How to reduce pimples
It happens. Without fail. They appear from nowhere.
The ghastly PIMPLE. Zit. Blemish.
Whatever you want to call it, when you see it you just cringe because it means you either go bare and freak out the masses, pop it and risk freaking out the masses, or paint your face to hide it. And possibly freak out the masses.
But where do pimples come from.
What causes them?
Being able to answer this question will help you organize and find a suitable facial cleaning routine, making your life, hopefully, less horrific (because let’s admit it, adulting is SCARY). It will also help you navigate the cleansers and moisturizers at the department stores.
The Science at Ground Zero: The Epidermis
This is the fancy name for your top layer of skin. This is the level that you can see.
The level that gets hurt when you have a paper cut. Essentially there are 3 layers to your skin.
The Epidermis is the top layer. In turn, Subcutaneous tissue or Hypodermis is the bottom later. Dermis, the middle layer, is where all the business happens.
There are sweat glands, sebaceous glands, hair follicles and blood vessels. It’s the powerhouse of your largest organ. It’s also where the life of a pimple starts.
Pimples actually start developing 2-3 weeks before you see them.
They start to develop when the sebaceous gland becomes more active.
This can be from dead skin cells blocking the pores or hair follicles becoming ingrown.
However it happens, something ends up blocking the pore and it gets stuck together by sebum, the oil produced by the gland, closing over the pore.
This then creates the infection that in turn creates the irritation you see at skin level.
Know Thy Enemy: Types of pimples.
If anyone has watched all of those zit pimples on Youtube, you will know that there are several types of pimple:
Whiteheads: aka comedones, the small buggers remain under skin looking like a flesh or white coloured blemish.
Blackheads: aka comedones, these guys are visible on the surface of the skin.
They are often discolored either due to hair, dirst or oxidation of the melanin, skin pigment.
These can vary in size and depth and sometimes require professional extraction (google Pore of a Winer and you will see what I mean.)
Papules are the little bumps that appear on the skin either from diet or sunburn and are often pink.
Pustules are the Hollywood of pimples.
Creating a white sac of pus with the bright red base, movies and tv shows over exaggerate these as the exploding pimples.
Nodules: the bigger uglier version of the whitehead, they can be painful and also require professional removal as they burrow deep.
Cysts: most are clearly visible on the skin with a yellowish sack that is quite hard or somewhat gelatinous.
These should only be removed by a professional as you would require stitches for sure, especially if you have Pilar Cysts, which burrow very deep.
They aren’t uniform in size and often require digging for removal.
You will be guaranteed a scar with these.
The Common Knowledge…
So as you and most people know, the causes to why we get blocked pores doesn’t just come from the dead skin cells and funky hairs.
Our lifestyle and health can affect it as well and exacerbate the infection.
The most common causes of lifestyle affected pimples include:
Smoking: Ok this is kind of obvious.
Naturally you are putting foreign, deadly chemicals into your body.
How does your body process these chemicals? It’s not coming from food so it can’t be expelled through your kidney and liver like most toxins can.
It gets into your blood stream and then eventually spreads to your skin cells, putting you at risk of squamous cell skin cancer.
It metastasizes and spreads if not early enough. A pretty good reason to quit.
Neglect of your skin care routine: Like anything, if you don’t look after it, it won’t look after you.
While some people are blessed with clear, or low maintenance skin, there are some that have to have that perfect routine.
But using the same facewash day in and day out for years doesn’t necessarily work either.
Some dermatologists suggest using different cleansers and moisturizers per season.
In the Winter, use cleansers that moisturize your skin against the dry winter conditions.
In spring, go for a cleanser that goes deeps and exfoliating to help rid of the harsh winter conditions.
Summer should be all about sun protection, lighter in weight and definitely no oils to combat the UV rays and humidity.
In Fall you go into repair mode again to fix the sun damage.
Hormones: as you grow and age your body and skin are always changing. As are your hormones.
In puberty you have crazy active hormones that are just going to town on your body.
So many changes happening at once and your body creates more oil, blocking those darn glands.
For women, the menstrual cycle, and reproductive issues including Poly Cystic Ovaries Syndrome and Menopause have adverse effects as well.
Some women break out every month, often in the same area, so you can use it as a predictor for your cycle.
Other women get the opposite and end up with dry skin too.
But mostly, because your body is going nuts with hormones it adds to the pain with zits.
Stress: This is pretty self-explanatory but it also has a strong impact on your body.
Stress affects sleeping patterns, mental and physical health and your diet. It has an accumulative effect that can cause hormone fluctuation which in turn causes the zits to appear. Sometimes in small amounts, sometimes in droves.
Diet: Another self-explanatory factor, the adage You are What You Eat, really applies to your skin.
If you body is overloaded with bad foods like added sugars, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, too much carbs or too much fats, like trans-fats, your body just doesn’t know what to do and deals with it by issuing marching orders to be sent to your skin.
Much like sweating the small stuff, you sweat the bad stuff too. as well as what you put into your body, your body sugar levels regulate your homes which release insulin into the blood and can make your blood get pimple happy and release more hormones through the skin.
Either way, your skin is one of the last organs that benefits from what you consume, so making sure you eat well is important.
Ok, so now that you’re armed with this information, go forth to your cleanser counter at your department store, or visit your preferred dermatologist to find a skin care routine that works.
Make sure you find a routine that is easy to alter for the seasons and you try and adjust your diet to improve what nutrients your skin receives. If you need to see a doctor, please do that too as it is better to be safe than sorry.
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