We’ve all been there…. You look in the mirror and see a blemish thinking “I’m going to take care of this RIGHT NOW before anyone notices”, and the aftermath of a bleeding bruised portion of your skin that is now much more noticeable. Not only is it more noticeable but your actions will likely slow down the healing and cause longer lasting issues like scarring, hyperpigmentation, or even infection that can lead to more breakouts.
Before we get into ways to help your skin heal instead of picking we want to acknowledge there are conditions out there related to mental health where a person compulsively picks at their skin. In that case, it is important to seek help and support from a doctor who can provide you with tools to overcome the habit.
When we see a blemish on our skin we often focus on what it looks like rather than understanding what the blemish actually IS. There are several different types of blemishes and how they present themselves (think whiteheads, blackheads, papules, cysts, etc.) however the one thing they have in common is how they are initially formed. To keep it simple a blemish develops when your sebaceous glands (oil glands), become clogged and infected, which can lead to swollen, inflamed lesions that welcome bacteria to thrive. When you approach it as an infection with the mindset of letting it heal with the body’s natural process instead of picking at it and escalating it to a wound making the body work harder to heal you may think twice before you attack. Letting it heal on its own can take several days and we know those can feel like really long days, however, picking can lead to long term effects that can take weeks to months to heal. Hyperpigmentation and scarring are the most common. We like to think that our bodies created this blemish, and with a little help, our bodies know just what to do to heal it.
There are several products and tools out there ranging from spot treatments, pimple patches, or faulty DIY suggestions that can sound appealing when you are desperate to clear your skin. It’s important to take a step back and support your skin in its natural process instead of shocking it with an arsenal of random treatments. Stick with your cleansing routine, be mindful not to touch or pick at the blemish, (adding bacteria to the area) and look at what you already have on hand suggested by your esthetician to keep from making things worse. It may be a simple adjustment of how you are using what you have during a breakout. Some common questions we see are listed below.
What do you have in your regimen already that can help you focus on healing?
- Grapefruit Polishing Powder has salicylic and lactic acid which can work together to deeply cleanse the skin and soften the buildup. With the addition of licorice root you are also able to target inflammation bringing the redness down. You can easily turn this into a spot treatment by mixing with a little bit of water or, our favorite, Spiced Wine Toner, to create a mask for the area that is inflamed. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes and remove with a soft cool towel.
- Mint Poppy Seed Polish contains lactic acid and kaolin clay. You can use this as a spot treatment or mask and leave it on longer than you normally would just to exfoliate turning a product you already have into a spot treatment that will not shock your skin causing more stress.
- Facial in a Bottle on a regular basis helps to gently promote cellular turnover and control oil production limiting the opportunity for the sebaceous glands to become clogged. Keep using this when you are experiencing a breakout instead of kicking it into high gear and confusing the skin.
Is there anything I can do for instant relief?
We love grabbing a pair of Glacier Ice Globes from the fridge and resting them on the area to be treated. Cooling the skin will help decrease inflammation bringing down the swelling and redness to make it less noticeable and provide relief. Remember as hard as it is to leave it alone to LEAVE IT ALONE.
What can you incorporate into your regimen if you have picked in the past and want to work on correcting hyperpigmentation and scarring?
- Lemon Lightening Serum is great for not only killing bacteria in the skin but also lightening and brightening any inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Pair this with using Facial in a Bottle at night to encourage healing and cellular regeneration.
- Speak with your esthetician about peels or more intensive treatments to help with previous scarring. Keep in mind it is a journey and over time you will see some amazing results.
In a world full of filters and Photoshop it is easy to feel alone in the journey of getting comfortable in your skin. You are not alone! Healthy skin has texture, pores, bumps and color variations. Seeking progress over perfection is a mindset we believe needs to be normalized and discussed openly. Find an esthetician who can support you on this journey.