We all want to put our best face forward. Honestly, who doesn’t want clear, radiant skin?
Hormones and genetics might be keeping your skin from looking perfect, but you could also be contributing to the problem. In an effort to help your skin, do your best to avoid these three bad skincare habits.
Bad Habit #1: Popping Your Zits
You look in the mirror only to see a big whitehead staring back at you. You have to pop it, right? Wrong.
Popping zits actually makes your acne worse. Your intuition may tell you that by squeezing out the gunk, you’re removing the bacteria. In reality, you’re only removing the tip of the iceberg, while driving most of the bacteria and oil deeper into the skin. When you push the skin, everything below your fingertips goes down, and a little bit is squeezed out. This means the pimple will take even longer to heal.
So what do you do instead? If you can, leave it alone. If you can’t resist, take a sterile pin and gently prick the white bump. Then, let the puss come out naturally. If necessary, press on one side to move it out.
Bad Habit #2: Picking at Your Blemishes
If you have a pimple forming below the skin, you may be tempted to scratch it, grab it, or scrape off the top. Either way, you are literally digging and excoriating your skin. In doing so, you remove the skin around the pimple without helping the blemish. As a result, you’ll end up with scars on your face that are much more difficult to erase than a pimple.
If you have a low-lying zit, either leave it alone or spot treat it. Acne medication applied to the pimple itself may do the trick. If not, at least you’ve avoided permanently scarring your face.
Bad Habit #3: Over-Cleansing Your Face
Everyone knows you’re supposed to wash your face every day. Those more intentional about skin care add exfoliation to their routine. These are good regimens, but there can be too much of a good thing. If you wash your face too often or too harshly, you remove more than just dirt and oil. You remove the top protective layer of skin, which happens to be very fragile. When it’s gone, you make your skin more susceptible to becoming inflamed, irritated, dry, chapped, and uncomfortable.
Instead, use a mild cleanser to cleanse your face morning and night. Wash your face with your hands. You don’t need a rag to scrub your face. The goal is to get rid of the dirt and oil but leave the protective layer of skin to do its job.
Do you want a blemish-free face? Of course you do! Leaving acne alone and washing gently seems counter-intuitive, but dermatologists agree that it’s the best approach. No matter how good your intentions, when you pop, pick, and scrub your face, you’re only making great skin harder to find.
Dr. R. Todd Plott is a board-certified dermatologist in Coppell, Keller, and Saginaw, TX. His specialization and professional interests include treating patients suffering with acne, identifying and solving complex skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and identifying and treating all types of skin cancers. In his spare time, Dr. Plott enjoys cycling, traveling with his wife, and spending time with his children and new grandson.
Learn more about Dr. Plott.