Two days before her wedding to her long time fiancée and father to her son Marcus in August last year, 33 year old Jenny woke up to find that her face and upper back had broken out in unsightly blemishes.
They were pinkish in colour and painful to the touch. At first, she wondered what the swellings on her face were. A quick look in the mirror confirmed her worst fears. She had a blemish breakout, TWO days to her wedding.
“I was horrified!” Jenny remembers. “I immediately called my maid of honour into my room.”
Jenny’s maid of honour was equally horrified by the outbreak, and had no idea what to do. And if bad couldn’t get worse, the swellings released yellow pus whenever Jenny squeezed them.
My face started to smell. I felt so bad and so embarrassed. How was I going to face Martin (her fiancée) with all those spots on my skin?
-Jenny speaks of the ordeal.
The guilt Jenny felt only added to her confusion. “Why did they choose my wedding day in the first place? What had I done wrong?”
Even though she didn’t tell anyone, the blemishes made Jenny feel so ugly that she actually considered bailing on her own wedding.
Raina’s story is another common tale among people faced with blemish breakouts. Now 17, Raina experienced her first breakout when she was 14.
For Raina, the sudden occurrence of the condition is part of what alarmed her.
One morning I had the best skin, and the next morning I felt like the ugliest person in the world.
“I woke up to find all these funny swellings on my forehead and under my skin that I couldn’t understand. Against my skin, they looked like pinkish black spots.”
Unlike many a budding teenage girl, Raina wasn’t instantly taken up by the new development on her skin.
“I thought it would go away as quickly as it had come”, she notes.
But her blemishes weren’t planning to fade. They had come to stay. Raina started to think it was an allergy that was causing her blemishes. She checked the water she was using, the food she was eating and even stopped eating the new chocolate bars she’d started to depend on.
Nothing helped. 🙁
Her pimples grew bigger, and the upper back of her chest started to fill up with ugly black spots. Not even washing her face twice a day could wash them off. All this affected Raina psychologically, and she suffered a nervous breakdown. Her mother’s efforts to explain adolescence to her did nothing to save her self-esteem.
“My mum told me it was acne and that many teenagers got it just like me.”, she says. “Naturally I didn’t believe her.”
When she realized that they weren’t going away, Raina settled for her fate and decided to make changes that would help disguise her condition. She started dodging some classes at school and wore fully covering clothing to keep her acne under wraps. When the swellings on her face worsened she started to wear her hair long to cover her face and cut her front hair into long fringes.
“By December, I didn’t recognize my former self anymore.” Raina muses.
I stopped being social and stayed home most of the time to avoid being laughed at. The sad part is that I didn’t think I could get my skin back.
For Alicia, a sales executive with a top marketing firm in California, the occurrence of skin blemishes got her by surprise.
“The first time I got a skin breakout, I had just arrived home from another of my business trips to LA.”, she remembers. “The last thing I expected was a breakout on my face”
What stunned her was that she didn’t think she was a prime candidate for the condition; none of her family members had acne and she’d long said bye to teenage pimples. In fact, she worked out on a daily and used only the skin care products her doctor recommended. In other words, she was practically safe from any type of skin blemish attack.
How then did she get it?
The second time the incident occurred in similar fashion, Alicia spotted a trend and decided to dig further. A visit to her doctor gave her the last answer she expected.
“My doctor asked me about how often I got these breakouts.” she says.
When I told him it was always after a long flight, he told me the flights were probably to blame. That surely got me by surprise.
To many people, acne and other skin blemishes are exclusive to teenagers, adolescents and women with hormonal disruptions and surges. What most people don’t know is that skin blemishes may continue in some individuals until they are way over 30, as 33 year old Jenny learnt the hard way, and that they cannot be brought on by the most unusual circumstances, like in Alicia’s situation.
In later sections of this article, we discuss how plane flights can cause breakouts.
Jenny, Raina and Alicia are just some of the millions of individuals that suffer from skin blemishes around the world, most of them expecting no form of treatment either. Even the few that have access to treatment tend to find it expensive in the long run or just simply ineffective.
The condition was found to be the 8th most prevalent condition globally in 2016 with over 663 million people battling skin blemishes every day around the world.
For women, skin blemishes can be disastrous in many ways. The skin has always been a major part of the body in a woman’s appearance, making any form of ailment an attack on the woman’s self-esteem.
As most makeup artists and women would know, there’s always the option of applying concealer makeup every morning to hide the acne and pimples, but that is just a short term remedy. Some types of makeup actually worsen the blemishes.
In this article, we bring you a detailed, in-depth discussion on blemishes, what they are, what causes them, how risky they are and what you can do to keep them in check.
Are you faced with a sudden blemish breakout yourself?
Is it a friend you know or just interested in learning more about skin blemishes?
Read further to find out more about this condition and get the answers on how to have a clear skin and how to get rid of blemishes too!
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Blemish?
- 2 What Causes Skin Blemishes?
- 3 Why Me?
- 3.1 You don’t shower or wipe your face after exercise
- 3.2 You are undergoing a great deal of stress
- 3.3 Your body is releasing too much androgen (male hormones)
- 3.4 Your skin is exposed to the sun a lot
- 3.5 You touch your face a lot throughout the day
- 3.6 You squeeze your pimples
- 3.7 You sleep with your makeup on at night
- 3.8 You might be consuming too much dairy
- 3.9 You are using new skin care products
- 3.10 You may be drying your face ALOT.
- 3.11 You smoke
- 3.12 You live or work in an environment of low humidity
- 3.13 You might be binging on spicy foods
- 3.14 You might be overusing topical spot treatments
- 3.15 You are over scrubbing your face
- 3.16 It could be the hair products you are using.
- 3.17 It might also be your partner’s hair!
- 4 What You Can Do
- 4.1 Get hydrated
- 4.2 Wash your face three times a day
- 4.3 Shower after working out (or wipe yourself if you can’t shower)
- 4.4 Try exfoliating your skin one in a while
- 4.5 Get enough rest every night
- 4.6 Consider consuming less processed foods to limit the fat you consume
- 4.7 Consider diets with less sugar
- 4.8 Add more green vegetables to your diet
- 5 When to See a Dermatologist
- 5.1 The moment you identify blemishes on your skin
- 5.2 When all your treatments fail to work.
- 5.3 When you think your new medication is resulting in blemishes
- 5.4 When you badly need to squeeze a pimple
- 5.5 When you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant
- 5.6 When considering advanced treatment options such as surgery
- 6 The Diet Factor
- 7 Treating Blemishes For Good
- 8 How to Have a Clear Skin: Blemish Fighting Basics
- 9 Removing Blemishes
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Blemishes
- 11 Conclusion
What Is A Blemish?
A blemish, in any form, is anything that distorts the original appearance of a material or object from its original. In similar fashion, skin blemishes occur on the skin, distorting its smoothness, colour and make up.
Skin blemishes occur on almost every section of the body, including the face, the back, and yes, the butt. They commonly appear in form of pimples, whiteheads, black heads, pustules/lesions, acne and unusual rashes.
They may appear above the skin as with pimples, blackheads and acne or below, as with lesions and pustules. In every case, the effect on your skin is aesthetically negative.
To learn how to get rid of blemishes, you must know what causes them first.
What Causes Skin Blemishes?
The general cause of blemishes is attributed to the presence of excess oil on the skin. The excess oil or sebum is released by the sebaceous glands in the skin, its role is to keep the skin supple and smooth. When a lot of this oil is released, it accumulates on the skin, in skin pores and in hair follicles, mixing up with dead cells and bodily dirt and blocking the follicles in the process. This results in the formation of various bodies, including whiteheads, black heads and more, which appear on the skin. The sebum/oil also facilitates the growth of the bacteria P. acnes, which is a key player in the formation of pimple and pustules beneath the skin. Acne, pimples and other forms of blemishes usually highlight a host of other internal ailments within the body. The common examples of skin blemishes include;
- Black heads
- Dark spots
Others include; Sun spots These result from over exposure to the sun, which produces permanent dark freckles, usually on one side of the face. Melasma This condition results from a combination of hormonal changes and exposure to the sun. The major factors that cause skin blemishes include;
Stress in the body triggers the secretion of a steroid known as cortisol from the adrenal glands, which directly stimulates the increased production of oil from the sebaceous glands in the skin. When this oil accumulates within hair follicles and blocks them, the victim gets a flare up of pimples and acne on their face and body.
Stress also worsens existing pimples and acne, resulting in bigger spots and more pain.
Even though there are over 50 million americans suffering from acne, pimples and other forms of skin blemishes today around the world, the effect they have is still personal. You may be asking yourself, “why me?”
There are millions of answers to that question. Apart from being genetically viable to the condition, there are many other reasons why you might be experiencing skin blemishes.
We have dug up the commonest and most obscure reasons as to why your body might be getting attacked by blemishes and listed them below. Some or all of these reasons may refer directly to you, so read further to find out.
You don’t shower or wipe your face after exercise
Exercise is a great way to clear your face of all its accumulated dirt and allow freshness to take over. But if you don’t shower after exercise, you are doing the opposite.
With exercise comes lots of sweat on almost every part of the body. Sweat contains bodily impurities that the body releases through exercise, and as such, has to be washed off immediately after.
Letting the sweat dry allows it to seep back into the pores, where it mixes with excess oil and dead skin cells to form clumps that later appear as pimples and lesions under the skin. Showering after exercise averts the danger that comes out of allowing this sweat to dry on your face.
Fitting simple exercises within daily activities is all the rage across the world today. People are now stretching up at work and in between chores, which gives them little time for showering.
If you are one of such people, simply wipe the sweat off your face and neck properly before getting back to work. It isn’t as complete as showering, but it’s better than letting the sweat seep back into the very skin it came from.
You are undergoing a great deal of stress
Are you keeping pent-up anger within you?
Is your job taking the toll on your life?
Are you faced with emotional troubles that won’t go away?
If your answers to these questions are positive, then you are experiencing some form of stress.
Stress affects the body in more ways than you can imagine. Whether physical or emotional, the body reacts to stress in different ways, resulting in various bodily ailments such as hair loss, body pain and skin blemishes.
If you are undergoing any form of stress, it might be the reason for your situation.
Your body is releasing too much androgen (male hormones)
This usually occurs in the adolescence stage of a person’s life. In women, the ovary produces more testosterone than usual, and in men, the testosterone is doubly released. The result is pimples, acne and other forms of blemishes on the skin.
If you’re still an adolescent, this is probably the biggest reason you’re getting these blemishes. They tend to disappear as you transition to puberty and maturity, so you don’t have to worry.
Another common case is POCS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which affect many women right from adolescence stage. This condition is marked by its effect on bodily testosterone levels in females, which it increases dramatically. In addition to all the other signs, skin blemishes such as pimples and acne are a common sight.
Your skin is exposed to the sun a lot
If you are one of those people that love the sun, this might be the cause of your blemishes. When you lie under the sun, as the summer commands most of us to, the sun releases enough heat to dry your whole skin in no time.
This dryness prompts the skin to release more oil for better skin health, which results in more pimples once you don’t wash it off.
You touch your face a lot throughout the day
This is common for almost everyone. Whether it’s resting your head on your plan on your office desk or brushing at your cheeks during conversations, there is always a reason to touch one’s face during the day more than once.
That wouldn’t be an issue. The trouble is, our hands carry a lot of germs and dirt courtesy of their ability to touch everything and everyone. And since germs are not visible to the naked guy and dirt may not be seen until it accumulates, we never consider washing our hands a priority.
That’s why touching your face A LOT throughout the day is dangerous. The dirt settles onto the skin and into the pores, mixing with the excess oil and blocking your hair follicles. The result is pimples, acne, blackheads and more.
You squeeze your pimples
For many people, squeezing pimples feels like the right thing to do when they attack the face. The idea is to remove the pus before it accumulates and flatten the swelling. This is not recommended.
When you squeeze or press your pimples, you push them even deeper into the skin, causing redness and worsening your situation. If you have a tendency to squeeze pimples the moment they develop, stop it immediately.
You sleep with your makeup on at night
Sure enough, applying makeup is easier than washing it off, especially if the latter is to be done after a tiring long night’s party.
But have you considered how detrimental sleeping with your make up on can be?
The make-up we use is made up of oils, pastes, colours and various other ingredients designed to enable it dry, glow, shine and last longer.
When you leave your makeup on through the night and sleep on it, all these ingredients get to be sucked into your body’s pores and hair follicles, clumping up with the sweat and oil already in there. The worst you can expect is under-skin lesions that fill up with pus as the days go on.
You might be consuming too much dairy
Despite your appetite and your personal convictions, too much dairy is not good for you and your body. Your body knows its limit, and once your intake goes overboard, the excess is released onto the skin in form of unsightly skin blemishes.
Some people may have no problem with large consumption of dairy, but for others, this is a common cause. If you start experiencing blemishes right after taking milk, yoghurt, cheese and other forms of dairy, this might be your cause.
To know whether dairy is causing your blemishes, try this simple experiment.
- Cut out all sources of dairy from your diet for a few days.
- If you notice that the blemishes start disappearing slowly, it is possible that the dairy products are responsible causing the skin to erupt in blemishes.
The next step is to determine how much dairy you should be consuming daily.
- Get back on your dairy diet again, albeit slowly with increasing amounts being consumed every day.
- Notice when new skin breakouts occur; that’s a sign of excess consumption. Start taking less than that amount every day.
You are using new skin care products
Sometimes, your skin care products might be containing pore clogging agents and ingredients. These seep into your pores with every application, resulting in the formation of clumps that causes akin blemishes to occur.
Some skin care products may not be compatible with your skin, resulting in skin blemishes after some days of use. In some cases, it is mixing more than one skin care product on your face during each application that results in skin blemishes.
You may be drying your face ALOT.
True, extreme oiliness of the skin is one way you can know if your sebaceous glands are producing too much sebum, but drying your face excessively after washing it isn’t the best remedy either. In fact, it might be the worst.
Dry skin is not good for you. The body knows that too, and has mechanisms in place to combat the condition as soon as it happens. When you dry your face too hard, the body stimulates the glands to release more oil to keep the skin supple.
In other words, drying your face results in more sebum production.
How’s that for more blemishes?
Smoking may make you feel so much better, but it doesn’t work quite as well for your facial skin. The smoke getting into contact with your skin tends to dry it out by absorbing moisture from it, causing your skin to go dry.
The resulting dryness prompts increased oil production in the face by the sebaceous glands, bringing on new blemishes. If you’re experiencing new blemishes whenever you smoke, this is probably the cause to check out.
You live or work in an environment of low humidity
Areas of low humidity have limited moisture, creating an imbalance that affects your body in more ways than one. The common examples are plane cabins, some offices and hot locations. Because of the low humidity, the warm air circulating around absorbs moisture from the body, especially the face, leaving it partially dry.
The body reacts to facial dryness by stimulating the skin to release more oil and maintain skin suppleness. The excess oil produced may clog in skin pores, mixing up with dead cells and forming different forms of skin blemishes.
Alicia’s case of skin breakouts falls under this category of causes. Her plane cabin exposed her to low humidity for long hours, drying up her face and pulling into motion a string of bodily activities that results in a breakout.
You might be binging on spicy foods
Your favourite spicy dish may be the reason you’re breaking out unexpectedly. Spicy foods have a high concentration of compounds such as acidic lycopene that alter body PH in some people and trigger breakouts on the skin.
In some cases, a particular spicy ingredient in your meals may be the cause of new skin blemishes. If you are experiencing new blemishes and have recently started using a new spice, consider limiting its usage.
You might be overusing topical spot treatments
Topical spot treatments such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are designed to unclog the pores in the affected area and minimise sebum production. Applying too much of these creams and lotions can result in a drier skin, triggering even more sebum production.
Additionally, these treatments can burn your face when applied wrongly, making pimples more visible and more inflamed.
You are over scrubbing your face
Doing away with excess oil by washing your face regularly is one thing. Scrubbing your face too hard every time you wash is another. The latter isn’t recommended.
The skin has naturally occurring bacteria called P. acne which are major players in the formation of pimples or lesions that appear as swellings above or below the skin. Scrubbing your face too hard results in the spreading of these bacteria across your face, resulting in more blemishes in new parts of your face.
It could be the hair products you are using.
While skin breakouts may not affect your hair, your hair products might be the reason to blame for your sudden blemishes. Some hair cleaning products are comprised of skin clogging ingredients, while others add oil to your skin as you use them.
As you wash your hair every day, these hair products get into contact with your face, upper back, neck and shoulders, resulting in breakouts.
It might also be your partner’s hair!
Don’t laugh – this is true. The skin on your face is particularly sensitive, and any form of prodding or piercing may trigger a wave of activities under the skin.
If your partner’s hair gets into contact with your face, say through kissing, hugging or cuddling, the skin may release more oil for your face almost instantaneously, and sometimes in excess.
Any skin blemishes occurring on the lower half of the face are attributed to hormone and the effect of their fluctuations. These parts of the face are usually affected during menstruation in many women, and when breastfeeding or during menopause.
Both male and female hormones exist in a woman’s body, with the latter being more pronounced than the former. Testosterone levels in women rise just before menstruation occurs, to a level higher than the existing female hormones including oestrogen. These hormonal changes result in blemishes in the lower half of the face.
What You Can Do
The first step in learning how to get rid of blemishes is knowing what you can do to in case they attack you. For all the above mentioned cases that may increase your risk of getting zits, there is a solution and an alternative you can consider. We recommend all of the activities listed below.
Yes – drink lots of water every day. Having enough water in the body facilitates proper bodily development, and keeps the skin supple all the time. Water is also necessary for a host of bodily healing actions, some of which are essential in battling skin blemishes.
Wash your face three times a day
Now that you know how dirty the human face can get within an hour, it makes a lot more sense to give it a through washing from time to time. The excess oil produced by the body needs to be washed off to prevent its accumulation in skin pores.
Doctors recommend washing your face up to three times a day and no more. While it’s important and useful, excessive washing may do more harm than good for your skin and the good bacteria that live on it.
Tip: Wash the face with soap and leave it to dry on its own.
Shower after working out (or wipe yourself if you can’t shower)
If your exercise regimen results in visible sweat, it is necessary to shower it off and reclaim freshness for your body. The body releases sweat whenever you work out as a way of getting rid of toxic bodily waste such as urea. Sweat also contains dirt from the body, so it has to be washed off.
Shower immediately after working out to wash off the sweat and prevent its effects, including bad odour and the blemishes that result from letting it in accumulate in pores. If you can’t access showers immediately after working out, use a wipe to dry off the sweat on your skin before it dries out.
Try exfoliating your skin one in a while
Dead skin cells are major players in the formation and development of skin blemishes. They mix up with excess oil and sweat to block skin pores and form clumps that later appear as pimples, blackheads or acne.
Get enough rest every night
We can’t emphasize this enough. Getting enough rest does more than just relieve stress or improve bodily metabolism. It also gives your skin a natural glow and helps in treating skin blemishes faster.
How much sleep is good enough?
Because most of our daily activities require us to be up earlier than usual or stay up late, most of us end up sleeping for less than 5 hours every night.
If you’re facing a sudden blemish attack, reorganise your schedule and increase the number of hours you get to sleep every night.
Consider consuming less processed foods to limit the fat you consume
They may be tasty and addictive, but processed foods, which include all types of packed food, fried food, deep fried foods, fried snacks and more, come with their disadvantages.
Some of these include high fat levels, thanks to their overall oiliness. If you are one of those that consumes processed foods on a daily basis, consider natural foods from the farmer’s market next to you for more balance.
Consider diets with less sugar
Besides uncontrollable weight gain, processed sugar also has an effect on your skin health and appearance. Many blemish victims have reported experiencing blemish attacks right after consuming so much sugar, proving its negative effects.
If you have recently taken to a diet with lots of sugar, adding natural foods is what you need to do. The body may need sugars to generate energy for body metabolism and development, but it also has a limit.
Add more green vegetables to your diet
Green vegetables do more than just complete your diet. These natural plants have a positive effect for your body, and in a particular way, your skin.
According to research, green vegetables such as cauli flower, broccoli, amaranthus, spinach and others also increase the alkalinity of your body, which balances the pH to appropriate levels.
When to See a Dermatologist
The moment you identify blemishes on your skin
Instead, go see a doctor. Nothing happens on your face for no reason. Your dermatologist will professionally identify the blemishes and prescribe treatment for the condition.
Our skins are different, as are the causes of various skin blemishes. Don’t go using medication before your condition is confirmed by a dermatologist.
When all your treatments fail to work.
If the treatment prescribed on your first visit is proving ineffective, it’s okay to visit your dermatologist. You should also visit a dermatologist if all your home remedies and other over the counter treatments stop working for one reason or another.
When you think your new medication is resulting in blemishes
If you’ve just received new medication for a new illness and you think it is resulting in blemishes, do not drop it at once.
See your dermatologist first to determine whether the new prescription is the cause and whether it ought to be changed, reduced or dropped for relief.
Some medications result in faster body cell production, which increases the amount of dead cells on the skin. Others cause blemishes as a side effect. Your dermatologist will be able to identify the actual cause and provide a solution.
When you badly need to squeeze a pimple
In situations such as upcoming weddings, public speeches or special television appearances where your face and upper back are likely to be the point of attention, you might consider squeezing your pimple. Talk to your dermatologist first before going ahead.
When you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant
It’s important to see your dermatologist in case you are pregnant and planning to treat your skin blemishes. Some medications have negative effects for foetuses such as birth defects, while others increase your risk of pregnancy mishaps and miscarriages. Your doctor will give you the treatment options you can consider for safe, controlled treatment.
When considering advanced treatment options such as surgery
If you have deep, ugly scars from acne and other blemishes, advanced treatment options such as surgery and laser resurfacing of the skin layer are more effective.
Considering their complex nature, consult with your dermatologist before going ahead. You can also discuss treatment alternatives.
The Diet Factor
While reports that associate diet with blemishes such as acne, blackheads and pimples are not very conclusive, there is evidence that the food you eat has an effect on your skin, and that some particular foods have particularly negative effects such as blemishes.
Oil free foods
When it comes to food, foods with a high oil and fat composition are not good for your skin. They directly increase the amount of oil secreted onto the skin, triggering the formation of new blemishes.
How safe is oil free food?
Even after the packaging says ‘oil free’, it is not guaranteed that the food will be 100% safe for your skin. If you’re suffering from an attack of blemishes, consider leaving any fatty foods from your diet for some time.
Will it make me breakout?
In order to learn how to get rid of blemishes, it is important to know the foods that may result in a breakout for you. It is important to remember that our bodies are different, which means that different foods may have different effects on different bodies.
We compiled a list of foods that commonly cause breakouts and skin blemishes.
- Junk food
- Red meat
- Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt etc.
NOTE: Unless you have an allergy to any of the foods listed above, consuming them in limited amounts is okay for the body. The skin usually reacts with blemishes when you consume too much of them than is necessary.
The foods to consider
As always, a balanced diet is recommended for proper bodily development and performance. To beat blemishes, consider a diet that has a wide range of green vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, cereals, pulses, fresh fruit etc.
Water is another necessary addition to your diet; it helps to keep you hydrated and ensures a supple skin.
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Treating Blemishes For Good
Everyone wants to know how to have a clear skin. When it comes to treating skin blemishes, there is no immediate form of medication. Every form of medication has to be used for some time to get results.
Treatment varies in nature, and depends on the severity of the blemishes. For some blemishes such as basic acne, blackheads or pimples, deep exfoliation treatments are the most effective. They work by killing the P. acne bacteria, reducing inflammation, doing way with dead skin and moisturizing the skin. Consult your dermatologist before going ahead to confirm if you’re fit for the exercise.
For severe acne, the most recommended treatment options are topical treatments such as antibiotics, salicylic acid, retinoids and oral antibiotics. These have to be applied on a daily basis without fail to see results.
For pigmentation scars resulting from acne, hydroquinone is the recommended medication to use. Other medicines with brightening agents or Vitamin C are good alternatives, and can be accessed over the counter.
If the scars are deeper and more severe, laser layer resurfacing is the more recommended option. It is more advanced in nature and highly effective.
If you’ve been diagnosed with melasma, talk to your doctor about microdermabrasion. You should also consider using recommended sunscreen brands.
How to Have a Clear Skin: Blemish Fighting Basics
There are number of treatments you can use to beat blemishes. Over the years, medical researchers have come up with various modes of treatment that have proven effective for most people and become hugely popular worldwide. We take a simple look at how each works and what you should know before embarking on any form of treatment.
Salicylic acid is applied topically to the skin to counter attack the P. acne bacteria that result in clumping and swelling.
It unblocks skin pores and prevents further blocking by triggering faster shedding of epithelial skin cells. Salicylic acid is also effective at inhibiting further bacterial reproduction in the hair follicles.
Daily application is required for satisfactory effects, even though dryness of skin and occasional peeling may be seen.
To prevent, limit and inhibit the destructive microbial action of P. acnes on the skin, topical antibiotics are commonly administered, especially for basic to mild acne.
Some of the most recommended prescription antibiotics include tetracyclines, clindamycin, erythromycin, metronidazole etc. Bacteria has been discovered to develop resistance to erythromycin after some time, so alternative antibiotics may be considered instead.
You can get these from your doctor or the nearest pharmacy over the counter
Benzoyl peroxide is one of the commonly prescribed medications for treating skin blemishes and inflammation. Benzoyl peroxide is recommended for its effectiveness in killing P. acnes, the bacteria that causes pustules and other blemishes to develop.
Benzoyl peroxide works by oxidizing the proteins that make up the bacteria into oxygen free radicals and benzoic acid, killing them. For effective application, benzoyl peroxide is prescribed along with another antibiotic such as clindamycin.
Note: Expect side effects such as minimal skin irritation, redness of affected area, skin dryness, peeling of skin and increased sensitivity of skin to light
Tretinoin is a topical remedy derived from Vitamin A compounds called retinoids. Tretinoin is highly regarded for its ability to enable slow, controlled healing, which directly limits limitation. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make it effective against acne and other skin lesions. Tretinoins may be prescribed in its original form (such as with Retin-A), or in specially prepared medications (such as with Micro and Avita).
Tretinoins work by normalizing cell function and development and increasing turnover in cell regeneration within glands and follicles. They also inhibit the development of pre acne swellings.
Differin is another topical cream commonly recommended for skin blemishes by doctors. It is also made from Vitamin A compounds called retinoids, and works by binding to receptors within the skin.
Differin is preferred for its ability to protect the skin from sunlight and minimize skin irritation while in action.
To Note: Both differin and tretinoin can cause redness, dryness and irritation, so they have to be applied followed a doctor’s guidance.
Azelaic acid is highly regarded by dermatologists for its effectiveness and limited side effects. Performance wise, azelaic acid’s effectiveness can be compared to a concentration of benzoyl peroxide, isotretinoin and the antibiotic erythromycin.
The acid works by minimizing the accumulation of dead skin cells within hair follicles, which prevents inflammation and clumping. For victims of deep scarring because of acne, azelaic acid also comes in handy with its skin lightening properties.
For effective application, azelaic acid at 20% concentration is administered twice a day for six months.
As the name suggests, oral antibiotics are taken in through the mouth as prescribed a medical doctor. The commonest oral antibiotics prescribed for acne and other skin blemishes include tetracycline and erythromycin.
Both drugs come with limitations you should consider; tetracycline is not recommended for use during breastfeeding or pregnancy while erythromycin tends to weaken in potency against blemishes over time.
If oral antibiotics are to be taken for a long time, a retinoid or benzoyl peroxide should be administered to minimize bacterial resistance to the antibiotics.
Birth control pills for acne
In many women and men, acne and other forms of skin blemishes are triggered by an increase in production of male hormones, otherwise known as testosterone.
Birth control pills are usually prescribed for this condition, thanks to the ability of estrogen to combat excess testosterone secretion. Some birth control pills such as Yasmin work by totally inhibiting male hormone activity in the body while others work by blocking male hormone receptors in the skin.
Also commonly prescribed for skin blemishes is Accutane, also known as Isotretinoin. It limits the production of sebum from within the skin by reducing the size of the sebaceous glands hat lie underneath.
Accutane pregnancy warnings ignored
Courtesy of its strength at treating skin blemishes, Accutane also has negative side effects for unborn babies, regardless of stage.
Only consider using Accutane on your body if your acne is proving to be unmanageable with any other medications. And when you do, speak to your dermatologist about it first. It is highly recommended that you take pregnancy tests every month to confirm that you are negative for as long as you use the drug.
Depression from Accutane
Despite its strong points, Accutane is also known to trigger depression in some patients before their doses are complete. If you start experiencing signs and symptoms of depression, ask your doctor for the possible alternatives you can use.
Handling the side effects of Accutane
Accutane is quite strong, and may result in temporary sores and scars around the mouth during treatment. If you experience any strong side effects after using the medication, talk to your doctor about how to handle them.
Hormone blockers for acne
In some cases, your dermatologist might suggest trying hormone blockers to combat your blemishes. This is usually if your blemishes are caused by hormonal changes resulting from a surge in male hormones, especially in women.
Hormone blockers work by inhibiting testosterone from working and prompting further changes in the body, including new blemish/acne development.
What about oral supplements for acne?
Oral supplements are usually prescribed for acne and recommended by dermatologists. These are commonly for nutrients such As Vitamin C, which is effective in facial nourishment and treatment.
How to Get Rid Of Blemishes: Using Facial Masks
If you are considering facial masks for your skin blemishes, go right ahead. Facial masks are not just for cleaning and tightening skin; they help with unclogging pores and combating skin blemishes too.
Consider some of these facial masks for more satisfactory results.
As crazy as it sounds, the egg mask is one of the most sought after treatments for nourishing the skin today. Eggs, by nature, are rich in a number of nutrients such as zinc that the body needs.
The egg mask works by drawing dirt from the pores and excess oil from the skin, cleaning it up in the process.
Yoghurt makes for one of the best face masks ever, thanks to its mineral composition that includes lactic acid, zinc, B vitamins, calcium and more.
Lactic acid is effective in dead cell exfoliation while zinc is known for its destructive action against P. acnes bacteria.
Baking soda’ mild abrasive nature makes it a perfect fit for cleaning the face and exfoliating the dead cells away. It also fixes the skin’s PH. Together, yoghurt and baking soda create one of the best facial masks you can apply to combat skin blemishes.
Sometimes, you’ve got to save the sweetness for the face too! Honey’s abilities in cleaning and nourishing the face are quite advanced, which makes it good for combating acne and other skin blemishes when applied to the face.
Combining it with yoghurt to form a paste makes for a perfect remedy that gives satisfactory results.
Other facial masks you can use include; yoghurt and oatmeal, yoghurt and lemon, etc.
For effective application, apply the face mask on your face for some time and then wash it off.
When Jenny (from above) saw the blemishes on her skin two days to her wedding, the last thing she could imagine was them being removed. It seemed so impossible, and she started considering more fulfilling, though temporary remedies such as heavy makeup to cover them up.
The fact is, some blemishes can be removed from the skin. It may not be permanent, but it works wonders when tried. The first blemish removal tool that comes to mind is the pore strip, whose popularity and effectiveness have extended across the world.
How Effective Are Pore Strips?
Pore strips are quite effective in removing skin blemishes, albeit on a temporary basis. To use pore strips, all you have to do is wet your face or the affected area with warm water and then apply the Band-Aid resembling strip onto the affected area.
The strip comes with adhesive, and pulling it off the skin enables the removal of dead skin cells and blackhead tips.
Effective enough? 😀
Gauging effectiveness, pore strips are not that effective, except for short term use. Their use does not stop the production of new blackheads from underneath the skin, which is a downside to complete treatment. Using pore strips only removes the tips of blackheads, leaving their roots within the pore.
If you’re looking for complete, long term treatment from blemishes, consider deep pore cleansing regimens to battle the blemishes more effectively.
You still need sunscreen
Yes, you heard that right. If you have acne or some other skin blemish, you need sunscreen. Its common knowledge that sunscreen is a must before anyone goes out into the sun for long hours.
Even with blemish attacks, you still need to use sunscreen to keep dangerous sun rays away from your body. Sunscreen also prevents burning and redness for your already damaged skin, giving it a layer of protection instead.
Additionally, people using some treatments for acne such as benzoyl peroxide are prone to burning from the sun. For safety, application of sunscreen is a must for them before stepping out.
Can sunscreen make you breakout?
Yes. Especially if the wrong type of sunscreen is applied to an acne prone skin. The best way to avoid that is by looking up the ideal sunscreen type for your skin type, basing on how oily, shiny or sensitive it is.
What are the sunscreen options available?
The good news is that when it comes to sunscreen, one size never fits all. There are lots of options to choose from starting from brands, strength, skin compatibility and more.
If you’re looking to pick a sunscreen brand to protect your acne-prone skin, you have a variety of options to choose from. You can also apply powder sunscreen on top of makeup. It keeps the make up in place and still protects your skin.
Some tips to consider regarding sunscreen…
Always go for the sunscreen brands that have ‘non comedogenic’ listed on their packaging. That means that their ingredients do not clog or block skin pores during use.
Do not pick any sunscreen brand just because it’s marked as ‘oil free’. Some brands have that labelling even when they still contain ingredients such as lanolin, which is an oil. The last thing you need is sunscreen that adds more oil to your skin rather than protect it.
Always pick the right sunscreen for your skin tone and type. Talk to your dermatologist about the right sunscreen type for you.
Don’t cover the whole body with sunscreen before stepping out; it till needs some sunshine to absorb vitamin D, especially in the early mornings and afternoons. Wait for some time while in the sun and then apply the sunscreen thoroughly.
Battle Plans for Fighting Blemishes
Battling blackheads and large pores
Blackheads and large pores are some of the commonest forms of skin blemishes, and happen alongside each other. In order to have a clear understanding on how to have a clear skin, you need to know blackheads and large pores occur.
When excess oil, accumulated dead skin cells, sweat and dirt mix up within pores, they clump up to form rod like structures that fill up the pore. When the tip of this rod gets into contact with air outside the pore, oxidation occurs, forming a blackhead.
Blackheads commonly occur around the nose, and may cover a larger facial area as time goes by. To remove blackheads, a number of treatment options (most listed above) are available.
Some tips for battling blackheads…
Wash your make up off before bed
Leaving make up on when going to bed is one of the primary causes of blackheads. Endeavor to wash it off slowly with warm water; it opens up the pores and de-clogs them of the day’s accumulated dirt.
Always exfoliate with a non-abrasive BHA liquid
Exfoliation ensures that dead skin cells are washed off the skin regularly, minimizing their accumulation in skin pores and preventing the formation of blackheads.
Don’t squeeze your blackheads
This only results in further inflammation on your face/body. Do not try to poke the blackheads out of the skin with harp instruments either.
Don’t use pore strips – go for actual extraction
Blackheads go deeper into the skin than normal eyes can see. That means that using pores strips to remove blackheads isn’t necessarily effective. Deep extraction done by a professional dermatologist is more recommended.
While acne, blackheads and pustules are uncomfortable in their own right, large pores are another form of blemish that deserve mention.
Skin pores allow the skin to breathe, and facilitate the transfer of sebum from the sebaceous glands onto the skin to keep it oiled.
Normal sized pores perform their function well.
Large pores don’t; they are wider in size, thereby increasing the amount of oil deposited on the face. After they attack, they make you look ugly, make your face rougher and appear like deep pink holes on the nose and cheeks.
Normal pores are widened by genetic influences, exposure to sunlight, poor skin care and many other factors.
How to Battle Empty Enlarged Pores?
Having large pores doesn’t have to be permanent. The skin around them can always be loosened and treated to allow them get back to their normal size and minimize further damage.
To treat enlarged pores, the treatment alternatives to consider include deep pore cleansing, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion and chemical peels, Salicylic acid and retinoids are also usually prescribed by dermatologists to combat this issue.
Trying to battle enlarged pores from home with ease?
You’ve got options too!
There are a number of tips and home-based remedies you can apply without stretching your wallet further than its limit. Some of them are listed below;
Consider pore minimizing products. Add them to your daily facial cleaning regimen to facilitate easier removal of accumulated dead cells and minimized production of sebum from under the skin.
Remember to look for products from top, trusted brands like Neutrogena, Clinique and Lancôme etc.
Ensure to exfoliate at least twice a week to do away with the dead cells on your skin. Exfoliation not only minimizes the large pores; it also smoothens the skin, improves its texture, controls aging and treats blemishes.
Reduce the excess oil on your face whenever you can. This can be by regular washing of the face or application of pre cleansing agents deigned to de-clog pores.
When washing, use a Vitamin C or retinol based face wash. Their antioxidant properties facilitate increased elasticity, loosening of pores, increased collagen in the skin and pore cleansing.
Consider doing a facial mask. Facial masks, when well done, help with facial skin tightening and minimizing of large pores indefinitely. They work by cleaning the impurities out of your pores, including dead cells, excess oil and bacteria. The good part is that you can always make your facial mask from home with natural herbs and fruits or buy it from trusted sources at affordable prices.
Remember to apply ice on your pores before any cleansing session. Ice application makes cleansing easier by drawing out dirt and dead cells before closing the pores.
Keep irritants off your face. Irritation widens and reddens your large pores, making them more visible.
Other treatments to consider
Calamine lotion absorbs excess oil from the skin, leaving it drier and minimizing the clumping action within follicles. To apply, simply squeeze a drop of the lotion onto your hands, rub it on the blemishes and leave it on for some time.
Ice has a powerful effect on most forms of bodily inflammation, including facial swellings. To use, simply wrap ice in a clean cloth and apply on the affected area for some time every day.
Chemical peels are applied to clean away the top skin layer, sometimes with negative effects such as itching and dryness, as way of allowing fresh skin to grow.
Laser layer resurfacing
This is an advanced procedure that involves removing the top layer of the skin as way of exfoliating the dead cells away. This gives the new cells room to develop, producing a fresh, younger skin. This treatment is carried out for a long period of time, usually up to 12 weeks.
Considering its advanced nature, surgery is usually carried out on deep scars left by acne and other skin blemishes.
Frequently Asked Questions about Blemishes
Use CTRL+F (Win) or CMD+F (Mac) to search for topics, we have covered all the most commonly asked questions about blemishes in these FAQs. If we missed something out, let us know via the comments section and we will keep updating this list.
How to Use Blemish Extractor?
The best answer to ‘how to use blemish extractor‘ is not to use it at all. Professional blackhead extraction should be done by a licensed dermatologist instead.
Despite popular belief and what the internet says about using them, extracting blackheads and other forms of blemishes on your own, with or without the extracting instruments, is dangerous.
There is a high chance that you will infect other parts of the skin, that you will bleed a lot, that you will scar the skin and that you will push the infection further into extractor the right way.
Still, if you are already planning on going ahead, here’s how to use blemish extractor properly.
Pick up the right blackhead extractor for your face. Do some research about the best tool models before buying online.
Clean up. Wash your hands with soap and water and then disinfect the extractor with disinfectant.
Rinse your face with warm water or rub it with a warm wet cloth to stimulate the pores and open them.
Sterilize your face by rubbing alcohol pads on the area you intend to treat.
Place the round open loop of the extractor’s tip around the blackhead and gently press it onto the skin around the blemish.
For whiteheads, turn the blemish extracting tool around and use its other sharp edged tip to cut the skin on top of the whitehead. Use the loop again as in the step above to press the area around the whitehead and push it out.
Push around gently from side to side until you see blackheads being pushed out, followed by oil.
If any bleeding occurs, dab it softly with cotton or hold and hold it in place until the bleeding stops.
Wash the face and disinfect it with a cleanser or alcohol pads. This also applies to the area that’s how to use around the face.
That’s how to use blemish extractor for satisfactory results.
How to Lighten Acne Marks?
If you have treated your acne but still want to know how to lighten acne marks that result from treatment, the answer is simple. There are a number of options you can use. Consider;
Skin lightening products form trusted brands such as Clinique’s Dark Spot Corrector. These products are specially designed to lighten the dark areas left by acne scars whenever they are applied without causing further damage.
Vitamin C based topical creams. Vitamin C is perhaps one of the best natural skin lighteners you can ever use. It can also be applied all over the face for more nourishment.
Natural home remedies such as lemon juice, which works wonders on acne spots. Remember to dilute it first.
Facial masks such as a mixture of honey and yoghurt and leave it on the face for some time.
How to Get Rid of Acne Discoloration?
Where to Buy Blemish Extractor?
How to Get Rid of Blemishes?
What Is Blemish Corrector?
Blemish correctors are cosmetic treatment solutions applied to faces to conceal blemishes and even out the skin before or after make-up. Usually, the user is required to smear a drop or more over the affected area of the skin for a few days to see results. They work by minimizing sebum production and inhibiting the enlargement of existing pimples/blemishes such that they don’t distort makeup.
They are perfect for individuals that want to conceal the marks left by blemish treatment without applying makeup.
What Is Blemish Solver?
What Does Blemish Look Like?
What Is Blemish Gel and what does it do?
Blemish gels are liquid like solutions applied on skin blemishes for quick treatment and clearing, usually before application of makeup. They are usually comprised of a number of blemish treating ingredients such as salicylic acid, AHA and BHA compounds, antibiotics and inflammation soothers.
People with skin blemish attacks may experience pain and trouble when applying make-up. Blemish gel dries the swollen spots, shrinks them in size and reduces redness. It makes the whole process easier by blocking the pores from being filled by makeup, soothes itching and calms inflammation.
When to Apply Blemish Gel?
What Does Blemish Control Toner Do?
What Does Blemish Mean in The Bible?
According to the King James Bible, to blemish is ‘to mark with deformity; to injure or impair anything which is well formed, or excellent; to mar, or make defective, either the body or the mind.
A blemish is also defined as a ’mark of deformity; any scar or defect that diminishes beauty; or renders imperfect that which is well formed.
Why Blemishes Occur?
Part of the answer to why blemishes occur is listed in earlier sections of this article. But the major reason as to why blemishes occur is the body’s production of excess oil from the skin. This oil, or sebum, then mixes up with dead skin cells and dirt from the skin to form a clump that expands to block the pore. This clump may get exposed to air and form a blackhead. Or it might get covered inside the pore and form a whitehead. In the presence of P. acne bacteria, pustules, or pus filled pimples are formed beneath the skin.
Blemishes occur because of a number of reasons including genetics, stress and hormonal imbalance.
Are Freckles a Blemish?
What Are Blemish Balm Creams?
Blemish balm creams or BB creams as they are commonly known, are al-in-one solutions applied onto the skin with functions that include priming, moisturizing, concealing, providing a foundation and treatment. In other words, blemish balm creams are a hybrid of many other facial make up and treatment essentials. Al you have to do is to apply a BB cream once to cover all your makeup kits.
Blemish balm creams may additionally provide sunscreen protection, anti-aging properties, skin tone evening, and skin smoothening and more.
Which Blemish Balm Cream Is Best?
With many top brands releasing their own BB balms, a number of varieties are now available on the market. Blemish balm creams also vary in quality and strength, with some creams being better at one feature, such as moisturizing, than any other features it is designed to achieve. Some of the recommended top BB cream brands include Clinique, Dr. Jart+, M. A. C, La Roche-Posay Effaclar, L’Oreal, Laneige and more.
To pick the best blemish balm cream for you, read a few reviews on the internet first.
Are Blemish and Acne the Same?
Are Blemish Extractors Good?
Are Blemish Extractors Safe?
Jenny, Raina and Alicia all found themselves in difficult situations when their skin broke out in blemishes. But like hundreds of other happy women, they discovered treatment for their conditions without spending too much.
For Jenny, a facial mask made of yoghurt and baking soda was the solution that worked. She remembers how unsure she was before the experience.
“I wasn’t sure about the face mask, but I knew I could try anything if it promised to save my wedding day.” she says, “My friends said they knew it had worked for, and coerced me into trying it immediately.”
The results were beautiful. After four facial masking sessions that lasted an hour each, Jenny could see the changes start to take shape. Her face started to clear in all the right places, boosting her self-confidence.
When the day of her wedding to Marcus came, there was no one happier than Jenny to step out of the car and walk down the aisle.
Following her meeting with her doctor and understanding how closed spaces with low humidity affected her skin, Alicia started on a better facial management regimen. That included carrying enough moisturizer for her face wherever she travelled. She hasn’t had breakouts ever since.
Raina’s condition went back to normal when her doctor prescribed topical treatments for her acne. When she first applied the Retin-A, she couldn’t believe the results.
“Considering how much I’d suffered with acne for years, I didn’t think my condition was curable.” she says. “The treatment proved me wrong”
Raina has been using her topical antibiotics for years now, following her body’s positive response to them. Over the years, she has progressed to moisturizers, blemish control primers, cleansers and other treatment options to maintain a fresh skin and prevent blemish development.
Skin blemishes don’t have to change your life, lower your self-esteem or affect your health. They may happen normally, but they can also be treated to complete healing. Just remember that good skin hygiene is a must if skin blemishes are to be treated.
Here’s to a healthier, happier, and beautiful you!