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Popping Pimples On This Part Of Your Face Can Kill You, Says Science

Photo: Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock
Popping Zits On Your Face's Triangle Of Death Can Kill You

I thought once I kissed my teenage years goodbye that I'd be kissing acne goodbye too. 

While it's gotten better over the years, I'm still prone to the odd zit or seven, especially the week before my period.

Is there anything more depressing than applying anti-wrinkle cream AND anti-acne cream? Answer: no, no there is not. 

I feel like when it comes to acne, we all have certain spots where we are more likely to get a pimple. For some, acne appears where they hold their phone closest to their face. For me, it's always been around my nose and my upper lip. 

If I were to tally up the hours I have wasted squeezing, poking, and prodding at acne in this area I would easily have a whole extra year of life.

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God, that's actually kind of depressing.

It turns out that I'm actually lucky to have made it out of these pimple-popping sessions alive. Why? Because the central triangle of your face which includes your nose and upper lip have another nickname in the medical community —

The deadly triangle. 



You can go ahead and pop all the pimples you want on your forehead. Attack the acne on your chin with ruthless abandon. But leave the deadly triangle alone. 

Yup, this space on your face is so death-prone that science and medicine had to give it this ridiculous sounding name. 

Popping a pimple in this area could literally kill you. That's because the blood vessels in this area drain to the back of your head. If you innocently pop a pimple in the danger triangle and it becomes (knock on wood) infected, that can lead to stuff like loss of vision, meningitis, a brain abscess, or even death. 

Yeah, I think I'll take the concealer over the potential death sentence, thank you very much. 

This makes me rethink every single action movie I have ever seen. You know when the good guy lays out the bad guy with the heel of his palm to his nose? Now he should just run at the guy with an extractor and some astringent, the effect would apparently be every single inch as deadly. Okay, maybe not. But it's a comical image. 

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It's ridiculously tempting to pop your pimples during an outbreak of acne. I have to be totally honest, I can't see myself NOT popping a ripe and juicy pimple that's ready to go even if it IS in the so-called danger triangle.

If you've got a pimple in the danger zone and you have to get it rid of it there are lots of ways to do it without popping the pimple. Try applying a warm washcloth to open up the pore. Overnight drying creams are also a great option, along with just plain old steam (from a steam facial machine or just in the shower) to help the pore open without putting dangerous force on your face. 

Also, doing all that stuff you're supposed to do to prevent getting pimples in the first place is probably a good idea, too.

RELATED: What It Means If You Have Acne Around Your Mouth

The heart wants what it wants, and my hearts wants to clean out my clogged pores and go about my business. So I guess maybe I'll take my chances.

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.
Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on June 14, 2018 and was updated with the latest information.

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