ZocdocAnswersCan you remove scabbing from a popped blackhead?

Question

Can you remove scabbing from a popped blackhead?

If you pop a blackhead and it scabs over, when is the right time to remove a scab? I've heard that you shouldn't remove scabs at all, but I also want to make sure that the scab doesn't cause hairs to become ingrown (it's on my chin, in my beard) and make the problem worse.

Answer

Acne of course is one of the most common medical problems, and properly caring for it is important to prevent scarring. To start with, it is generally discouraged to pop blackheads at all. This is because you damage the surrounding tissue with the squeezing pressure, leading to bleeding and scabbing. The risk down the road is that this can cause worsened scarring and, in the immediate term, can raise your risk of skin infection. Once the scab has formed, as in your case, it is best to leave the scabbed area alone until the scab falls off on its own. You can hasten this process by keeping the area well moisturized, but you should avoid picking at the scab. Furthermore, a small scab should not lead to ingrown hairs, so you don't need to worry about this. In the future, treating your blackheads with a combination of facial cleansing, exfoliating treatments, and comedonolytics is probably the way to go. Comedonolytics are chemicals that remove dead skin debris, cleansing pores. Popular over the counter comedonolytics include benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. As always, if these steps are not taking care of your acne, your primary care doctor or your dermatologist can always perform an examination and provide further advice.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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