Representation of a woman with acne on her face.
Experts strongly advise against popping pimples in the “danger triangle.”
Previously known as the “triangle of death,” the “danger triangle” is the area of a person’s face from the bridge of the nose down to the corners of the mouth.
Popping acne in this area can cause an infection of the face, which can then travel up to a person’s brain.
The infection can result in cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST), a blood clot in the cavernous sinuses that, according to researchers, can delay brain blood flow, resulting in grave complications.
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, explained in an interview with Health that the proximity of this area to the brain makes it particularly vulnerable to infections.
He advised against popping pimples in the danger triangle due to the potential risk of the infection spreading to the brain through the cavernous sinuses.
In addition to the risk of infection and CST, popping pimples in this area can have other adverse effects.
Dr. Alok Vij, a dermatologist, told Cleveland Clinic that bacteria can enter the skin through the open pimple, causing more noticeable and painful acne.
Furthermore, repeatedly touching the face and popping pimples can exacerbate swelling and redness, making the acne even more prominent.
Another concern is scarring. Dr. Vij cautioned that popping pimples can lead to the formation of scabs, which can result in permanent scarring or dark spots on the face.
These dark spots, known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, may fade over time, but it can take up to 12 months for some spots to return to their natural skin color.
Dr. Vij reassured that while an infection in the danger triangle can potentially lead to serious health complications, the chances of death are relatively low.
However, he emphasized that any violation of the skin and interaction with bacteria carries the risk of infection, which should not be underestimated.
Early recognition of CST symptoms — fever, headache, eye muscle paralysis, and eye swelling — is crucial post-pimple popping in the danger triangle.
Taking preventive measures and consulting a dermatologist for appropriate acne treatment is the best course of action for maintaining healthy skin and minimizing the chances of severe infections in this vulnerable area.