So, it happened to me the other day. A vacation trip on the horizon and boom, not one, but three big pimples burst out on my face. Lucky for me, I work at the spa and knew exactly what to do, but I thought it might be helpful to share with you our insider tips for how to deal with a pesky breakout.
The first rule of zits is DO NOT PICK! Unless you know what you are doing, picking a zit can cause it to get worse, spread, become infected, last longer and create scar tissue. DON’T DO IT!!! We offer a service called a Zit Zap, where our esthetician will extract your pimple promptly and properly treat it for only $5. An excellent investment and in most cases, you’ll see a significant improvement in 24 hours.
I know, everybody tells you not to pick, but you can’t help yourself. So, if you’re going to do it, at least do it properly. First, make sure your skin is CLEAN (especially the area around the pimple!) Cleanse the area with an astringent like Sea Breeze or witch hazel on a cotton ball. Second, wash your hands. Third, wrap your fingers with tissues, place them on either side of the zit and push AROUND (not down or in) and UP. Pushing in and/or down only drives the bacteria further down into the pore, spreading it and making the pimple worse. If nothing comes out, STOP – it’s not ready. Try again later when it has come to a head. Wiggle and push (GENTLY) until you see clear liquid (sebum) and maybe a little blood, then STOP! When you are finished, blot the area again with astringent or witch hazel and wash your hands again. Again, for the record, we are going to tell you that it is not a good idea to pick – leave it to the professionals!
Topical Treatments – There are some great topical treatments out there. Benzoyl Peroxide (remember Clearasil?) is probably the number one over the counter treatment for breakouts; however, it can be very drying. There are some great natural alternatives out there. Tea Tree oil can be quite effective and we swear by Nelson Homeopathic Acne Gel. It contains both tea tree oil and arnica, which is non-drying and reduces redness and swelling. We sell it at the spa and for less than $10, it works as well, if not better than many products that cost three times as much.
If breakouts are an on-going issue for you, you might need to re-evaluate your skin care regime. Using the right products the right way at the right time can make all the difference in the world. Overly harsh products can cause more harm than good; this is especially true with acne products that contain salicylic acid, retinols or alpha hydroxy acids. We encourage our clients to bring in their skin care products and discuss them in depth with their esthetician. Stress, diet, weather and hormonal issues can also cause blemishes to appear. Make sure you are eating right, exercising, managing your stress effectively and, if after all that, problems continue, see your physician. Lastly, there is no substitute for regular facials.
Even four times a year can go a long way in keeping your skin clean and clear.