Ah, pimples. One minute they’re staring back at you in the mirror, and the next, there is blood oozing out of them. Just kidding—pimples don’t spontaneously start bleeding for no reason.
Several things can cause bleeding pimples. Sometimes it’s due to vigorous face washing or using scrubs that are too abrasive on the skin, which can irritate the pimple and make it bleed. The most common culprit, though: pimple popping.
Although we know that messing with pimples is on the definitely-don’t-do list when it comes to taking care of our skin, we’re humans, and sometimes we can’t resist.
So, if you overdid it with the pimple picking and popping and you’ve got a blood pimple on your hands (er, face), don’t be alarmed. Below, there’s a dermatologist-recommended five-step action plan to make a pimple stop bleeding, stat.
How to make a pimple stop bleeding
1. Put pressure on the bleeding pimple
“Hold direct pressure on the spot for one to two minutes without lifting your finger to check on it,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles. It’s best to use a tissue or a clean face cloth to do this because of germs. This should stop the bleeding in most cases.
2. Ice the blood pimple
If you’ve applied pressure on the bleeding pimple for a couple of minutes and it still hasn’t stopped bleeding, then icing it is your next course of action. “Ice causes your blood vessels to constrict and slow bleeding,” says Emmanuel Loucas, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
3. Apply antibiotic ointment
Once the bleeding has stopped, Dr. Shainhouse recommends applying a small dab of antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin on the pimple. The ointment will help prevent scarring as well as infection from any bacteria on your fingers and nails.
4. Cover it with a bandage
Dr. Loucas recommends taking it a step further and covering the pimple with a bandage for two reasons. One, the dressing will prevent you from touching it and further aggravating it. And two, it will help the ointment do its job and heal the spot quicker.
Rocking a bandage on your face, however, is not ideal. Hello, you’ve got important places to be and people to see. There’s an easy solution: the Mighty Patch Invisible+ daytime acne patch. Just place it over the pimple and no one will be the wiser.
5. See a pro if the pimple bleeding continues
Steps 1-4 should have you covered in most pimple-bleeding emergencies. However, if the bleeding doesn’t stop or stops for a bit and then starts up again, then it’s best to book an appointment with a dermatologist because it may not be just a pimple. “There are types of skin cancer that can present as a pimple-like lesion,” Dr. Loucas says.
How to pop a pimple, if you must
The temptation to pop a pimple will win at times. So if you must do it, ensure you do it properly. Firstly, Dr. Loucas recommends not doing it with your fingernails. “Fingernails can cause damage to the surrounding skin and can cut your skin worse,” he says. Instead, he suggests doing it with a sterile lancet, which you can find at most drugstores. Then, gently apply pressure with Q-tips or your fingers.
Or, better yet, avoid the pimple popping all together and apply a Mighty Patch to do the work for you. Our hydrocolloid acne patches absorb all the impurities trapped inside the pimple—in a matter of hours, no less—and they prevent you from picking the pimple in the first place. In other words, no more blood pimples.
Your skin will be looking mighty fine in no time, and you can go back to living your best life. Not to toot our own horn, but (toot! toot!) it’s been referred to as a “miracle product.”