By Sharon Jane Akinyemi

My teenage daughter has become very conscious of her facial looks. She has also become very worried lately, having noticed some traces of acne on her beautiful face. She said to me- “mum this is not funny, what is happening to my face, oh my God what do I do, what do I use?” This lamentation goes on almost every day. At a point I was disturbed because I lacked what to say to her. But when I contacted an acne expert in the UK, she said to me, “Sharon your daughter is experiencing some physiological events which is normal for her age and probably her body make up.”

Hear what she said further to me: Acne is one of the most common conditions I help individuals with as a dermatologist. One of the toughest parts of treating acne is to get individuals to avoid picking their skin. The main reason to avoid doing so is to reduce the risk of permanent scarring and injury.

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Today’s health article provides an overview of why picking pimples is not a good idea.

Acne Scarring- Why You Should Never Pick Zits or Pop Pimples

A pimple is a bumpy lesion with swelling in the skin that frequently has a pustule on the top. You develop these due to skin pores that are clogged with oil, dirt and environmental debris. Having pimples on your skin can be really annoying. Whether you are a teenager, young adult, or 40 year-old, pimples cause embarrassment and take away from your self-esteem. They take away that fresh and radiant glow from your skin and leave it dull and unattractive.

Now as bad as pimples are, have you ever thought what could be worse than pimples? Well, the answer is acne scars definitely because pimples can disappear in few days or weeks, but acne scars are very difficult to deal with and can last a lifetime. According to Dr Weaver during a chat in 2013, it takes good amount of time, effort, and energy to remove acne scars.

One of the main reasons for the cause of acne scars is popping pimples with fingers, tweezers, bobby pins, or needles. It’s hard looking at a pimple and resisting the urge to pop it and help it to go away quicker. However, while some individuals can pick a pimple and never have a mark left behind, many individuals who pick it end up with changes in their skin that they wish did not occur. It is certainly not a pleasant experience to have pimples on your skin, but remember to be patient as picking zits can have long-term effects on your skin.

Here are a few reasons why you should never pick zits or pop your pimples:

It will cause acne scars

As mentioned earlier, picking acne breakouts is one of the main reasons for acne scarring. If you have ever had acne scars, you would certainly know how difficult it is to hide them and they are not something you really enjoy looking at.

There are several types of scars that can occur. The first are narrow holes in the skin that look like they could have been created with an ice pick, so they are sometimes referred to as “ice pick acne scars”.

Many individuals think that the pores have become enlarged on their skin, but in reality tiny depressions in the skin occur because tissue has been lost. These are the most difficult type of acne scars to correct and improving your appearance for these can require removing each individual scar and replacing it with a small skin graft to fill in the hole.

Due to the large number of scars present it can be impractical to try and correct this problem. Also, if you have a history of forming keloids or other alterations of wound healing then the scars will have to be left alone. It is therefore advisable to prevent them in the first place and not pricking your pimples is the best and probably the most effective way to prevent ice pick scarring.

Another type of acne scar is a shallow and wider depression which is referred to as a “saucer scar”. A decrease in the amount of collagen tissue in a area leads to this type of change in the skin. Correcting this type of scar can require injecting material to fill in the depressions or abrasive procedures to smooth out the edges of the scars. If 50% improvement in the scarring is achieved, this would be considered an excellent result. It’s hardly ever possible to correct scarring 100% so that the skin looks completely normal.

Sometimes you might think that a dark spot or red blemish represents a scar, but if there is a colour change only with no pitted holes or saucer depressions, then the outlook is much better. Medications, chemical peels and or microdermabrasion type treatments can help remove these marks, however, the amount of time required can be unpredictable.

Picking will aggravate your pimple and it is painful

Many people believe that popping a pimple prematurely will stop its growth. However, this is not true and it will only make the breakouts become bigger. Picking pimples in a way that fails to get the material out that is clogging a pore can also result in a deeper more painful acne lesion, which might actually increase the risk of scarring as well.

Does exercise cause acne?

Acne experts at proactive acne.com, shed light on the relationship between exercise and acne.

Exercise itself is not the culprit, and that’s not bad news. Working out is actually great, and not just for your body, but for your skin as well. Exercise if done the right way, charges your internal systems to work at peak power, lending a helping hand in the battle against acne. (And if you’re struggling with acne, wouldn’t you like all the help you can get?). While getting your sweat on 4-5 times a week is highly recommended, it’s important that you go about working out in a skin-conscious way—one that will eliminate the variables that are known to contribute to acne. Here, our most helpful tips to keep in mind.

1. REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP FIRST

When you hit the gym, it’s best to start with a clean face. It’s not just that dramatic, full-coverage foundation and smoky eyes look ridiculous on a stationary bike; it’s that even oil-free cosmetics can clog your pores in conjunction with sweat. An easy way to stay honest with this one? Keep a pack of makeup-removing wipes in your gym bag, and use them when you change into your workout gear. And if you can’t get to a shower immediately following your workout, use them again for a post-sweat cleanse.

2. DON’T SKIP THE SUNSCREEN (JUST USE THE RIGHT ONE)

If your workout of choice involves hitting the trail, the track or the beach, sunscreen is an absolute must. Contrary to what you may have heard, the sun is not good for acne—in fact, the opposite is true. Aside from that, damaging UVA rays can wreak havoc on your skin even when it’s cold and cloudy. In this day and age, you’d be crazy not to commit to a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher every day. There are plenty of oil-free, non-acnegenic, and non-comedogenic options available that will not break you out.

3. KEEP IT REAL (YOUR FABRIC, THAT IS)

If you’re prone to body acne, avoid garments made of 100% lycra or nylon like the plague. Synthetic fabrics of any type can trap heat and moisture against your skin, creating a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes acne. Always wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made of cotton or other natural fabrics. Blends (like lycra-cotton) are okay, but not ideal. That said, recent advances have resulted in synthetic fabrics that wick moisture away from your body, and you definitely want that.

4. CLEAN ACCESSORIES ACCORDINGLY

Equipment actually isn’t the issue here; it’s how much friction it creates when you wear or use it. For example, if you wear a helmet, make sure it fits snugly, not allowing for loose movement than can create friction. If you can line your helmet with a layer of soft, washable cotton fabric (such as an old T-shirt) you can go a long way to avoiding acne flare-ups. Conversely, if you wear a wetsuit or similar garment (like a bike riding outfit), make sure it doesn’t fit too tightly or it will create problems as well. And regardless of what equipment you do use, always make sure it’s clean and dry before putting it away.

5. DON’T SLACK ON SHOWERING

Again, sweat in itself doesn’t cause acne, but if you are prone to breaking out, it can aggravate your skin. When you reach for a towel to wipe your face, always blot—wiping can cause aggravation. Also, it’s best to hit the shower immediately after you exercise—preferably with a medicated acne-fighting body cleanser.

Regular exercise is one of the keys to healthy skin.

“We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin and associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

If you have dermatological conditions such as acne, rosacea, or psoriasis, you may need to take special care to keep your skin protected while exercising. But don’t let skin problems prevent you from being active. Here’s why.

By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin,” says Marmur.

In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells. Contrary to some claims, exercise doesn’t detoxify the skin. The job of neutralizing toxins belongs mostly to the liver.

“But by increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system,” Marmur tells WebMD. “You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.”

Exercise has also been shown to ease stress. “And by decreasing stress, some conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show some improvement,” says Brian B. Adams, MD, associate professor and director of the Sports Dermatology Clinic at the University of Cincinnati.

Conditions that can improve when stress is reduced include acne and eczema. Although researchers are still investigating the link between stress and skin, studies show that the sebaceous glands, which produce oil in the skin, are influenced by stress hormones.
Regular exercise helps tone muscles, of course. That doesn’t have a direct effect on skin, dermatologists say. But firmer muscles definitely help you look better overall.

In conclusion, resist the temptation and never prick your pimples. Even though you think a quick fix is better it only increases the risk of scarring. Apply a warm or hot towel as a compress two or three times a day plus the appropriate medication to treat the acne will make scarring much less likely.

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