Popping the Spot on the Danger Zone

By Arlyn May Bongay | Last Updated April 12, 2012

In a world where vanity is advertised, we are overwhelmed by the want to look perfect. We resort to sorts of treatment just to look like the next top model. But while worrying about beauty on the surface, the dangers that await us lay skin deep. Find out how a zit can be lethal.

Arlyn May Bongay


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Arlyn May Bongay

Category : Tips

Responses : 24 Comments

Let’s be honest. Who out there doesn’t get tempted to pick acne off the most visible part of the face? However, if you are worried about having to walk around with a zit on your nose, getting rid of it should be the least of your problems. Out of curiosity, I asked people around if they ever developed the habit of picking pimples. These three were the reasons that went with the answer YES;

  1. Yes, it is a bad habit to break.  This comes from highly self-conscious people, especially the young and adolescent. In today’s society, even the prepubescents are wont to battle the threats of facial disfiguration. Meaning, the more “photoshopped” their faces look, the better.
  2. Yes, accidentally. Sometimes, this is an excuse. Mostly, however, we couldn’t help it if the zit is within the range of our normal body movements. It can be anything from blowing the nose, wiping the face, biting the upper lip – and before you know it, you’ve left a gaping pore on your face.
  3. Yes, it was an old habit until something worse than a pimple happened. This is where you’ll stop and consider before squeezing out that ugly pustule.


The Danger Triangle of the Face

As I have asked around, I realized that not everyone knows about the “no-no” zone of the face. It seems that most of us are more familiar with the T-Zone. The T-Zone is the area of the face that produces the most oils. It forms the letter T with the horizontal line going across the forehead and the vertical line going down the bridge of the nose. Now remove that horizontal line. Start from the top of the nose bridge and forming a triangle, towards the corners of your mouth – this is the “Danger Triangle of the Face”. 1

The reality here is that we are too focused on caring for what is immediately seen. This is so because we have more knowledge about the T-Zone and how to take care of it than the Danger Triangle. We all know how the T-area is often the most susceptible to white heads, black heads, breakouts, redness or sunburn yet we do not seem to actually be worried about the risks happening under the skin.

The Danger Triangle is a guide where even the slightest spot must not be touched, ideally. Just imagine yourself walking over inverted land mines – the triangle being the area where the mines are planted. Anything that touches the triangle and goes “kaboom” produces a mighty implosion underneath the skin. You wouldn’t even know what happened until the effects come to the surface.

The Science Behind The Spot

Dr. Martin Spiller, DMD tells us about a mere tooth problem that became a Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis. In layman’s terms, it is the presence of a blood clot (or clots, if you are ‘lucky’) in the cavernous sinus. The cavernous sinus is a small area in the human skull that houses important nerves for the movement and sensations of the eyes and the areas of the mouth. Bordered by the temporal and sphenoid bones is a network of thin-walled veins that makes up the cavernous sinus. 2

Going back to the ache in the upper teeth, the threat became an abscess, which became thrombus, and which eventually became a hysterical facial mess. What kind of mess? Your eyes spilling out of your swollen sockets, enlarged nose and deformed cheeks are the likely damages if you are “fortunate” not to be dead.

The danger comes from the fact that the middle part of the face has veins outside and inside the skull that communicate with each other. These veins are valve-less, which allows a reverse draining system so the blood flows back to the parts of the brain. Therefore, if you had a pimple and popped it open to inadvertently invite bacterial contamination, you can only imagine where else the infection can possibly go to. The possible dangers could could be as simple as a headache, eye problem, and fever. From there, more serious afflictions could develop such as sepsis and muscle paralysis. All these complications could lead to the worst-case scenario – death. If diagnosed at an early staged, infections could be treated with intravenous antibiotics in high doses.



On-the-SPOT Treatment (What you could do instead)

With or without the spot problem, remember to always be tidy. Make sure your hands are clean when dealing with facial hygiene especially around the danger triangle. If you have any skin problems, consult a good skin health professional. They can also help to remind you that something so little as a zit can also cause something as lethal as death.


  1. I have acne problems too. Even if I am married with three kids, I though my acne would be just be a memory during my puberty stage. But no, there are still here and some days are better than others.

    Any advice?

    • Hi Jessica! Although I know some ways to cover them up when needed, I am not an expert when it comes to skin health. It should be best to consult a reliable skin expert for your case. But my simple take on it would be to watch what your are eating, have plenty or ample time of sleep (since we are prone to flare ups when sleep is deprived), and observe a facial regimen that would be suitable for your skin type. Thank you for dropping by! 🙂

  2. This is a very informative article.. At my age now.. I still do this bad habit of picking pimples. So scared when I read the dangers again . ( I know them way way back) Thanks for the reminder through this authored article.

  3. OMG! i didn’t know about the danger triangle till now.. i’ve been popping zits, and pinching other areas within it to get the whiteheads out. it hurts and it usually turns red but i did not mind because i’ve gotten used to it. now, my biggest problem’s how to get rid of the blemishes it leaves on my face.. tsktsk.. now i know the risks, i’ll try to keep my hands off of the danger triangle… Thanks for the info.. =)

    • Hi ESaunders, I am happy that the article has given you some light on what may now be a habit of yours. About your blemishes, and this is based on my experience since I’ve had them before, you can take Vitamin E supplements. It is really good for replenishing the skin. Also have a healthy diet rich in Vitamin A, C, Zinc and Selenium – they help lessen the possibilities of blemishes. Then drink lots of water for cleansing, it will give your skin a healthier glow. Oh, and see a dermatologist for more expert advice. 🙂
      I hope that helped.

  4. Triangle is now my favorite shape, Thanks to this article…

    • Hi Jalou! 😀
      It is a wonderful shape isn’t it? And it’s handy now to our health.
      You are welcome by the way, thanks for leaving a comment.

  5. must fallow! no need for expensive derma nor strong meds!

    • Hi Mary!
      Cheers to that! No need for expensive derma treatments and strong chemicals. Remember where they go eventually! 😉
      A healthy diet will do and some beauty rest 🙂

  6. i am one of the many girls who suffer from pimples mushrooming over my face every menstrual period. and i admit, (guilty) i pop them because theyre very irritating…. thank you very much for the information, i can really make use of them…….=)

    • Thank you Sarah, I am glad that you find the article very helpful.
      I am sure glad you won’t be popping them anymore 😉

  7. Now I finally understand why every time i get a pimple on my nose, my nose swells, i mean my ENTIRE nose swells! 🙁 I guess my habit of touching that spot should really stop or else…Thank you for this article Arlyn, it means a lot! 😀

    • Hi Ana! The nose swelling really gets at my imagination, I can just imagine how that might have terrified you. I am glad that the article has given answers to your wondering and hopefully this time, you can keep your hands away from the pimple until it goes away. But if swelling does occur even if you didn’t touch it, you should ask an expert about your case.
      You are welcome 🙂

  8. Geez, i just learned about the Danger Triangle…i’ve not really experienced acne problems much even when i was younger but wenever a pustule or two surfaces, i couldn’t help pricking them..so now, thank u for the information…the next time i see them on my face, especially along the danger triangle area…i’ll just leave them be…=)

    • Hi Allyn!
      I bet you have a beautiful skin – so yeah, allow some imperfection once in a while. In your case, your skin doesn’t breakout easily so the pimple will most likely just go away without leaving remnants. So keep up your healthy lifestyle and that healthy way of thinking. 🙂

  9. Hi, I’m 30 and still get adult pimples. How do I stop scarring my face when I pop the pimples?? 🙂

  10. WOW! I don’t get pimples in the danger triangle much often, just on my face (cheeks, chin, and forehead), but that’s it. I AM NEVER POPPING PIMPLES IN THE DANGER TRIANGLE EVER AGAIN! I’m so paranoid and scared now! Haha…or I just won’t pop pimples in general! But this is good info.

  11. I have an acne/pimple and/or boil just below my right nostril, it started on march 10 and it became bigger. huehue. I took amox and mefenamic to relieve the pain. And now the dean of our college told me to take co amoxiclav. I just took my first dose. I am not so aware of this triangle thingy until my dean taught me. I’m afraid. huehuehue.

  12. I read this AFTER popping a pimple in the triangle! What warning signs should I look for and how quickly do they develop?

  13. Popping pimples is ok if you do it GENTLY. I have popped many pimples, super gently – dont force the puss out just give it a little push until it comes out. After you get all the puss out with a napkin, then apply the Citrus Clear Spot Treatment and within 24 hours it will be all gone. No marks.

  14. Ok, so I just popped a pimple on the tip of my nose yesterday. It really hurt so I decided to pop it. And then today. It hurt even more and realized there was still some pus there, so I popped it again…It started bledding and a watery thing also came out. I then showered and after I did, I put some ice on it. The spot is red, and I was wondering if it will scar and if there’s anything I can do to stop it? 😟😣

    • All you have to do is to consult a dermatologist 🙂

  15. What about facial surgeries in this area then? Like rhinoplastly, botox injections and lip augmentation?


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