Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can cause flushing, blushing, and skin irritation. Popping the bumps can result in inflammation, redness, and scarring and increase your risk of infection.

Papulopustular rosacea is a subtype of rosacea characterized by inflamed, pus-filled bumps. Often called inflammatory rosacea or acne rosacea, it’s sometimes mistaken for acne.

Rosacea bumps are typically found on the:

  • cheeks
  • chin
  • forehead
  • scalp
  • neck
  • chest

Dermatologists recommend not squeezing or popping rosacea bumps for several reasons, including increased inflammation and risk of infection.

Before you touch your rosacea bumps, here’s what to know.

Papulopustular rosacea bumps are filled with white pus. This is the same material found in whiteheads caused by acne.

Learn more about the differences and similarities between rosacea and acne.

Popping rosacea bumps can cause many of the same problems caused by popping acne pimples, including:

  • increased redness and swelling
  • pain and tenderness
  • infections
  • scarring

According to the National Rosacea Society, popping rosacea bumps may also cause a stinging or burning sensation.

If you have papulopustular rosacea, there are proven ways to treat it without any popping or squeezing.

Topical treatments include:

  • Azelaic acid: Regularly applying azelaic acid may reduce the number of rosacea-related bumps.
  • Metronidazole:Metronidazole may also reduce the redness, inflammation, and some of the pustules associated with rosacea.
  • Ivermectin:Ivermectin is an antiparasitic cream that can reduce lesions caused by rosacea. In a 2019 meta-analysis, researchers concluded that ivermectin may be more effective than azelaic acid and metronidazole at clearing lesions.
  • Sodium sulfacetamide and sulfur:Sodium sulfacetamide and sulfur can be found in many over-the-counter (OTC) cleansers formulated for acne and in prescription gels and creams.
  • Benzoyl peroxide cream 5%:Sold under the brand name Esploay, this cream contains microencapsulated benzoyl peroxide, which is less irritating to sensitive skin than traditional benzoyl peroxide.

Oral treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: Tetracycline is often prescribed to reduce rosacea breakouts and redness.
  • Low dose doxycycline:Doxycycline is another antibiotic often prescribed to treat rosacea. Taking low doses may be safer and have fewer side effects than taking full-strength antibiotics, which are not recommended for long-term use.
  • Isotretinoin:Isotretinoin (Accutane) is approved to treat severe acne, redness, and inflammation. Because it may come with severe side effects, it’s typically recommended only after trying other treatments without results.

Laser therapy is another treatment for redness and pustules. Keep in mind: You may need up to five treatments to see results.

Looking for more things to try? Learn about natural remedies for rosacea.

Dermatologists advise against popping rosacea pustules because it can lead to further irritation, infections, and scarring.

Instead, experts recommend treatments like the topical gel azelaic acid or ivermectin, which are proven to get papulopustular rosacea under control. In extreme cases, doctors may prescribe antibiotics or isotretinoin to minimize symptoms.

Before you touch your rosacea bumps, visiting an expert is always recommended.