I thought I’d follow on from my last blog about the 2012 December edition of Vogue Australia, and how it has inspired my new found confidence. I had mentioned that growing up I thought I had bad acne. In comparison to someone suffering severely from acne, it never seemed quite that bad, but because I scrutinised my body so much the reflection of myself I saw in the mirror would always appear distorted from the actual truth.
So today I will be talking about the skin. We will be covering what a pimple is, and a couple of methods to help clear those nasties right off your face.
I have chosen this topic as my first official health and beauty guide simply because we all have had a pimple problem at some point in our lives, even if we don’t like to admit to it. Some of us are afraid to look at our reflection in a mirror, and most of the time it’s because we are ashamed or embarrassed of the imperfections on our face.
Before I begin, I would like to make it absolutely clear that there is no hard and fast rule to having perfect skin. We are all different, and therefore we each have our own unique method to care for our skin.
What is it?
I thought it might be helpful if we understand what a pimple is exactly, this way we have a clear knowledge of what we’re dealing with. According to the Merriam-Webster medical dictionary, a pimple is a small inflamed elevation of the skin. There are also many types and forms of acne, but today we will specifically discuss the most common, Ance Vulgaris. This type can manifest itself as white heads, black heads, papules and pustules. I have done my best to find the most “user friendly” photos so you can see what each looks like.
This acne can vary in severity from mild to moderate, which is manageable and can be accomplished without having to see a doctor. If you feel that your pimples are comparatively worse than in the above images, and feel as though you have acne, I advise that you do seek out a doctor so they can provide you with expert advice and treatment. In the most severe cases a doctor may refer you to a dermatologist, which is a doctor that specialises in the treatment of skin.
Make sure you clearly understand that a few pimples do not need medical attention and treatment from a doctor. Some medications prescribed by dermatologists and doctors can be harmful even in the smallest doses.
How can we fix it?
The acne which I suffered from was all of the types above, except papules. Mainly small imperfections, but on a bad day a few noticeable small ones also, which were often pastules. I would normally fix it by trying to pop them till they bleed, as someone once told me that if it begins to bleed it means all the ‘gunk’ inside was out. Oh how wrong I was.
Popping your pimples until they bleed is a huge NO. It can cause lesions and leave skin scarred. It can also cause further infection (as it could technically be considered an open wound) and could even become a larger, harder, more painful, red blemish that is deep within the skin or a cyst. When a cyst occurs, it must be treated by a doctor. If you do have blemishes (such as small scabs) from picking your pimples do not continue picking them. All you will achieve is further infection, and make your pimples worse. No matter how much you want to pick your pimples, steer clear of it at all costs. Distract yourself until the urge to pick your pimples disappears.
“How do I make it disappear though?!” you’re probably thinking. Be patient my friends, I’m getting to that bit.
One solution towards getting rid of a pimple is by cleaning the skin. Pimples start from dirt getting into the skin’s pores, so cleaning it thoroughly will help prevent more pimples and help treat existing ones. Start by using a gentle face scrub, which should only be done once a week. Face scrubs normally have some sand in their mixture, which can scratch the surface of the skin, helping remove dirt and dead skin cells. Scrubbing your face too often can cause scarring.
Next is to cleanse and tone the skin. Cleansing the skin opens the pores and removes dirt inside them, whilst toning closes the pores. If you skip your toner, you’re leaving your skin open to dirt and bacteria, which contributes to pimples and acne. Finally, moisturise. This step is very important as it rehydrates your skin after applying the cleanser and toner.
It’s important you do this routine at least once a day, but it is recommended twice a day. If you only have enough time to do it once, do it just before you go to bed. There is nothing worse than sleeping with dirty skin.
Another solution is over-the-counter treatments. A popular type is water based acne gel with benzoyl peroxide. Ultimately this should only ever be used as a last resort. You only need to apply a small amount (1/4 pea) to the pimple site before you go to bed, and the next morning it will be almost completely gone. If you do use this though, follow the instructions of the product carefully, as it has been known to bleach coloured fabric.
Finally, to help get rid of your pimples, drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Natural vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables are very beneficial for the skin.
Keep your eyes peeled for my blog about natural skin treatments, if you don’t want to use products that have harsh chemicals.