Social media influencers say iodine can help with breakouts, but it can actually irritate the skin even more. Here’s what one dermatologist says you should use instead.

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Iodine is a disinfectant used in medical facilities, and TikTokers also use it for pimples.

A dermatologist says it can be effective, but it can also cause skin irritation and inflammation.

Instead, he recommends using benzoyl peroxide to dry out pimples and prevent infection.

While it’s a well-known fact that you should never pop a pimple, sometimes a sensitive cyst in the bathroom mirror mesmerizes you. Against your better judgment, push. Moments later, you’re staring at the spot where you just hurt your forehead and promising yourself you’ll never do it again—until, of course, you do.

But for those who know they can’t resist the temptation, a new hack is making the rounds on TikTok, with users claiming that iodine, a disinfectant, can prevent infections from getting worse from popping pimples and even shrink existing ones.

“Of course I have a scab on my chin from killing myself, but I don’t have an irritation anywhere else,” TikTok user Nico Olsen said in a video of dabbing iodine on her pimples after one burst had brought.

Another user tried the trick on a small pimple and reported less redness and inflammation. If scratching or touching acne can cause oils and bacteria to make acne worse, the logic is that iodine can speed up the healing process or reduce active blackheads.

That’s true, but Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told Insider that iodine can be difficult to use and can even make skin problems worse.

Iodine kills acne-causing bacteria — but it has some major downsides

According to Zeichner, iodine has an antimicrobial effect, which is why it is so commonly used in healthcare. Citing a 2022 study, he said it was also effective at killing acne-causing bacteria.

The story goes on

While iodine sounds like an easy fix for pre- and post-emergence pimples, Zeichner cautioned that iodine “is potentially linked to skin irritation, inflammation and rashes,” and has been linked to the formation of blisters in severe cases.

Additionally, “you can still develop a scar even if you pick a pick and use iodine,” he said, “because trauma to the skin from the plucking can damage collagen.” While iodine may heal scabs faster, it can cause acne scars or prevent hyperpigmentation.

It’s also just plain messy to use. Iodine is dark orange and can stain clothing or even skin (although Zeichner said you could use alcohol to fix the latter).

Benzoyl peroxide has similar benefits without the risks or mess

Zeichner instead recommended using products with benzoyl peroxide, which he says is “perhaps the most effective topical ingredient we have for treating breakouts,” and which works similarly by lowering the levels of acne-causing bacteria.

He really likes the Jori Daily Leave-On Acne Treatment Mask, which he says gets deep into the pores and contains brightening ingredients like niacinamide and zinc.

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way (yet) to pop your pimples. But with a lot of patience you can at least dry them out.

Read the original article on Insider