Squeezing a spot in ‘triangle of death’ can prove fatal & safe ways to pop zits


CHANCES are you’ve given into the temptation to pick at a spot, once or twice.

And while you might curse yourself later when left with a lingering scar, in most cases it seems like no biggie to pop pimples.

The 'triangle of death' starts between the brows and extends to the corners of the mouth


The ‘triangle of death’ starts between the brows and extends to the corners of the mouth

But to the horror of all serial spot squeezers – experts are warning that succumbing to the urge could also lead to dangerous infections.

In very rare cases, it can even result in death.

Though dermatologists routinely advise that you leave your skin be, you’re more likely to contract a deadly infection if you venture into what’s been dubbed the ‘triangle of death’.

The spot-squeezing danger zone starts at the midpoint between your brows and extends to the corners or your mouth in a rough triangle shape across your face.

Read more on skin concerns

Videos about the danger spot have recently flooded TikTok, collectively garnering close to 40 million views.

Mohammed Kanadil, pharmacist and education manager for Skin Masterclass told Sun Health that in most cases picking a spot will be harmless, but warned in rare cases it can be as perilous as TikTok users claim.

“It is never advised to pop a pimple no matter the location of the skin because that can lead to more inflammation, scarring, and possible spread of infectious germs,” he said.

But he said your skin usually acts as a great barrier and is equipped with the elements it needs to eliminate possible infectious organisms.

There is, however, a slightly higher likelihood of complications when you pick at the ‘triangle of death’ due to the “anatomical properties” of your skin in that area.

First of all, the veins in that triangular area of your face are valveless – this means they don’t have the valves most veins contain that prevent backflow and ensure blood always flows to the heart.

They’re also connected to the cavernous sinuses, which are hollow spaces located under the brain, behind each eye socket.

A major blood vessel called the jugular vein carries blood through the cavernous sinuses away from the brain.

According to the NHS, it’s possible to develop a blood clot when an infection in the face or skull spreads to the cavernous sinuses. This condition is called cavernous sinus thrombosis.

Mohammed told Sun Health: “Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a condition characterised by infection-induced clotting in the veins responsible for carrying blood from the face and head back to the heart. The primary cause is infection.”

Blood clots develop to prevent the infection spreading further, but they can restrict the blood flow from the brain, which can damage the brain, eyes and nerves running between them, the NHS warned.

Mohammed added that septic cavernous sinus thrombosis is also a concern – this can be life threatening.

“Early symptoms of this may include severe headache, eye pain, swelling, redness, or irritation around one or both eyes, as well as high fever,” he said.

However, the pharmacist warned that this condition is very rare and the risk of you getting it from popping your spots is low.

He said: “Although there are few cases reports in the literature about skin infections that lead to this risky infection the possibility is rare.

“But that doesn’t grant us a pass to pop pimples left and right, it is always a good idea to seek professionals when dealing with skin infections like acne, pimples, and boils.”

How to safely get rid of spots

Though picking at spots in other areas of your face and body isn’t half as perilous, there’s still risk of infection, Mohammed told Sun Health.

“It’s important to be mindful of the risks associated with picking at the skin. The skin acts as a natural barrier and disrupting this barrier can elevate the risk of infection and scarring,” the pharmacist explained.

So it’s best to leave your zits alone.

But he had a solution to stop you from touching them, which also bring your pimples down and keeps bacteria off them.

“Pimple patches offer a convenient solution to both prevent scarring and discourage picking,” according to Mohammed.

“These silicon-based patches create a conducive, humid environment for quicker healing and reduced scarring.

“Additionally, there are medicated options available, such as patches infused with salicylic acid for its anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties, as well as Tea Tree oil-treated patches that provide soothing relief from irritation.”

These spot-eradicating patches are actually pretty affordable.

You can nab a pack of 24 COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches for £5.99 at Sephora UK or £4.46 on Amazon.

Superdrug also offers Deep Action Blemish Patches for £5.99, while you can grab Revolution Skincare Pick-me-not Blemish Patches at Boots for £6.

If you do have a moment of weakness and end up picking at your skin, Mohammed advised you quickly disinfect the area and apply a nifty patch.

Using “anti-inflammatory ingredients like centella extracts, ectoin, or panthenol can also contribute to a smoother healing process”, he added.


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