Doctors repeatedly stress that you shouldn’t pop your pimples—but it’s hard to avoid temptation when it’s right there. This woman’s story, however, may change your squeezing habits.
Katie Wright started popping what she thought was an inflamed zit near her eyebrow—and things got really ugly.
“A week ago I decided to pick at what I thought was a giant under the skin pimple because it had been hurting for a while and got too painful to ignore,” she wrote on Twitter. “Within an hour my entire face swelled up and HURT. It felt like something was going to burst out of my skin.”
“Since it was on my face, there was a huge risk of it spreading to my brain or my eyes causing me to go blind. Serious shit,” she wrote.
Dermatologist Dr Sandra Lee, better known as Dr Pimple Popper, told Allure that Wright’s infection was in the “triangle of death,” an area from the corners of the mouth to between the eyebrows. Inside that triangle is your sinus, which contains blood vessels that carry blood back to your brain. If the skin above that gets infected with something like cellulitis, it could spread, get into your bloodstream and potentially lead to blood clots that could cause you to have a stroke or die.
Wright didn’t have a pimple—this was a serious infection—but it should make you think twice about your impulse to pop or pick at whatever weird-looking skin blemish you may be dealing with.
If you do have a zit and you absolutely need to get rid of it,try this before hitting the sack: soak a washcloth in hot water and apply pressure to the pimple for one minute. The heat and moisture should melt the oily substance that’s plugging your pores. Then, apply 10 per cent benzoyl peroxide cream to kill bacteria and help dry out the spot. Finally, cover the area with a Band-Aid to let the benzoyl peroxide work all night. In the morning, your pimple should be gone.
But, of course, if you have something that looks funky, call your dermatologist. You may need help from a pro to get rid of it.
This story originally appeared on MensHealth.com