If Cassandra knew about these habits when she was 15 or 16, she feels like her journey may have been a bit easier. There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, and you might find a lot of good things every now and again, but there is also a lot of stuff that is not so helpful. Here are five specific things Cassandra wishes she would have known.
#1 If you’re not a professional, don’t pop your pimples.
We know it is tempting, but popping pimples poses a risk. When you get a pimple, the entire sebaceous unit is inflamed and swollen. And when you pop a pimple, you could be pushing fluid deeper instead of out. By popping a pimple, you can also rupture some of the cell walls of your pilosebaceous unit, which can cause further infection. Not to mention – if you have a buildup of bacteria on specific areas on the skin, popping the pimple could spread the bacteria to other areas more easily. Also, if you have dirt or bacteria on your fingernails, hands, or on a tool your using, that could just make it worse. If there is a transfer of bacteria, that would be something your body has to fight. When your body is already dealing with inflammation and trying to heal a localized pimple or infection, adding more to the mix is not a good idea. Knowing how to pop a pimple properly is one thing, but for the most part, leave it to the pros. One of the best investments that Cassandra ever made was pimple patches. These helped Cassandra so much in regards to not skin picking. She loves the Zitsticka because they actually have little microdart needles in them. Wearing them is like popping a pimple, but not because the microdarts penetrate and infuse into the skin.
Zitsticka Microdart -$29
Cassandra has worked with these in the past, and she loves ZitSticka’s products. They just work for her, and they also quell the urge to pop pimples.
So ultimately, if you do need to get an extraction, go to a care provider who can actually lance your pimple and inject specific ingredients and steroids that will help to bring down the inflammation. Care providers actually help with what’s going on inside of the skin, not just outside.
#2 Don’t assume it’s regular acne
Some conditions look like acne, but they are not. The most popular one is malessezia or “fungal acne.” Malessezia is a fungal infection on the face, and it looks like little white pustules. But, it’s not actually acne; it’s fungus. So, if you use something for fungal acne like salicylic acid, it’s not going to get rid of fungal acne. Fungal acne is pityrosporum folliculitis and needs something like sulfur or ketoconazole, an anti-fungal medication. A lot of people who are trying to treat their acne at home without a proper diagnosis struggle with distinguishing between malassezia and acne.
Some people also conflate rosacea with acne. Rosacea often presents with redness and flushing on Fitzpatrick skin types 1-4. It’s a vascular (vein) condition. Rosacea can be pustular and give you little bumps. So, some people can think they have acne when in reality, it’s rosacea. Products like azelaic acid and benzoyl peroxide will be better for rosacea.
#3 Believing all skincare is for acne.
If you’re not able to go to the doctor, you can do telehealth or telemedicine, but if you truly want to deal with it at home, please leave the rough scrubs out. Instead, look for ingredients that are FDA-approved, antibacterial, and antimicrobial. More simply, invest in products that get rid of bacteria, remove oil, exfoliate, remove clogs, and prevent inflammation. That’s what’s going to help.
Some ingredients that do this are benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, and retinoids. Retinoids are amazing, and retinol. You can get retinol over the counter, and you can also get retinaldehyde, which is more potent. Retinoids not only help with acne, but they help with fine lines, wrinkles, and premature wrinkles.
Another antimicrobial ingredient is tea tree oil. It’s better to dilute the oil or to find a skincare formula that contains tea tree oil. Some peptides can be antibacterial and support the skin as well.
As for exfoliants. lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid, and BHAs help with acne too. And while lactic and glycolic acid are not FDA approved to treat acne on their own, they do help to exfoliate the skin. Succinic acid, although she’s never used it by itself, is a great ingredient for acne. Succinic acid from The Inkey List is one of Cassandra’s favorites.
If you truly want to use a scrub, some rice scrubs are more gentle, and they have buffed edges, unlike rough walnut scrubs.
Haruharu WONDER - Black Rice Moisture 5.5 Soft Cleansing Gel -$7.89
InkeyList Kaolin Clay Mask -$7.49
Kaolin Clay helps to wick away oil. So, there are a lot of things proven to help with acne
Inkey List Peptide moisturizer -$14.99
The Ordinary Lactic Acid -$8
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion -$10.50
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant -$13
IUNIK Tea tree Relief Natural Facial Serum -$15.29
#4 Not wearing acne for fear of breaking out
Sunscreen does not prevent acne, but it can prevent scarring, redness, and pigmentation. The sun's rays, UVA, and UVB are very damaging. People always talk about sunscreen in terms of being anti-aging or preventing wrinkles and collagen degradation. However, sunscreen also protects against dark spots, blemishes, and red spots. So, if you get a pimple, and it gets red or purple, using sunscreen can stop pigmentation. If you’re prone to box scars or crater scars that look like little holes or even scars that stick out, using sunscreen can help mitigate that.
#5 Don’t let acne control your life.
When let our acne control us and how we interact with the world, it can cause us to feel like we're not beautiful, worthy, or deserving of being listened to. Perfect skin is not the key to self-realization. As a human being, you are enough and your blemishes do not have any impact on what you can do for this world. While people are judgmental, you don’t have to let these things restrain you. We can learn about our value outside of our appearance. Plus, 50 million people have acne. This simply makes flaws our features.
Coverphoto cred: Pexels