[By Angelina Chow]

Argh, that nasty, angry-looking single pimple. You pay extra attention and took meticulous care of your skincare regime to the point of near insanity in preparation for an oncoming BIG event. And still, that uninvited guest will show up just when you least needed that to add to your jitters, like right before your first run in with the boyfriend’s ex or close to the day you say ‘I do”. Before you start screaming and pulling your hair out in exasperation, here are 4 quick measures to put in place to help tackle this hateful beauty catastrophe.

Hands off

The number one rule you must follow is not to pop the zit no matter how tempting it might appear to be. It always end up doing more harm than good. Manually forcing a pimple out will cause a fair amount of collateral damage to healthy surrounding tissue, resulting in more redness, swelling, increased chance of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and worse, infection and scarring. Resist the urge to touch your face as our hands are laced with bacteria from dirt, grease and grime gathered throughout the day. It might be helpful to stop staring at the offensive lesion all the time, and be patient with the healing process.

After an acne lesion or a pimple healed, it can leave a dark or hyper-pigmented mark on the skin known as Post Inflammatory Pigmentation or PIH. This hyperpigmentation is seen as the skin goes through its healing and remodeling process, which can take up to 6 months or more. If no more acne lesions develop in that area, the skin can heal normally and revert back to its original state and color. Professional Chemical Peels are excellent not only for lightening these post inflammatory marks but help to reduce oiliness and control new acne outbreak at the same time. In addition, it tackles open pores, uneven skin tone and fine lines at the same time. A chemical peel is just as it sounds, different types of fruit acids are used individually or in combination to slough off dead skin cells from the surface so as to increase cellular turnover for new skin to regrow, and can be done at monthly interval by a qualified aesthetics physician to restore a blemish free complexion.

Read More: How to Get Rid of Cystic Acne

Take cover

Never underestimate what makeup can do, and there’re a few tricks to pull to stage a temporary Houdini’s act on your blemishes. First, prep your skin with a natural, lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer such as SW1 HOLOGRAM Pore Minimizing Skin Primer which allows your foundation to hold to your skin better for a fresh and touchable look. With optimal amounts of vitamins A, C and E in its freshest and most absorbable forms for superb hydration, added illuminating skin primers which deflect light to lend skin a diffuse soft focus effect make HOLOGRAM an excellent makeup primer, giving you a polished, matte finish against the dreaded mid-day shine. Acting as an invisible veil for the skin, HOLOGRAM lifts, tones and seals in moisture, protecting skin against pollution and free radical damage while exerting its complexion enhancing prowess for the desired effect.Choose a mineral foundation in a shade that matches your skin tone and give your whole face a light-handed once over. And finally, concealer. It may seem like the best secret weapon to cover up blemishes but can actually worsen the situation by clogging up pores or draw attention if too much is used. Dab on lightly an oil-free concealer with a makeup brush or sponge and avoid using fingers because they can carry dirt and bacteria, with rubbing inducing further inflammatory response of angry red zits.

Read More: 8 Habits That Ruin Your Skin

Less is more

To begin with, you must accept the fact that your dermal nemesis might not totally disappear despite the best of measures, but its presence can definitely be less felt if treated correctly in a timely fashion. When using your usual go-to acne cream or prescriptive formula on your nemesis, it is important to keep to the recommended frequency of use. More often than not, in our haste to get that damned thing out of the way, we squeezed out a bigger dollop of cream, rubbed a little too vigorously on it, and very likely topped up another dollop far more frequent than what we should be doing. Instead of making it better, overzealous topical treatment can aggravate the situation.

“It is very common for one to start trying different products, abandoning them very quickly or even layering them when they do not see results in a day or two.” Says Dr Kenneth Lee, medical director of SW1 Clinic, a one stop destination for medical spa, cosmetics dermatology and cutting edge aesthetics surgery in Singapore. “When someone self-treats their acne too aggressively, they may paradoxically aggravate their skin, making their lesions more inflamed and prone to scarring.”

According to Dr lee, combination treatments is key as a plethora of different active ingredients in small doses add up to bigger improvements than the over-use of one active ingredient. He usually recommends his patients to use Clear Bliss gel to reduce inflammation and bumps as well as Super Helper serum to optimize cell turnover to keep skin clear into the future. Adding a mist like Clear Tonic also helps keep shine at bay, he adds.

Read More: Supercharged Facial Treatments That Deliver Better Skin

Doc to the rescue

The solitary angry ‘red ruby’ that grew too big and threatens to rupture at the eleventh hour is not only an eyesore but may result in unsightly permanent scarring eventually. The treatment of choice for these angry bumps is to ask your doctor for an injection of a diluted corticosteroid and antibiotic concoction to lower the inflammation, nips the infection and speed up healing, thereby reducing the chances of scars forming. However, Intralesional acne injection is a seemingly simple procedure that is not without its risks. The technique employed is just as crucial as the amount and dilution of the medications used as there’s always a risk of fat atrophy with steroid jabs that can result in atrophic or skin dimpling scarring of the treated area if not done properly. It is therefore important to go to a reputable physician that’s properly trained for your pimple ER to obliterate or minimize this undesirable adverse effect.

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