Should You Squeeze Blackhead, Pimple or Zit?
“Oh boy, another blackhead prominently placed on my cheek bone. I so want to squeeze it out of my skin but I have heard that I should not squeeze blackhead. “To squeeze or not to squeeze.” That is the question, lol.
With all seriousness this has been a controversial point of discussion for a long time. Is a blackhead like a whitehead or a zit or is it different because it is true that you should never squeeze a zit. So lets take a look at the pros and cons of squeezing blackheads.
Before we get started on that topic I would like to differentiate between a blackhead, whitehead, pimple and a zit. Some people may group one or more of those together but it would be well for us to look physiologically at them so we understand a little bit more about why you should squeeze blackheads or not.
This is also known as an open comedone, meaning a clogged pore or hair follicle that is open to the outside air. A blackhead does not have the inflammation that a pimple or zit may have so it is not as dangerous for spreading since it lacks the bacteria that make pimples and zits so dangerous for squeezing amongst other things. The blackhead is composed of sebum (the natural body oil that is used for lubrication of the skin and hairs) and dead skin cells or keratin, the protein that makes skin protective to the outside environment. When there is an excess of sebum it joins with the skin cells and clogs the follicle. If the follicle has any exposure to the air, the sebum will oxidize and turn dark, hence the blackhead.
A whitehead or a closed comedone is comprised of the same elements as a blackhead except there is a layer of skin over the top of the follicle, preventing the sebum to be oxidized by the outside air. The whitehead, like the blackhead, typically lacks the presence of the bacteria p. acnes, which is responsible for the inflammation that becomes so unsightly.
This is such a general term and can refer to a whitehead or a zit. I like to use this in reference to the whitehead that is not inflamed. It can also be used for skin conditions like acne cosmetica, which is when a chemical causing what appears to be acne irritates the skin. There are other conditions as well that cause pimples but they are not the kind where sebum and/or bacteria are present.
This is a hideous word and scares anyone who is familiar with the horrid presence of a zit. I want to classify the zit as a whitehead that is large and can even appear yellowish and typically has a reddish tint around the white center showing an inflammation. The zit is quite a bit different than the blackhead.
First there are Propionibacterium acnes present, the bacteria that eat the sebum and colonize in the hair follicle. Their presence stimulates an immune system response that leads to an inflammation. The whitehead from the skin is full of pus, which is constituted of sebum, dead skin cells, white blood cells and the debris of dead and dying bacteria. The depth of the zit is considerably more than a blackhead. Squeezing a zit can force the pus to other regions under the skin, spreading the infection, not to mention having the pus on the surface of the skin, which can lead to a spreading of the acne. There can also be lifelong scars left on the skin from this kind of zit squeezing activity.
To squeeze or not to squeeze blackhead
Unlike the zit the blackhead is a lot more stable but nonetheless if you are not careful your squeezing can damage the skin and cause more problems than it was worth. Products like blackhead extractors that use suction can cause similar problems and that goes for pore strips as well.
It would be hard for me to ever recommend the squeezing of any type of pimple because of what I know. There are people that think there is a proper way to squeeze blackheads but the risks are always going to be there. Wouldn’t it be better to learn how to take care of our bodies and do our part to eliminate the conditions that favor excessive sebum production?
In conclusion I think it is dangerous to squeeze blackhead and further thought, time and attention should be turned to a lifestyle that is known to prevent skin conditions.