Most parents advise their kids not to pop pimples, but can it really cause that much of a problem? It turns out, yes. It's something a 19-year-old in China learned the hard way.
According to the Daily Mail, unhappy with a pimple on her nose, the teen used her hands to pop it. Soon after, she began to feel pain under her right eye, but didn't think much of it until days later, when that eye swelled up and she developed a fever. Her family brought her to the hospital where she was exhibiting the symptoms of a brain infection like meningitis. She was given antibiotics and eventually diagnosed with Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis, a blood clot in her cavernous sinuses, which are the hollow spaces behind your eye sockets. The rare condition is fatal in one out of three cases, per the Cleveland Clinic.
The teen, who recovered, wound up with the clot because she popped a pimple in a part of the face referred to as the "Triangle of Death." The area, between the nose and just past the corners of the mouth, has blood vessels connected to parts of the skull, so infections starting there can spread quickly. If the skin in the "Triangle of Death" is broken, bacteria can get in and rapidly reach your brain. It's why many doctors warn people not to pop pimples, especially there.
The teen's case isn't rare either - a man in China also wound up hospitalized after popping a pimple in the "Triangle of Death." Following his removal of the blemish, he developed a fever and struggled to breathe, then his mouth swelled up and reddened. It turned out that popping the zit caused an infection in his mouth which triggered double pneumonia and collapsed lungs. After being admitted to the hospital in critical condition and fighting for his life in the ICU for one month, his condition eventually stabilized.
Among the health issues associated with popping a pimple in the "Triangle of Death" are facial paralysis, loss of vision and motor functions, meningitis and even death. However, if you aren't supposed to pop a pimple, what can you do? Well most dermatologists recommend better skin care, which will lead to fewer breakouts. Get in a routine where you use products with acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, hydroxy acids and retinoids, and always wash your hands before touching your face.