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Pimples 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

You can snap and crackle, but definitely don’t pop!!

Clean Skin for the Win

There’s nothing worse than planning the perfect night out and having an uninvited guest pop up. No, it’s not your ex; it’s another kind of unpleasant party crasher—a zit.


For many of us, acne is an everyday battle; and starting a fight against even one blemish can turn into an all-out acne war that can last for weeks, months or even years. So before you engage in head-to-blackhead combat with a zit, here are some tips to keep the peace between your gorgeous skin and those pesky pimples.


Acne can vary in types and severity, but the most common blemishes people encounter are blackheads, whiteheads, cysts and pustules. Blackheads are formed when an open pore is clogged by oil and dead skin cells.  Blackheads (or c becand they develop their black appearance as a result of exposure to the air. They oxidize.  Whiteheads start out as blackheads, but overtime without proper exfoliation, overtime dead skin cells accumulate over them.  This causes the white “plug” to form on top of the clogged pore. Pustules are more invasive than either of the other two blemishes and are harder to extract. Pustules most often appear red and inflamed and can also have pus at their tips. Then you have the cystic breakout which are most commonly caused by hormones.  They can start out as a blocked pore and over time the pore walls rupture causing bacteria to leak into the skin surrounding the pore.  This causes an infection and is why they cysts are painful and inflamed. 


While acne is most often associated with adolescence due to the hormonal changes that occur during puberty, adult acne can still persist based on several factors beyond genetics. Pimples are generally caused by excess oil production, bacteria, clogged pores or hair follicles, and inflammation. Acne flare-ups can also stem from hormonal changes, like during a woman’s menstrual cycle, stress, diet, and skin care products such as makeup. Considering all the ways in which a pimple can find its way to the surface of your skin, there are some battle-tested remedies to lean on in your fight against acne.


As tempting—and deeply satisfying—it can be to pop a zit and watch the pus wiggle out, your best defense against a pimple is to leave it alone! Incorrectly popping a pimple can delay the regular healing process, causing more inflammation to the blemish and potentially the surrounding area. Popping pimples can also lead to the spread of bacteria, which can create a larger outbreak or a more severe pimple. If you squeeze too hard and accidentally break the skin, you can be left with permanent acne scarring, too.

Instead of popping your pimples, DO:

  • Ice the blemish for 10-15 minutes. Icing helps to reduce inflammation, which can make a pimple appear smaller and less red, and therefore, less noticeable.  We love these cryo sticks from Biologique Recherche.


Biologique Recherche Cryo Sticks

Reduces inflammation, puffiness and redness

  • Cleanse your face twice daily. Whether you suffer from acne or not, it is generally recommended that you wash your face two times a day—morning and night— with an acne cleanser. Starting and ending your day with a face wash allows you to wipe off extra oil and bacteria on your skin without drying it out or irritating it. For acne-prone skin, it helps to use an acne wash that can directly target clogged pores, like Environ’s Sebu-Wash Gel Cleanser.


Environ Sebu-Wash Gel Cleanser

The dynamic duo of tea tree and salicylic acid combine to help reduce redness and inflammation while also decongesting pores and gently exfoliating the skin.

  • Apply a spot treatment twice daily. After you’ve freshened your skin with a cleansing wash, use a spot treatment. Spot treatments work to fight acne-causing bacteria while helping to improve the appearance of current blemishes, breakout-prone areas or even acne scars.

Environ Sebu Spot Blemish Gel Cynthia Ri

Environ Sebu-Spot Blemish Gel

Great for all skin types

Reduces acne and acne scars.

  • Use an acne fighting serum at night to regulate oil production, exfoliate the skin and kill acne causing bacteria.  We love iS Clinical Active Serum. 

iS Clinical Active Serum Cynthia Rivas S

iS Clinical Active Serum

Great for all skin types except sensitive/rosacea

Exfoliates, brightens, reduces congestion/blackheads, refine pores, smooths texture and reduces acne 

If you absolutely must get rid of a pimple—like you’re scheduled to meet the Queen of England tomorrow—it’s imperative that you NEVER use your bare fingers. Instead, use two Q-Tips to gently squeeze the white pus out of the blemish.  Never dig at the breakout, it’s only to get the white puss out.  Gentle pressure should be enough.  If you have to squeeze harder, then it’s not ready to be opened.  Always follow the advice above after you are done squeezing to keep the bacteria from spreading to other areas of your skin or to avoid further clogging of the pore.

By building consistent skin care routines and, most importantly, resisting the urge to pop your pimples, your skin will be prepped to take on any ac-nemesis that comes its way. If you need additional guidance on dealing with acne-prone skin, schedule a 1 on 1 virtual consultation to discuss your skin care needs. ♡



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