Read This Before You Pop A Pimple Or Squeeze A Blackhead

Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
If you’ve ever undergone extractions (you know, removing the gunk from your face) — whether you did it yourself or with the care of a pro — you know how cathartic they can be. Feeling that dirt leave your skin is a form of therapy. After a good session, you leave feeling lightweight — and, of course, zit-free.

The benefits of extractions don't stop there. “You will get much faster healing of acne lesions and blemishes with extractions,” says Neal Schultz, MD, a New York City dermatologist and host of DermTV.

But unlike in talk therapy, with your skin, there are issues that are better left untouched — some people even think you shouldn't go there at all. There are exceptions, though: “You can only extract something with pus, a whitehead, or a blackhead,” Dr. Schultz says. “If it’s just inflamed, like a cyst, there’s nothing to extract.”

So before you give your skin some tough love, see what a few of the top people in the biz have to say. Here, they'll break down everything you need to know about extractions — like when and how to do them yourself, when to see a pro, and when to leave your face alone.