It’s sometimes just so unfair that we’re supposed to be living the best years of our lives but have to deal with spots, blemishes and mini-volcanoes erupting from our skin.
But just because you’ve got acne (and let’s face it, most of us have or will get it at some stage!), that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. I’m here to give you the lowdown on zits and what you can do to zap them out of your life.
1) Get To Know Your Acne
Ok, so not all pimples are equal. First, we’ve got the whitehead – which is pretty much a blocked-up pore covered by a thin layer of skin. It looks like a bump with a white cap.
Then there’s the blackhead which pretty much looks like black dots in your T-zone (that’s your forehead, nose, chin and area around your mouth). A blackhead is also a clogged pore but it’s not covered by skin.
Then if those tiny blocked pores become inflamed (like, if you pick at them), they become a red bump (aka a pimple).
Sometimes, acne can worsen into swollen, painful pimples that go deep into your skin. Make sure you chat to your doctor about this type, as it could cause scars if not treated.
2) What are the main causes of acne?
So what are the main things that can cause an acne flare-up?
Well, if you’re not keeping your skin clean and exfoliating (ie sloughing off the dead skin cells and other skin muck), the surface of your skin may trap dirt and oil in your pores, which may then cause pimples.
Our go-to acne treatment, Benzac®* , has an awesome Foaming Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin which removes impurities and helps unblock pores. I love the feel of my skin after using the cleanser – it controls oiliness but doesn’t dry my skin.
The Benzac® range also includes a Gentle Facial Moisturiser for Acne Prone Skin to soothe and hydrate skin cells.
Pollution can also cause bad skin. Teeny weeny bits of dirt from smog, exhausts and smoke can mix up with your skin’s oil and cause breakouts. Yet another reason to wash your face daily with a good quality facial cleanser.
Hormones can play havoc with your skin. For girls, just before you get your period, your hormones go a bit loopy causing more oil to be produced, which then can block pores and lead to pimples.
Stress can also be a big factor causing bad skin. When you’re anxious or freaking out, the hormone cortisol spikes, which causes your skin to be oilier.
So with all these factors, the key is to find an acne treatment that works for you!
3) You need to find the right treatment for YOU
Just because your favourite celeb swears by some miracle zit-zapping cream or your BFF used some lotion that cleared up her skin overnight, doesn’t mean that the same treatment is going to work for you.
Just like clothes, acne treatments are not a ‘one-size fits all’ so it’s best to find one that suits your skin type and kind of acne.
I tried many cosmetic and ‘natural’ treatments on my pimples. They promised the world but just did nothing for me! I was feeling desperate and talked to my pharmacist about different options, I now use Benzac® AC*, it works to kill the acne causing bacteria helping me to escape the cycle of spots. You can get it over the counter and it’s an easy to apply gel that’s fast acting and unblocks pores, blackheads and whiteheads. The treatment claims to kill up to 94% of acne bacteria1,2 living deep inside the pores and absorbs excess oil to unclog and exfoliate the follicle walls.
And let me tell you, it worked! I love how Benzac® not only treats the pimples I already had but also helps to prevent further breakouts. Awesome!
4) The scary side effect of acne that people don’t talk about
So this is one that we tend to be a bit embarrassed to talk about but it’s becoming a BIG problem. Bad pimples can cause a hit on your confidence and self-esteem.
I know that waking up to a forehead of zits makes me what to pull the doona over my head and never come out until the pimples have gone.
So don’t let your pimples get out of control. Make sure you treat them as soon as they appear and use a treatment like Benzac®*, which helps to stop the cycle of spots.
5) Can I pop my pimples?
Search Youtube for Pimple Popping and you’ll get enough videos to keep you busy for hours. But my advice is, watch others pop their spots – BUT leave yours alone!
I know just how tempting it is to pop them, especially if they’ve got that gross white top. But take it from me, the tiny spot could end up in an oozy red mess and it’ll look much worse. It will take longer to heal and could cause scarring. Plus squeezing your spots could also spread infection.
So give it the Benzac®* treatment and then if you must, cover it up with makeup until it’s gone.
6) Is there a quick fix for pimples?
Pimples seem to pop up out of nowhere, but then seem to take a million years to disappear. There is some good news though – while it’s pretty much impossible to get a zit to disappear immediately, you can do a few things to make it look much less puffy and red.
I know it sounds obvious, but I seriously can not stress how important it is to get a really good face cleanser. The Benzac® range removes excess oil and skin impurities without drying it out – and that’s exactly what we need.
Then apply an Acne treatment like Benzac® AC* Gel, which kills the acne bacteria and unblocks the pores.
And remember, don’t pick!
7) Does Make-up Cause acne?
Yes, make-up can cause acne by clogging up skin pores. The very thing that we use to try and conceal our acne, could actually be making it worse! Bummer!
If you are going to use makeup, experts recommend that you pick a mineral makeup, that’s a powder. Powder mineral makeup can’t support bacteria growth, which could lead to acne flare-ups. Also go for makeup that is hypoallergenic and fragrance free.
It’s probably best to avoid heavy foundation if you have acne-prone skin, but it may not be the product that is causing the pimples, but rather your brushes. Bad bacteria living on dirty makeup brushes could cause pimples to pop up. And the only thing you can do is to wash the brushes well, at least once a week.
8) How to talk to your parents about your skin
It’s probably been many years since mum and dad have had to deal with pimples…so it’s easy to forget how harsh life is when you’ve got acne.
Make sure you talk to your parents about your skin and be open and honest about how having acne affects your life and makes you feel.
Do your own research and suggest to them what acne treatment you would like to try. If it’s an over-the-counter treatment, you can skip the doctor and go straight to the pharmacy to pick up a pack.
9) These things could be causing your acne (and we bet you’ve never thought about it)
If pimples are popping up on your cheeks or anywhere near where you hold your phone, it’s time to give your mobile a clean. Your phone picks up lots of dirt and bacteria from your bag, your hands and other surfaces, which can then be transferred to your face. Try wiping your screen with an anti-bacterial wipe often to get rid of germs.
Your hands may be the cause of your bad skin. If you often rest your face on your hands or touch your face with your fingers, you could be transferring acne-causing bacteria from your hands to your skin.
Pillow cases could also be guilty of causing breakouts. Even if you cleanse your face every day and night, your pillowcase carries sweat and dirt, which is then transferred back to your face. So best to change your pillowcase every few days.
If you’ve got a fringe, beware of spraying it with hair product, as this could cause annoying pimples on your forehead and along your hairline.
10) Big mistakes that could be making your acne worse
Wash your face twice a day…but no more. Overwashing and over-exfoliating your skin could leave it dry, red and tender. And remember to rinse your face well with water when cleansing.
Do you apply your acne treatment just to your zits? The best way to prevent future breakouts is by applying the treatment to the entire problem area, not just the pimples you have now. This will then help to stop new zits from forming.
Don’t skip sunscreen. Sunburn may dry out pimples temporarily, but it can end up making you break out even more, because your skin reacts to the drying effect of the sun by producing even more oil. Use a daily facial moisturiser, like Benzac®, to keep your skin hydrated and cover with a SPF50+ sunscreen. Make sure it is non-comedogenic (doesn’t block your pores). This means you can be confident that your face products don’t contain any pimple-causing ingredients.
Don’t skip moisturiser. Even if your skin is prone to oiliness, it doesn’t mean you should avoid moisturising. All cleansers, even water, take out some level of moisture. So it’s important to use a moisturiser to replace the moisture and protect your skin. Opt for a non-greasy product like Benzac® Facial Moisturiser for Acne Prone Skin which is a lightweight, non-greasy moisturiser specifically designed for acne prone skin. It is oil free and fragrance free, and won’t clog the pores..
Don’t be inconsistent with your acne treatment. And don’t try to compensate by over-applying acne treatment. This could irritate your skin, making it red and dry. Remember, applying more product doesn’t mean faster/better results.
Acne treatments should be applied consistently, usually two times a day.
This article was commissioned by the team at Benzac® as part of the Benzac® product review campaign. The YOMM editorial team compiled this article after working with the team at Benzac® and realising that this product is an excellent acne treatment.
* Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional.
References. 1. Data on file, Galderma. 2. Benzac Consumer Medicine Information Leaflet, March 2017. Sponsored by Galderma Australia. BNZ19-01-0002