How to Use Microlet Lancets to Properly Pop a Zit, According to Dermatologists (And Drew Barrymore)

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we're not only dealing with the isolating effects of quarantine and social distancing, but also with the results of extended mask wear, including "maskne" (the newfound term for the breakouts caused by face coverings). And if your skin has been revolting against you more than usual—whether you're experiencing dryness, annoying pimples, or even rosacea or psoriasis flare-ups—you're not alone. Even celebrities like Drew Barrymore are sick of it.

So what's a girl to do about pesky maskne? Barrymore seems to have the solution as she pulls out her trusty go-to for popping zits—and no, it's not her fingers. She unveils a box of tiny, colorful lancets, and we are kind of shocked at just how small and unassuming her tool of choice is. "They make popping so fun," Barrymore says, as she whips out an orange lancet.

What exactly is a lancet? It's a tool with a super thin needle on one end—which is small enough to ensure no damage is done to the skin, if used correctly— that you use to pierce your pimple to relieve blockage. To use, hold the lancet parallel to the skin, and gently prick the zit in a horizontal motion, with as little pressure as possible. Whatever you do, don't poke or drag the lancet in a downward motion, since this could cause scarring. Unlike using your cumbersome, germy fingers to push, press, and prod the area of inflammation, lancets won't cause damage or trauma to the skin.

To buy: Microlet Colored Lancets, from $23 for 200;

Popping your maskne with a lancet, is not the worst idea if a visit to the dermatologist absolutely can't wait, experts say. In an office visit, your derm would use a sterilized needle—very similar to a single-use lancet—to pierce the pimple, and follow up with a comedone extractor (a tool with little loop at the end to remove the inside of your zit) to finish the job, explains Mona Gohara, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale.

"This is the safest way you could [pop a zit] at home," Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, tells ishonest—but it's still not perfect. "It’s incredibly difficult to find the correct angle of insertion to open the [zit] on yourself, and very difficult to remove the contents without damaging the skin," adds Dr. Nazarian. Barrymore, herself, discourages her viewers from aggressively digging into the pimple with the lancet, but rather taking a light and delicate approach for a graceful pop.

Of course, the best way to combat maskne is to prevent it in the first place. Remember to wash your mask after daily use. "Be diligent about nightly acne medications that can prevent breakouts over time," advises Dr. Nazarian. And if needles aren't your thing, consider hydrocolloid pimple patches ($16 for 96- count; "[These] can help dry them up and shrink them up quicker without the same risk of scarring," says Dr. Nazarian.

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