It may be Emmy’s season, but there is one unexpected form of entertainment that will not be winning any awards this year.

The entire internet seems to be captivated by videos of pimple poppers. If you search for this stomach-turning phrase on TikTok or YouTube, you will quickly be whisked down a rabbit hole of oddly satisfying puss extractions and blackhead removal procedures.

What makes watching a foot-long snake of lime green pus emerge from someone’s cheek so entertaining? 

For many of us, these videos inspire an interest in pimple poppers and other extraction devices. We want to see what is living under our own skin and experience that nasty form of catharsis for ourselves. But do these simple devices really deliver?

Before you invest in a pimple vacuum, read on to learn a little bit more about the extraction tools you’ve seen online. 

What Happens When You Pop a Pimple?

Your face is covered in tiny holes called pores. If you get up close and personal with the mirror, you can see them. The market is full of products intended to reduce the size of the pores on your face, but why?

Pores are holes, and those holes provide access to bacteria, which can get under your skin, causing a pimple. Pimples can also be caused by the excessive production of a substance called sebum, which we need for healthy skin. Pores can also fill with dead skin cells or even dirt, leading to irritation and pus. 

When you pop a pimple, you are putting pressure on your pore. Sometimes you may get lucky and see the majestic pus, dirt, or sebum rise to the surface like a dolphin cresting a wave. Other times, you’re pushing that nasty debris deeper into your skin and spreading it around. 

If you’re interested in the life cycle of the pimple, look here for more.

There’s no way to know if you’re spreading dirt and bacteria around or releasing it from its resting place within your pores. That’s why when you pop one pimple, you’ll often see two or three appear in its place. You might also cause nodules or cysts to form, which are far less attractive than the friendly Whitehead that you were so quick to squeeze. 

Popping pimples, even when satisfying, does damage to your skin. Do enough damage or the wrong kind, and you can cause scarring or dark marks to appear. Before you pop that pimple, take a second to consider whether or not you’d really prefer a scar!

All in all, most dermatologists agree: leave that pimple alone! If you’re dying to try some pimple popping at home, however, you should go about it the right way. 

At Home Pimple Poppers

No matter what your dermatologist says, the call to pop a pimple is hard to ignore. If you are going to use a pimple extraction device, make sure to do it when the pimple is the most superficial. That will do the least amount of damage to your skin. 

Blackhead Removal Kits

Blackheads are caused by a buildup of dirt and dead skin in the pores. When we remove blackheads, we are removing that buildup and clearing the pore of the debris. They are called “blackheads,” not because of the dirt, but because of a surface pigment called melanin. 

Most blackhead removal tools come in kits. It’s like a tiny collection of attractive medieval torture devices. Each one has a different function in the removal of blackheads or whiteheads

The first is the lancet. They have a sharp point and an extraction tool. First, use the sharp point to “pop” the blackhead, then use the extractor to put pressure on the skin around it to remove it.

A spoon extractor is a popular tool on social media. It looks like a little spoon with a hole in the middle and is used to put pressure on the area around a blocked pore. Ideally, this will bring dirt, sebum, and dead skin to the surface. 

Your kit might also contain a variety of “loop” tools. They come in different sizes and angles and are intended to perfectly fit around your blackhead. Ideally, pushing down with this tool will cause the dead cells to rise to the surface like a little worm of oily nastiness. 


Pimple removal on hard mode might require a special tweezer. They are tiny curved and pointed tools that would look right at home in your dentist’s office.

The curves should be pressed down around the pimple, and then squeezed to remove the most stubborn blackheads. Overall, these are safer to use than your fingers, as they are less likely to introduce new bacteria into your pores. 

The best advice for using blackhead tweezers is not to force it. If the blackhead doesn’t seem like it wants to come out, there’s a reason. Try again later or leave it be. 

Pimple Vacuum Tools

Pimple vacuums are fun tools to use after you have already steamed your face to open up your pores. They use suction to yank the dirt and sebum out of the pores, which can make you feel clean and refreshed. 

It’s important to always use your vacuum tool on the lowest setting first. The suction can get pretty intense, and if you go too hard too fast, you can end up with a nasty facial bruise. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a blackhead than a massive bruise on my face! 

To Pop or Not to Pop?

Your dermatologist will tell you not to use pimple poppers. Every pimple is like a little infection and needs time to heal and clear up. Popping pimples can easily cause more problems by spreading dirt and debris around, leading to more zits. 

If the siren song is strong, however, make sure you keep your tools clean and use them according to the directions. Consider gently steaming your pores open first. A nice face mask is a gentle way to be kind to your skin!

Are you addicted to beauty? If you liked this post, there are plenty more beauty tips on the blog. Check them out while you’re here!