I often hear the two terms used mistakenly interchangeably. A pimple or whitehead is an infection that starts deep down in your pores when they become clogged with debris such as; surface dirt, sebum (your skin’s natural oil), makeup and dead skin. When this happens your skin will form a seal atop the pore, followed by a swelling. Then a bulbous white head forms on the surface of your skin. A blackhead is the caused by the same debris. However, instead of the seal swelling and forming a head it will turn black when oxygen hits it.
When imperfections arise, our first instinct is to perform one of the three P’s: popping, picking and prodding. STOP! This will cause your skin to mutiny against the new bacteria you’ve just introduced. You may even re-infect the same blemish forming a bigger, better and more obnoxious version of itself. I have spent up to 30 minutes at a mirror poking and squeezing out blemishes with anything from Q-tips to tweezers to (GASP!) the edges of my finger nails. I know better. I really really do. This may cause permanent damage in the form of icepick scarring, little indentations left on the skin after you’ve attempted open heart surgery on a zit.
When attacking blemishes, prevention is key. Here are a few tips and product suggestions on keeping your skin clear:
1. Cleanse skin twice a day- never sleep in makeup! Use a mild cleanser, like Hydroxatone’s Milky Cleanser. It is soothing with chamomile and aloe and doubles as your makeup remover! The toner is great, too. It contains witchazel as well as tea tree oil, a natural bacteria fighting antiseptic.
2. Exfoliate-dry or oily skin you must exfoliate at least twice a week. It sloughs off dead skin cells that clog pores. I just got my hands on Miracle Skin Transformer Hydroactive Microderm scrub. It exfoliates tones and evens out skin tone with three essential brighteners; Licorice root, bearberry and pinebark extract. It’s great for treating scarring from old acne breakouts.
3. Moisturize- Women that are prone to breakouts tend to discontinue use of moisturizers believing that the extra product will make breakouts worse. Negative! Your skin still needs hydration. I swear by philosophy Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Moisturizer! It’s anti-aging but also hydrates skin with a light weight water based texture.
If you have a pimple now and absolutely must rid yourself of it, take two q-tips and gently press on either side of the blemish, do not squeeze! Do this until the pimple has drained and follow with a sweep of a cotton ball saturated in mild astringent. If the pimple does not easily drain then, it’s not ready. Leave it alone and try again in a few days. Apply a topical treatment to contend with blemishes. Stay away from products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Use witch hazel or tea tree oil instead. They are less drying and irritating.