So you've been hit with a big, ugly zit. Probably in the most inconvenient spot.
Your forehead? The tip of your nose? Of course.
If you're unlucky, people around you have started giving you tips on how to treat it (or them). We know, we know, they were trying to help, but often it is simply bad skin advice (and embarrassing!).
We have heard so many bad blemish tips.
There's the auntie that recommended a swim in chlorinated water to dry pimples out. Or the co-worker that suggests taking a bit of perfume and dabbing it on each spot. Not only would the high percentage of alcohol irritate your face, but you also risk smelling like the cosmetics floor of a department store.
Well, for those of us who get the occasional zit, here is what you should really do, from our team of pros (many who've suffered from acne ourselves):
The Germinating Zit
Like with all things, pimples do not simply appear, but evolve.
Sometimes you even have the pleasure of seeing a pimple mature -starting as something small, a little red bump with no visible white pus, slowly getting bigger and bigger, becoming more and more obvious.
This is usually when people try to pick their faces, leaving them looking scabbed, and the blemish returning in the next day or so.
The best thing to do is to moisturize them. Huh? Yes. Before it has formed a head, slather on a heavy cream with oil over top of the cream, for a pimple antidote. Often, in a couple days, blemishes will be gone and you will avoid them getting to full-sized pimples. And, even more importantly, you will avoid scarring.
Now, if you are too late and the pimple is on its way to full blemishdom, this will still help it come out faster, and the faster it comes out, the faster you can get rid of it.
Full On Pimples
When you have to deal with a blistering pimple, (probably right before public speaking or seeing your ex), there are a couple of things you can do.
If you must get rid of the spot the day of - you need to pick it.
So get down and dirty and steam your face for 5 minutes (after cleansing of course), tissue your fingers, and extract it. The pimple should feel flatter and you should have removed all of the pus.
Afterwards, disinfect with an alcohol-free antiseptic, like our Pine Mint Microtonic (from our acne care line) or organic witch hazel (using alcohol can risk more scarring). Dab the spot with Green or Black Clay (not pink) and let it sit until the clay is dry to touch. This will not only close up the picked pimple, but also calm the irritated skin and draw out any impurities you didn't take out. After you remove the spot treatment, apply a moisturizer. Better yet, a calming, disinfecting oil. We are obviously partial to our Clarifying Black Cumin Acne Oil....that stuff is potent and awesome.
But this is only in beauty emergencies, if you have a couple of days, I suggest the gentler, less risky solution: dry it out.
There is more than one way to do this, but the objective is to dry out the spot, but not your skin.
I recommend applying a Clay Mask just on the blemish and leaving it overnight. After two nights the pimple should be gone or at least significantly reduced. Don't use a very diluted clay or a kaolin clay - they will not be potent enough. Another route is to use Apple Cider Vinegar.
Whatever you use, I suggest it be natural and ONLY on the blemish itself - you don't want to dehydrate and inflame your healthy skin.
The Cystic Pimple: An underground killer
Sometimes you get those deep, underground boil-like blemishes that do not come to a head at all.
We call this Cystic Acne, or Blind Pimples.
In these cases, bacteria has gone into the dermis layer of your skin and this deep seated, infected fluid is what causes the painfulness of Cystic Pimples.
If you have many Cysts and break out with them often - you may need to disinfect internally. This is why anti-biotics are so effective for this type of break out - but we have prescribed Neem, Berberine and other herbal capsules with excellent results. Of course, only take things you've run by your healthcare provider.
Neem is a blood cleanser, anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial and also anti-inflammatory. Topically, you must stimulate the area. Because this stagnant fluid is Kapha-like in its quality, it can stay on the skin for months at a time in some situations.
Applying arnica cream or arnica water heals the area and promotes circulation which will break up the cyst and encourage it to drain.
We have extracted cystic pimples by puncturing it with a sterile needle and removing the fluid, but would not recommend anyone doing this without a professional.
The arnica route is much gentler, and again, evades the risk of scarring.
For prevention, our acne line has been designed to keep your complexion clear and actively prevent all three spot types above.
Image by Noah Buscher via Unsplash