Photo: romastudio via 123RF

Unless you are absurdly blessed, you know the feeling of looking forward to a social event, only to realize your face has red, irritated pimples. Luckily, this condition is neither concerning to your overall health nor rare among other people.

JAMA Network reports that acne affects 40 to 50 million people in the United States annually. A cited study also mentions that although acne is most common in adolescents, it affects 54% of adult women and 40% of 50% of adult men in America. No matter what age range you fall into, you aren’t alone. 

However, to combat your acne properly and with the least permanent scarring, you must understand a few things about the nature of pimples and your skin type.

Blemish ID

  • The first category of facial blemishes is black or whiteheads. Bacteria, dirt, oil, or dead skin cells can cause these pimples. If the wound is closed, it will appear as a whitehead, and if it remains open, it will appear darker — hence the name blackhead. A retinoid is the most common treatment and is available over the counter or by prescription. It is essential to ensure that you do not pop or scrub these types of pimples. Popping or scrubbing can lead to the worsening or multiplication of your blemishes.
  • Early pimples, or papules, are another common type of blemish. These can appear when there is an excess of oil or dirt build-up and are deeper in the skin than black and white heads. The skin can feel similar to sandpaper if many are in a concentrated area, with a bumpy or rough texture. To prevent this type of acne, washing your face twice every day with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid face wash can prevent the worsening of the skin. However, if you need an immediate fix, indefinitely leave them to heal naturally. Popping them can allow more dirt to enter the pore and turn the small blemish into a more sizable or cystic pimple.
  • Unfortunately, the most common pimple type is pus-filled and bigger than papules, whiteheads, and blackheads — scientifically known as pustules. These are incredibly tempting to poke and pry. Still, it is imperative to resist the impulse to squeeze them. This action can significantly worsen the lifespan of your blemish and scar your face even after it has healed. The treatment for these pesky pimples is very similar to papules. Dermatologists recommend a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid-based face wash used twice daily. It is also important to note that you should visit your dermatologist if these blemishes do not go away in six-to-eight weeks.

Photo: romastudio via 123RF

Prevention Techniques

Now that you know how to heal a blemish, you might also ask yourself: “How can I prevent this from happening in the future?” 

Keeping your skin clear isn’t always easy or even within your control, but there are a few quick changes to your daily routine that might prevent or ease your next breakout. 

  • First, according to WebMD, ensuring that your face is clean in the morning and before bed is the first essential step. However, if you find yourself especially sweaty or oily, you must wash your face ASAP. 
  • Another helpful habit for clear skin is frequently washing or changing your pillowcases. As you sleep, sweat and oils accumulate, and if mixed with residue from nights past, you will likely find yourself looking back on this article. 
  • Next, find out whether your skin is naturally dry, oily, or a combination of the two, and buy a face wash that cleanses your skin type. 
  • Finally, if you regularly wear makeup, it is vital to wash it off nightly and avoid wearing it if you know you’ll be sweating. Sometimes, the makeup can be a foreign substance that clogs your pores, so ensure you don’t use too much or leave it to sit on your face for too long.

Acne is frustrating — but it isn’t hopeless! This article has plenty of tips and tricks to help you maintain the skin that makes you feel most confident and attractive. If these tips worsen your acne, contact a dermatologist for the best care and advice.