The Right Way To Squeeze A Zit

It’s the morning of a big interview, a hot date, or (gasp!) your wedding day, and there’s a giant, throbbing beast on your face: a zit. Now what? We’ve heard time and time again not to pick at pimples, but desperate times call for desperate measures. So we got some tips from a pro celebrity esthetician, Renée Rouleau, on how to remove pimples the right way.

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1. The best time to remove pimples is right after a shower because your skin temperature is higher than normal. The heat softens hardened oil within the pores making it easier to extract a zit. After showering, apply a thin coat of heavy moisturizer to the affected area. This will create a temporary seal, trapping the heat in the skin.

2. Next, cover the area with cellophane/plastic wrap and apply two hot, damp wash cloth for five minutes—the top one will help the bottom cloth retain its heat. Then remove the plastic and add a bit more moisturizer.

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3. Now for the good part: Wrap a tissue over both forefingers and gently squeeze the pimple. Don’t position your fingers too close to the spot, as this will prevent extraction—the wider your fingers, the deeper you’ll be able to go into the skin. To avoid red marks, keep re-positioning fingers and go easy. “My general rule of thumb is, three strikes and you’re out,” Renée said. “Meaning, if it doesn’t come out after three tries, stop. Otherwise, you’ll risk damaging the skin.”

4. When you’re finished, wipe an alcohol-free toner over the skin and apply a cooling gel mask, like Bio Calm Repair Masque ($49.50, Reneerouleau.com), to reduce any redness. Prone to breakouts? No problem. Use a clay-based mask instead, like Apivita Express Beauty Mask With Green Clay ($30, Sephora.com), to purify the pores.

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We know hacking away at zits seems like a good idea, but you’ll almost always come to regret it. Use these tips to make sure your skin is healthy and clean-looking. Do you have any safe, zit-zapping techniques?

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