I have always been interested in figuring out the best ways to keep my face looking fresh and without any pimples.
Most people dread getting pimples and for good reason. Pimples are regarded by many as extremely unattractive, and their psychological effect on someone can far outweigh what is warranted as a medical condition. They can also be a source of great anxiety and depression.
With that said, pimples are very normal. Especially if you're a teenager. In fact, most people will get them at some point in their life. They are not a dire threat to your overall health, and most people will never require extensive medical help, so they are not something to be extremely worried about or to be afraid of.
Still, the overwhelming preference of people is to avoid getting pimples in the first place. Nobody wants to deal with them no matter how normal they may be. No wonder that there are many commercial products on the market that can help you deal with pimples. Most of them are quite effective.
However, some people may not be able to afford these products all the time. Most teenagers do not have lots of money, and even adults may need to cut back on expenses during tough economic times. If you fall into any of these categories, you may want to consider an alternative that is available to anyone.
What Are Pimples and What Causes Pimples?
Before addressing what can be done against pimples, it's important to know what pimples are and how they came to be. The first thing to know is that pimples don't come into existence in an instant. Instead, they need time to develop. Assuming that nothing is done to halt their progress, pimples will gradually develop until they're visible to the naked eye.
If you were to look closely at your skin with a microscope, you would notice that every hair follicle has what's called a pore. This is an opening that connects the skin surface to the sebaceous gland, which in turn excretes an oily substance called sebum. Sebum mixes with dead skin cells when exiting the skin. This is how things are supposed to work. But sometimes things can go wrong.
If too much sebum is produced, the pore can get clogged. Keratin or skin debris has nowhere to go as the way out is blocked. Bacteria also get stuck as they multiply and excrete chemicals. The body detects that something is wrong and sends white blood cells to fight the infection. The skin reacts by becoming inflamed, red, and swollen. The inflammation then forms the pus that people with a pimple or zit are so familiar with and probably find the most disgusting.
What Is the Difference Between Pimples, Cysts, Whiteheads, and Blackheads?
The clogging of pores and hair follicles can be more or less severe. Several variants can be distinguished:
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- When a pore is only clogged and not inflamed, it's called a comedo. A closed comedo or whitehead is closed by skin. If it reaches the surface of the skin, it's an open comedo or blackhead.
- Once inflamed, you have papules and then pustules. The former are hard and the latter contain the pus so characteristic of pimples.
- Larger variants of the prior are known as cysts. These can contain such an incredible amount of pus that you have to see it to believe it.
How to Prevent Pimples?
Knowing what the conditions are that can lead to pimples, the key becomes making sure that pores do not get clogged. Cleaning and taking care of your skin is crucial. While totally getting rid of pimples may not be possible, you can minimize the chances of them forming in the first place.
If you have access to lots of skincare products, great. If you don't, you should still try to do all you can to keep your skin as clean as possible. A proper skincare routine is not a waste of time but can make a big difference. The following tips can be used:
- All you need is a small towel, enough water, and something to boil the water.
- Begin by boiling the water until you see some steam. The water should not be too hot to avoid burning yourself. You should still be able to touch the water. Lower the temperature if it is too hot for you. Experiment a bit to determine your level of comfort. The water should be warm enough, but not too hot to have the desired effect.
- Soak the towel with hot water, wring it, and cover your face with it. Be sure to press the wet towel firmly against your face with both your hands. The heat will cause your pores to widen temporarily. The pressure that is building behind the stuck pores will force them to become unclogged.
- After 2 or 3 seconds, stimulate the cleaning process by massaging your face. Start making circular motions with your hands, and the towel still pressed against your face.
- Optionally, you may apply pressure with your fingers to forcibly remove any solid matter out of your pores. Be sure to have performed the prior steps a few times before you start doing this. Don't do it if your skin is inflamed. To check which part of your skin, use a mirror to examine your skin closely. Look for black or white spots on your skin.
- Repeat steps 3 to 5 several times, depending on how oily your skin is.
- To check how oily your skin is, rub your finger against the side of your nose. If your finger has a shiny look, there is a lot of oil (sebum). Oily skin requires extra care. Some people excrete more sebum than do other people. During puberty, the hormones of teenagers are temporarily out of whack, and sebum production is increased.
- This procedure should be performed at regular intervals. At least once a day, preferably in the evening. You may find solid substances that have come out of your pores when you wake up the next morning.
- Do not worry if you fail to clean your face a few times. Pimples need a certain amount of time to develop. Even when your skin becomes slightly reddish, pimples can still be avoided. As long as you get your pores unclogged in time, you are in good shape.
The effectiveness of this routine depends on how severely clogged your pores are. If a pore is clogged really badly, then it's too late, and you'll need something else. But most clogged pores should clear up, as long as you take care of them at an early stage.
Doing Nothing Won't Change a Thing, It's Up to You to Make a Difference
Like many others before me, I've had my own share of battles with pimples when I was a teenager. The home remedy mentioned above has been very effective for me when it comes to pimples. The good thing is that it's completely natural, and there are no chemicals like some commercial products, which may sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people.
Even regular soap can dry out and irritate the skin in some people if used too much. Keep in mind that some people will get pimples no matter what they do. The best you can do is to take good care of your skin as much as possible and hope for the best. That should reduce the number of pimple outbreaks, even if you cannot completely prevent them from occurring. Preventing something is still better than getting a cure.
While the routine described above may not be able to replace some of the products currently available, it's better than doing nothing. Sure it takes up time, but the effort can be well worth it. It's affordable, doesn't take long, and it's available to everyone. Try it for yourself and see the results.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 John Tsang