Dealing with pimples: what you should know

Each time you look at yourself in the mirror, you see a face covered in pimples. The feeling of sadness that usually follows, we understand too well.

Now pimples can develop at any age. They are however more common during puberty, and likely to occur in pregnancy and menstruation because of the hormonal changes that occur during these periods.

Pimples are caused by a skin condition known as acne.

How do pimples form?

Pimples appear on your face when the pores on your skin get blocked by oil, dead skin or bacteria.

Normally your skin is covered in millions of tiny pores. These pores connect the sebaceous gland beneath your skin to the surface of your skin. This sebaceous gland produces sebum, an oily substance released in small amounts continually to your hair follicles and skin. Sebum also carries dead skins so they can be washed away.

The sebaceous gland occasionally secretes excess sebum causing an oil overflow to clog and obstruct the pores on your skin. The pores become blocked by excess oil, dead skins and possibly bacteria, which can lead to infection, swelling and inflammation around the obstructed pore. Pus then forms at the top of the pore creating a pimple.

What causes pimples?

There is no known explanation for why some people experience pimples and others do not. Nor is the exact cause of acne known.

There are some factors however that can contribute to or worsen acne;

Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or puberty.

Poor sleep


Some foods such as sugar containing foods, fast food, greasy foods can lead to an outbreak of pimples.

Creams, cleansers, moisturizers and other beauty products with high oil content.

Certain medications, some hormonal birth control and steroids.

Family history of acne.

What should I do if I have a pimple?

Don’t pop the pimple. Popping the pimple will allow more bacteria, dirt, and oil into the pore, which may end up making the pimple worse. 
Popping pimples also increases your chances of scarring, so no matter how tempting it feels to immediately get rid of the pimples do not squeeze.

Instead, use good skin care techniques. You can wash your skin twice a day with a mild soap.
While washing your face, don’t use a brush or washcloth, instead use your fingers.

Clean up your make up brushes to avoid buildup of more bacteria
Do not wash your face too much as it will strip off the natural oil
OTC (over-the-counter) skin cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid help the pimples clear.

If your pimples persist or develop into papules, you may want to see a dermatologist as you will get a more effective treatment.


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