Popping zits is a bad habit we’re all guilty of. You’ve heard it a million times before: You can end up doing more harm than good if you take matters into your own hands. Instead of squeezing a blemish and potentially damaging your skin, try a tool that’s designed specifically for the job at hand.

An extractor like the Sephora Collection 3-in-1 Extractor ($23) can help speed up the healing process. The sooner you safely purge your pimple, the sooner you’re on your way to clear skin. This tool can be a beauty bag MVP for sure, but it’s important to know how to use it correctly so you don’t end up with scars.

“The sharp end is used to pop the pimple and the circular loops are used to extract the contents,” says New York City-based dermatologist Gary Goldenberg. Read on for Goldenberg’s step-by-step process for using an extracting tool.

Step 1: Hold a warm washcloth over the blemish for 30 seconds to soften the affected area.

Step 2: Use the sharp end of the tool to gently puncture the blemish.

Step 3: Place the small loop around whiteheads; use the flat loop for blackheads.

Step 4: Move the loop downward until the contents of the blemish are extracted.

And voilà, you’re on your way to clear, healed skin. One caveat, though. “If the blemish isn’t easy to extract with a tool, then see your dermatologist,” advises Goldenberg.

Follow us on Pinterest for more beauty inspo and info.

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

(Photos via Brit + Co; Model: Anjali Naicker)