Woman shares infected pimple photo as warning against popping zits

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Several months ago, Katie Wright started feeling pain near her
eyebrow and noticed a blemish. She tried not to pick at it. But
after a few days, it looked bigger and uglier. It never formed
a head or started shrinking so she decided to help it. When she
got out of the shower, she tried popping it, hoping it would go
away.

Instead, it got worse.

“My head just got hotter and hotter and started swelling up. It
was unimaginable pain. I thought maybe I irritated my skin too
much or pushed too hard,” Wright, 21, told TODAY.

Courtesy Katie
Wright

It took several rounds of IV antibiotics to treat the
cellulitis Katie Wright got after a dirty eyebrow spoolie
introduced staph to her hair follicle.

As the pain intensified she put an ice pack on it, took some
ibuprofen, and tried resting. After a night of fitful sleep,
she woke up to a frightening sight. Her face was so swollen
that her features looked distorted. And, the blemish was
oozing.

“I could barely open my eyes,” she said. “The difference in my
face it was unreal.”

Wright went to the emergency room at St. David’s Medical Center
in Austin, where doctors looked at the swollen ooze blemish and
knew exactly it was — cellulitis.

“I was unaware of how serious it was,” she said.

Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria, such as
streptococcus or staphylococcus. People carry this bacteria on
their skin and it only becomes dangerous when it enters an
opening in the skin, such as a popped pimple, cut, or bug bite.
It spreads quickly and if it spreads to the eyes or the brain
it can cause loss of vision or brain damage.

“I didn’t know that cellulitis could spread to your brain or
eyes," Wright said.

Dermatologist Dr. Adam Friedman, who didn’t treat Wright, said
he commonly sees patients with infections from skin picking,
popping pimples, scratching bug bites, and using dirty make-up
brushes.

“It is very easy to get an infection,” he said. “We have over
500 species of bacteria of the skin. When you break the skin,
you are putting all the bacteria in the skin.”

Courtesy Katie
Wright

Katie Wright shared pictures of herself with an oozy blemish
to warn others to clean their make-up brushes to avoid her
fate.

Friedman urges people to
clean their make-up brushes
,
toss expired make up
, and to
not pop pimples their pimples
. Despite the warning, people
pop pimples anyway.

“Hands down, you will certainly get scars if you pick at your
acne,” Freidman said. “If you are going to do it, do it with
clean with hands. You are creating a wound."

In Wright’s case, she suspects she contracted staph through
hair follicle in her eyebrow. She believes a dirty eyebrow
spoolie, the brush attached to her eyebrow pencil, introduced
the bacteria.

“Where I made my mistake … I separate my brushes from my
product to wash them. I threw my eyebrow pencil with my
products instead taking the spoolie with it to clean,” she
said.

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Doctors treated Wright IV with antibiotics. After an overnight
stay, she returned home, but the swelling didn’t subside and
the infection throbbed with pain. She returned to the emergency
room where they gave her stronger IV antibiotics and kept her
for three days. While she had an allergic reaction to the
drugs, she also improved. A week later, the swelling subsided.
Three weeks after, the lesion and scabbing finally diminished.

“I never thought I could get staph on my face,” she said. “You
don’t do your eyebrows and think ‘Hey this might make me go
blind and give me brain damage.’”

Courtesy Katie
Wright

It took a month for the cellulitis to completely heal but
Katie Wright's had no problems since.

Wright shared her photos on social media and they recently went
viral. While the nickname she earned, “staph girl,” isn’t
flattering, she hopes her story will help others.

“I would advise people to wash your brushes,” she said. “If it
can happen to me it can happen to anyone.”

Wright started a fundraiser to help cover the costs of her
treatment. People interested in donating can do so here.

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