With the rise of pimples videos, someone must become the world’s most pressing acne answering expert. So bless us living in a world where dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD has taken the title of brave Dr. Pimple Popper to knock out big pimples (have you seen her show on TLC yet?) And small.
There seems to be no limit to her extensive knowledge of all things acne-related, and since acne is the most common skin condition in America, I think it may be reasonable to reduce her extensive expertise to the 5 common questions she is asked on the reg. Below, she gives advice on some of the most common concerns around red, black, and white spots (this is like an old-fashioned joke about newspapers).
1. What kind of acne should you not squeeze?
I will like every dermatologist and tell you that there are no types of acne you should squeeze; however, there is a special type of acne that you should avoid to squeeze the most. If you have red acne that causes pain to the touch and is located deep under the skin, you should really avoid squeezing it. Deep acne is located too deep under the skin so squeezing and squeezing this skin will cause acne swelling, redness, burning pain, maybe even bigger pimples. In addition, the deeper the inflammatory acne under the skin, the higher the risk of permanent scarring. Instead, apply top-of-the-place treatment to target the problematic location —which will help treat that area and also remind you to stay away from your hands. Also, if you are having acne in adulthood, know that you are not alone:
2. What should I do when acne emerges just before a major event?
I always have one of these top-of-the-place treatments available for this reason — you never know when acne will emerge on its own. This is the best way to target an outbreak if you don’t get a chance to see a dermatologist. If you have blackheads or whiteheads, use my SLMD Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment ($25). Salicylic acid is an excellent beta-hydroxy acid that can crystals to a size small enough to go deep into your pores, clean dead skin cells, debris, and oil-in-causing acne. If you have a large, angry red swollen acne, try benzoyl peroxide. It is an antibacterial component that will kill bacteria that lead to acne and make acne less red and inflamed. If you are desperate and have the opportunity to see a dermatologist, you can make an appointment and ask them for low-effect corticosteroid injections that can make acne disappear in 24 hours.
3. Why do I have blackheads around my nose?
The nose has a higher oil gland density than most areas of skin on your face. In fact, the T-zone, which tends to focus on the highest oil glands, is why this area is where people often see pimples. The oil glands, also known as sebaceous glands, produce sebum (oil) and when it mixes with dirt and dead skin cells, bacteria will be interested, which can cause acne.
Whiteheads are white because they have a thin layer of skin on top, and blackheads open on the surface of the skin, the substances inside the pores are oxidized due to exposure to oxygen, which is why they are dark or black in color. The best way to treat both is to use exfoliating facial cleansing that will help clear pores and decompose sebum. In addition, retinol is also keratin, which means that it also helps to keep pores clean of blackheads and whiteheads, while also speeding up the regeneration of new skin cells. (Here’s more information about ICYWW retinol.)
4. Most acne treatments dry my skin – what can I do?
In general, the majority of patients with acne constantly tend to float more oil, since higher oil production is a common factor in the formation of acne. Unfortunately, this does not mean that people without oily skin also do not suffer from pimples. Since excess oil on your skin can be a factor causing acne to develop, it makes sense that many acne medications work by reducing skin oiliness. People with oily skin will feel less oily, but those with normal skin or dry skin will feel drier. Sometimes this dryness of the skin can lead to redness, irritation, scaling, and peeling. In general, my first advice is to always make sure you apply moisturizer after acne treatment.
Although a little dry skin due to acne treatment may be normal, there are some people who may find that they suffer from dryness or extreme irritation from acne ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide. Although this does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to a certain component, it can be annoying and if this is the case, you may want to avoid this specific acne component. In this case, you may want to switch to a less irritating product such as sulfur acne treatment. Sulfur helps control excess oil and prevents the growth of acne-causing bacteria, but is usually milder on the skin and less irritating.
5. How do you treat the obnoxious bruises left after squeezing acne?
Those dark spots are called post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH). The good news is that these types of bruises will most likely fade and disappear over time. The bad news is that sometimes it can take months for some of them to disappear altogether. You will notice that these stains will appear more pink, red, or darker brown depending on the color of your skin.
To accelerate the healing process, I recommend using ingredients such as salicylic acid and retinol, they will exfoliation the surface of the skin and help speed up cell regeneration to bring you youthful skin. Also, make sure you’re using and reapply the broad-spectrum SPF, as exposure to the sun will make those spots darker.
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