Taking a look in the mirror can be a gamble. Can you spot the bump on your face? Or better yet, can others spot the bump on your face? Without thinking, and in a moment of desperation, you follow your instincts and decide to squeeze the bump in the hopes of it clearing up. However, experts agree that when it comes to most bumps and blemishes on the skin, a hands-off approach is best.
“Popping anything causes your skin to physically break apart, making it more susceptible to infection and an even bigger problem than what was originally there in the first place,” said Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City.
These are eight skin bumps you should definitely steer clear of popping, picking or poking:
8. Ingrown Hairs
These troubling bumps can be extremely frustrating, but you should avoid picking at the bumps along your bikini line. “Ingrown hairs occur when the hair shaft becomes trapped beneath the skin’s surface,” said Joel Schlessinger, M.D. board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisor. “The red bumps that follow are often itchy and inflamed, but it’s never a good idea to use tweezers or manual force to pluck them.”
By squeezing the bumps, you will only cause inflammation and make the irritation much worse. Instead, apply hydrocortisone, which reduces redness, itchiness, and irritation, and wash the affected area with an exfoliating cleanser to help the hair from the bump reach the skin’s surface.
7. Cold Sores
Unless you’re looking to spread cold sores, you should opt to leave them be and let them go away on their own. “Picking at cold sores could very easily lead to the formation of another sore, and popping them releases a blister-like fluid that contains the same virus and can easily spread to other areas,” said Schlessinger.
Small cold sores can heal on their own with the help of OTC treatments. But if you notice that cold sores are frequently popping up or spreading to larger areas, Schlessinger says you should see a doctor. Also, avoid kissing anyone until the cold sore has died down to help avoid spreading it.