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What Do I Do When Acne Rears It's Ugly Head?

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1. Don't pick at it.

I'm really bad at heeding this advice, because, if your skin is anything like mine, pimples stick around for a long time if they aren't expressed (I know some people find that gross, but hey, this is the real world). But I am also here to tell you to do as I say and not as I do. Picking causes scarring, inflammation, and sometimes extends the stay or extent of a breakout.

2. Use warm compresses.

This is a trick I started using a few years ago, and it really does help me. If I have a blemish that just will not leave me, ESPECIALLY a deep pimple, I press a warm washcloth on it for as long as I can, which encourages it to pull to the surface. I've found that once a blemish is pulled to the surface of my skin, it's only a short time before it leaves (ideally forever, but you know).

3. Minimize what you're doing to your skin.

I know that sometimes the first thing people want to do when they break out is to use a blue million products and treatments on it. I KNOW that feeling. Honestly, I still feel pulled to do that sometimes, because, well, I'm impatient and do not want to let things take their course. The fact of the matter is, though, using foreign or out of the ordinary products, at a time when your skin is clearly acting negatively, can further stress and irritate the skin, prolonging the issue. I am living, breathing, walking proof of this. The best course of action for me is usually sticking to my routine, sometimes foregoing a product for a night or two, and literally just maintaining the same familiar things I usually do.

4. Ditch the instant-gratification, gimmicky spot treatments.

I know there are some legitimate spot treatments out there, but most of the OTC products you can get to spot treat are just a massive dose of Salicylic acid, and they are up-marked because of the lofty claims they attach to their name. Depending on the type of skin you have, they may not work AT ALL, and may actually do more harm to your skin than good. SA can be a great tool to combat acne if you are using a well crafted product, but a lot of these products are the reason BHAs have garnered a bad reputation, IMO. AKA: they're usually either completely ineffective or they're mega-irritating.

5. Relax.

Stress can stifle your immune system which can increase your inflammatory response, and can also slow healing.

6. Really consider the factors in your life that may have contributed to your breakout.

Were you eating more dairy than usual? Sugar? More sweaty than usual? Did you forget to wash your face the night before? Are you nearing the beginning of your cycle? And then devise a plan to act. If you think it's dietary, be gentle with your skin and proceed with a modified diet. If sweat, consider showering immediately after exercise. If it's hormonal, do all of the anti inflammatory things you can, eat all the colorful veggies, and just leave the little pest be until your normalize.

7. Stick to what you KNOW.

If you have a mask that never irritates you, soothes your skin, and never fails: use it. If you have a treatment, serum, oil, cleanser, etc that acts similarly? You know what to do. Nourish your skin while trying to soothe and reduce redness.

8. Give yourself space.

As human beings, we are covered in blemishes, scars, marks. Our skin isn't made to be perfect and neither are we. Allow yourself space to know that you are imperfectly perfect. Even if you have 87 pimples, I think you're freaking flawless. SO have a cup of tea, take a long bath, let your skin breathe, and know you're beautiful no matter what's happening on your face.

Thanks so much for sticking around and reading. All of my love to YOU!

NOTE: If you are someone who suffers from generalized acne, most of the time, for presumably no known reason, these tips don't necessarily apply because you should be focusing on finding and fostering a routine that will help facilitate the reduction of your breakouts (a topic on which a blog post will be coming). Trust me when I say, I have been, and sometimes still feel like I am, in that place, and it's a difficult place to navigate or understand.