You know you shouldn’t pick at your pimples, but what’s the harm, really? We explain that and more.
Contrary to popular belief, pimples and acne are not just a teenage nightmare, but a common problem among women (and men) of all ages. While they damage your skin permanently, they also do a number on your confidence. It’s therefore important to arm yourself with all the facts.
Here, we’ve rounded up experts-approved answers to some of the most common questions concerning pimples.
1 According to dermatologists, acne is a hormonal disorder of the skin, in which a high level of androgens produce more oil than necessary, resulting in an inflammation of the skin gland, or a pimple.
2 There are two primary types of pimples: Open and closed comedones, or blackheads and whiteheads. The former are caused by a blockage within the hair canal, which produces a solidified oil buildup, while the latter occur within the sebaceous follicle, producing a white tip.
3 While shaving itself cannot cause acne, not using the proper blade or shaving cream can cause your skin to become irritated or nicked.
4 If you’re seeing pimples on your cheeks or anywhere near the area where you hold your phone, they may be from those hour-long convos on your mobile phone. Your phone picks up lots of dirt and bacteria (from your hands, your bag, the food you eat), which can then get transferred to your face when you’re chatting on the phone. Wipe your screen with an anti-bacterial wipe often to get rid of dirt and germs.
5 Day-to-day stress that occurs in the workplace and in your personal life is not known to cause acne; profound tension, however, just may. Excessive stress may cause your body to produce an excess of hormones, which can cause you to break out.
6 Yes. Those who are prone to breakouts should wash their faces twice a day with a gentle cleanser that has been formulated for oily or acne-prone skin, as this will keep excess oil under control without stripping the skin. Remember that over washing or scrubbing too hard can dry out and irritate the skin, making the acne worse. You should also opt for a dermatologist-approved, oil-free moisturizer, as it will not clog your pores.
7 They might, but not for everyone. In most cases, the determining factor is the kind of acne from which the person suffers. Average comedones don’t usually induce scarring, but those with cysts and deep inflammatory papules are very much at risk.
8 It’s tempting to think that popping pimples will help them clear up faster. In reality, squeezing blackheads is a bad idea because it will only cause them to become inflamed. Popping whiteheads will only push the germs farther into the skin, resulting in soreness, redness and perhaps even a vicious infection. Furthermore, popping pimples can lead to permanent scarring.
(With inputs from Dr Amitabh Kumar, skin specialist, Max Hospital, Delhi, Dr V Karol, skin specialist, Delhi and Dr E Marmur, MD, founder of Marmur Medical.)
The author tweets as @SanyaHoon