[By Grace Chua]

Pimples are the bane of our existence. They mar our perfectly flawless complexions at the most inopportune times. Popping up before a hot date or rearing its ugly head the night before a job interview, whatever its cause, we need to battle this mischievous foe head on.

There are however many misconceptions about acne and its treatments. Making common mistakes such as using medications your friends recommend, squeezing pimples and trying to cover them with makeup makes the treatment of problematic skin even more difficult.

Acne is frequently seen between the ages 12 and 30. Almost everyone suffers from acne at least once in their lives. There are many who deal with acne on a regular basis. However, in severe cases, if no precaution is taken and no treatment is applied, acne can cause permanent skin and psychological damage. The following issues are common misconceptions that make treatment harder for doctors:

Sometimes patients claim they don’t have acne, just pimples. This isn’t correct, but it is true that there are different types of acne. For example, it may appear as “vulgaris,” simple acne, or “nodulocystic,” a severe type of acne. Here we list the ten most common pimple pitfalls to help you navigate your way to total skin clarity easily;

#1 Pitfall: “If I squeeze the pimple, it will disappear faster”

Squeezing pimples doesn’t contribute to the treatment. On the contrary, it causes permanent blemishes to the skin and the spread of acne.

#2 Pitfall: “After puberty, pimples will decrease by itself”

Do not delay treatment thinking that your pimples are connected to puberty. Not treating acne and expecting it to heal on its own is among the biggest mistakes. While you wait for it to heal, your acne may be replaced by permanent blemishes! Yikes1

#3 Pitfall: “Yogurt, toothpaste and soap are natural remedies that dry out pimples”

Applying yogurt, toothpaste, soap foam to pimples and isn’t an effective treatment method. This may cause permanent redness on the skin, blemishes, or even infection. Additionally, they can cause allergic reactions.

#4 Pitfall: “Using concealer hides your pimples as a short term solution, and will also dry them out”

Using foundation or powder will cover the pimples. However, using makeup may cause the emergence of new pimples. Makeup use contributes to the emergence of comedogenic acne, black or white heads, especially.

#5 Pitfall: “Oral medications meant for severe acne are harmful to the patient”

Treatment of nodulocystic acne or even more severe types of acne may require additional oral medications such as birth control pills or retinoic acid. This doesn’t mean the life of the patient is at risk. Such treatments should only be used when they will be beneficial for the patient. The treatments will not be administered if they might cause harm. It is important to remember that each medication has its own side effects.

#6 Pitfall: “One prescription is enough for treatment”

Some patients with pimples, especially impatient youngsters, expect their problem to be solved in a couple of days. Unfortunately, acne is a chronic disorder that requires a long-lasting treatment, follow-ups and the patient to use different medications during different periods of the disorder.

#7 Pitfall: “An acne medication that worked for my friend’s acne will for my skin as well”

Ineffective treatments received at beauty centers, advice taken from neighbors, and medications not prescribed by a dermatologist may occasionally work, but most of the time they cause an increase in blemishes.

#8 Pitfall: “Facials are suitable for all types of acne”

Avoid long-drawn, tempting facials with a lot of facial massage with heavy creams. These may stimulate sebaceous glands and make acne worse. Another thing to avoid is frequent extractions which may leave you blemished and ridden with unsightly acne scars. Always treat acneic skin gently. Go for regular ‘clean-ups’ instead.

#9 Pitfall: “Non comedogenic makeup is 100% safe”

First of all, it is not possible for any makeup to be 100% non-comedogenic, all makeup can be comedogenic to a certain extent with some being worse culprits than others. Things to avoid are cream blushers, stick foundations and sparkly, shimmery eyeshadows that contain mica. The mica particles can clog pores. Avoid foundations containing Isopropyl Myristate. They can act as irritants that can flare up your acne. If you can keep your face fresh and clean and free from makeup, you are doing your skin a favour. If makeup is a must for you, always wash your face thoroughly nightly to ensure you skin stays clean and fresh after.

#10 Pitfalls: “Hair products are irrelevant to pimples on my face”

Use hair gels, sprays and styling products very sparingly and with care. They contain alcohol and oils, which are harmful for skin with pimples. Do remember to cover your face when you are using them.


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