Last week it made its appearance —- right between my eyebrows. I could see it every time I looked in the mirror. There was literally nothing I could do to hide it – beyond some careful mineral makeup application. For the record, I am 52 years old – almost 53. I struggled with acne in my teens through early 30’s, on my face, chest and back, but I don’t remember anything like this ever showing up in my skin.
As a Certified Acne Specialist and Licensed Esthetician, it was mortifying. But personally experiencing the pain and embarrassment of just one pea-sized cystic pimple is enough to re-confirm and solidify my dedication to helping anyone who struggles with acne break outs to get clear. There isn’t a “magical” number in age where acne break outs just suddenly stop happening, although I have been pretty break-out free since becoming an esthetician in my 40’s. It proves the point that acne breakouts can truly happen to anyone, at any time of his or her life.
Here’s What To Do and What Not To Do with a giant break-out:
- Don’t touch, don’t futz, don’t fiddle with it. Keep your hands off; no squeezing. Touching it could spread the bacteria and you might end up with a cluster of break-outs instead of only one. Picking it could leave a scab or mark that lasts for weeks longer than leaving it alone to run its course.
- Do ice it — at least once every morning after cleansing, before you apply your toner or treatment serum product. Ice again at night during your evening skin care routine. Icing helps to take down the redness, pain and swelling (and keeps your hands busy too). Ice it as often as you can during the day.
- Don’t use harsh scrubs or rough washcloths – use an active, yet gentle cleanser with Salicylic Acid or Willow Bark or Tea Tree Oil to encourage gentle exfoliation. Use your hands or soft cleansing sponge to rinse. Do follow your cleansing with an acne-safe toner treatment that contains salicylic, glycolic or mandelic acid.
- Do not over-cleanse (meaning, more than twice a day). Cleansing too much can create more irritation and inflammation, and compromise your skin barrier.
- If you need to cover it, do use acne-safe mineral makeup powder or concealer. Be sure that your makeup does not contain any pore-clogging ingredients.
- Do try an overnight spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide and sulfur for faster clearing. I have two reasonably-priced formulas available.
- Do use your LightStim LED, if you have one at home. The blue light combined with red light will help kill the acne bacteria and reduce inflammation. I have LightStims available for purchase, or you can schedule a quickie LED facial with me to sit under my in-office LED panel.
- Do be patient — just as a pimple takes time to form, it takes time to heal. Contact me to help you with solutions that lead to faster healing time.
I realized in my hot yoga class that maybe the Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee pose may have triggered the break out, since my forehead touches my knee at precisely that point. Acne lesions can take up to 3 months to form and become visible on the skin surface, so it may have been due to over-indulgences over the holidays…. But it’s likely that I’ll never know the cause. At least I know it’s on its way out.