Zit Happens: How to deal with breakouts
Despite common belief, breakouts and acne aren’t just reserved for those awkward teenage years. Studies have shown that around 45% of us over the age of 20 will experience some form of adult acne. According to Dr Sweta Rai of the British Association of dermatologists, pimples in adults are on the rise, with some people experiencing breakouts into their 50’s. Wrinkles and pimples… are you having a laugh!?
So why do we get breakouts anyway?
Bear with us, we’re about to get a bit sciency for a second. According to webMD, pimples and acne usually occur when excess oils from your face mix with dead skin cells, causing your pores to become clogged. This combination of oil, dead skin and dirt is the ideal chill spot for bacteria, which is responsible for all that wonderful redness and pus.
Contrary to the outcome of that delightful scene in Kevin and Perry go Large, popping and picking at your spots isn’t going to transform you into a fresh faced 10 (if only it was that easy).
We know it can be hard to resist the temptation; especially when a quick glance in the mirror turns into a full blown UFC stare down. But picking at your pimples isn’t a good way to deal with breakouts- it really does do more harm than good. Although that white head doesn’t look pretty, it’s actually doing a great job of containing the bacteria. When you pop it, you’re giving the bacteria the opportunity to get inside other pores which can lead to more pimples. As well as this, all that poking and prodding can just force the gunk further into your skin. And don’t forget about all the germs on your hands; popping that zit might feel satisfying at first, but there’s a good chance you’ll be putting yourself in a worse situation in the long run.
If you must go for the pop, make sure you wait until the spot has a firm white head (this means it’s ready to be drained). Wash your hands and use a sterilised needle or pin to carefully break the surface, then using your fingers (make sure they are clean) or a cotton bud, gently squeeze around the head. If nothing comes out it’s time to give in; it’s not ready to say goodbye just yet.
Sort out your skin care
Perhaps this is an obvious one, but having a solid skin care routine in place is one of the best ways to keep on top of breakouts. Make sure you’re washing your face twice a day with a proper facial cleanser (not soap or shower gel). Without sounding too biased, kóri face wash is a pretty good option - the natural ingredients are gentle on the skin, whilst the naturally derived exfoliating beads clean deep into the pores.
If you don’t do so already, consider adding a toner into your skincare routine. In case you’re wondering what on earth that is (it's not what goes in your printer), toner works to remove any excess dirt and pollution that might still be lingering on your face after you’ve washed it, as well as keeping excess oil in check. If you’re super prone to pimples, look for a toner that contains alcohol; it works as an antiseptic to kill any unwanted bacteria. Our gösta facial tonic is loaded with pimple fighting natural ingredients to help keep breakouts at bay.
Wash your hair more often
Although there’s some debate about how often we should be washing our hair, if you’re particularly prone to getting spots it’s a good idea to shampoo frequently (but no more than once a day). Excess oil from greasy hair is notorious for making it’s way onto the face, leading to breakouts.
Spots are the worst for coming out to play at the most inappropriate times. If you’d rather not show up to your event with an uninvited guest, there are a few “quick fix” solutions you can try to help beat the breakout:
You know those super painful spots that make you feel like you’re growing a second head? Well ice could be the perfect solution. Just like a strained muscle or a bump on your head, the ice works to reduce swelling and inflammation. The cold temperature also reduces the size of your pores, so there’s less chance of them becoming clogged again.
After you’ve washed your face, wrap a couple of ice cubes in a plastic bag or a towel (whatever you wrap it in, make sure it’s clean). Hold the ice on the breakout for around 5 minutes, remove for 5 minutes, then re-apply for a further 5 minutes. Repeat 3 times daily.
It might sound a bit strange, but applying potato to the affected area is actually a super effective way to deal with breakouts. As well as having bleaching properties to keep the redness at bay, potatoes also have antibacterial properties that cleanse away excess oil.
For best results, grate or blend some raw potato into a pulp and apply a generous layer to the affected area. If that all sounds like a bit too much effort, you can try just rubbing a slice of raw potato on the affected area. Whichever method you go for, leave it to dry for about an hour (you can leave it for longer/overnight if you prefer) and wash off with warm water.
Toothpaste has antibacterial properties and the ability to absorb oil, making it a great quick fix option for dealing with breakouts. Apply a small blob to the pimple and leave overnight - you should see a pretty good improvement in the morning. Just bear in mind that this is best kept to just the occasional spot - overuse can dry out the skin or even cause burns, so please don’t smear it all over your face!