. He has co-founded 12 companies, including the popular websites RealAge.com and YOUBeauty.com.
Mehmet C. Oz, MD, is Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University and director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital. His TV show—The Dr. Oz Show— recently won its third Emmy, with Dr. Oz his second as the best daytime talk show host.