Makeup, Skin Care

Why shouldn’t I pick my face? Tips on dealing with blemishes

As a teenager and young adult we have been told to stop picking our faces. It is nearly impossible to resist the temptation when you are looking in the mirror and see an unsightly blemish that must go. Especially since they seem to turn up at the worst possible time. What you may not be thinking about is the damage you might inflict on your skin by popping that pimple.

What is Acne?

Acne is caused when hair follicles become plugged by oil and dead skin cells. If the openings are larger you end up with a blackhead and if the opening is small you end up with a whitehead. Both can develop into tender, red, swollen inflammations or pimples. No single factor causes acne but links have been made to hormone changes and, if you have oily/combination skin you are more prone to acne as your skin tends to overproduce oil.

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What’s the big deal?

So, you are thinking why shouldn’t I try to get rid of a blemish? Besides oil and dead skin cell build up, blemishes also contain bacteria. When you squeeze the blemish you may be pushing the bacteria deeper into your skin, causing a deeper inflammation and longer healing time. You are also breaking the barrier between that particular blemish and the rest of your skin. You could actually see more blemishes in that area by picking at it. If your nails and fingers are not clean you may also be introducing new bacteria to the area. Scarring can happen as fingernails and other tools can tear the skin. Scars take much longer to heal and disappear than a blemish. In some cases, scars may be permanent.

What can I do about a blemish?

One easy way to avoid acne is check your makeup bag. If you are using heavy foundations and creams, you may not need them or be using too much and not washing it off at night.  It is also possible you aren’t using the right cleansing/moisturizing products. Go through and evaluate your products to make sure you are using the correct ones. I have said it before, if it doesn’t work don’t be afraid to toss it. You aren’t doing your skin any favors by using a product that isn’t right just because you bought it.

It is also recommended to steer clear of pore strips. They could actually, over time, enlarge your pores, and they don’t really get the deep down portion of the blemish that is causing the problem. Products with salicylic acid are a better investment as they act like a exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and getting deep into the pore. Look for a toner you apply with a cotton swab directly after cleansing.

In reality, blemishes will heal themselves in about 3-7 days if left alone. Instead of picking, invest in a dry, non-comedogenic concealer to hide the visible redness. The dry concealers usually come in sticks or pots. Use a brush to get the product exactly where you need it and blend past the borders of the blemish for better coverage.

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Back to Basics, Skin Care

Back to Basics: The low down on exfoliating

Basic skin care wouldn’t be complete without an introduction to exfoliating. I must confess that exfoliator’s are my favorite skin care product. Exfoliating could be the extra boost you are looking for to complement your daily routine. The best part is: it benefits all skin types!

First, what is exfoliation? Exfoliation is the use of either manual, scrub, or chemical, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, means to remove the top layer of dead skin cells . This prompts the live cells deep in the skin to generate new cells, refreshing the outermost layer. Your skin can fully regenerate in 2-3 weeks.

So, now you may ask why you need to exfoliate if your skin automatically regenerates itself. Exfoliating immediately energizes your skin revealing a more radiant look. It feeds and nourishes from below through increased micro-circulation, circulation of blood in the smallest vessels, bringing oxygen to the top layer to stimulate circulation and regeneration.

If your skin is prone to breakouts exfoliating could be very helpful in clearing it up. Acne prone skin sheds more cells than other types and the dead cells don’t fall away. The cells stick to pores, causing excess oil to build up, ultimately clogging them and creating a breakout. Exfoliating removes the cells causing the blockage and when done regularly, it reduces the likelihood of future breakouts.

Moisturizers, creams and other products are better absorbed by the skin after exfoliating as the layers of dead skin cells no longer block them. This makes the products you use more effective, which is great news for your skin and wallet. Exfoliating regularly helps your skin to be properly moisturized, makeup go on smoother,  and more evenly.

When looking for an exfoliator steer clear of ones the use shells and other jagged, uneven materials. You are looking for smooth, uniform exfoliators so they evenly exfoliate your skin. You should also only exfoliate 2-3 times a week and never on back-to-back days as doing so more often can cause skin irritation. Test the exfoliator on the underside of your arm before use on your face to test for possible reactions.

If this is helpful follow me on twitter @mollybeaupre to learn when new posts are made. If you have questions or helpful suggestions leave a comment below!