Teen popping pimples

How To Keep Your Teen From Popping Pimples…And Why You Should!

Most parents can understand why pimples drive teens crazy. We’ve been there. Whether it’s school picture day, a college interview, or the senior prom, we’ve all had a major life moment threatened by a giant pimple jutting from our chin. At times like this, the impulse to pop a zit can feel impossible to resist.

But you need to help them resist squeezing, popping, scratching, or otherwise messing with a pimple. While satisfying in the short-term, popping a pimple can ultimately make skin look worse and cause unintended medical issues. To learn more about why it’s best to avoid popping pimples, see our article, “Popping Pimples Is A Bad Idea. Here’s Why.” And here are’s top tips for helping your teen resist the urge to pop a pimple:

  • Head to the freezer
    Ice feels good on angry pimples and can help reduce inflammation in blemishes, particularly with larger and more painful nodules or cysts. Wrap a small amount of ice in a paper towel and apply to the pimple for only 5 to 10 minutes to avoid damaging the skin tissue. After a 10-minute break, you can repeat the entire process 1 or 2 more times.1,2  
  • Lower your teen’s stress level
    Stress can cause acne to flare. Help your teen identify the causes of their stress (maybe it’s their parent telling them not to pick at their pimples?) and work through ways to mitigate it. Deep breathing can sometimes provide immediate relief. And so can changing the subject or getting your teen to focus on something other than the source of the stress.3,4
  • Take their acne seriously
    Although some pimples will disappear on their own, that isn’t always the case. Leaving acne untreated can cause it to get worse. When acne becomes severe, it is more likely to leave permanent scars. Acne has been linked to low self-esteem, so if your teen is worried about their pimples, take the time to listen and come up with a plan.3
  • Make an appointment with a Board-certified dermatologist
    Consider making an appointment with a Board-certified dermatologist to help treat your teen’s acne. Dermatologists are trained to pop pimples without causing skin damage. They can also talk to your teen about how to take care of their skin and prevent future breakouts.1,2

Although they might seem resistant to your suggestions today, keep up the antipopping work. Your teen will thank you in the long run.


1. American Association of Dermatology. Pimple popping: why only a dermatologist should do it. Accessed: June 28, 2022.

2. American Academy of Dermatology. How to treat deep, painful pimples. Accessed June 30, 2022.

3. American Academy of Dermatology. 5 ways to help your teenager survive acne. Accessed June 30, 2022.

4. Sutaria AH, Masood S, Schlessinger J. Acne Vulgaris. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; August 9, 2021