Published: November 18, 2015
It somehow never manages to fail: Just before a big event, like your graduation or a class reunion, an important photo shoot so you’ll have a head shot for your resume, a first date, your wedding and more, that’s exactly when acne always decides to rear its ugly head–and literally, too–in the form of a breakout of anywhere from one prominent zit to a significant little patch of ugly, and of course, it had to occur on your face, of all places! Now, before you begin texting any key people with your best excuses for canceling or postponing–or anxiously browsing the Internet for places selling the various forms of modern hats and headwear (with one-day shipping) that come with fashionable (but mostly face-obscuring) netting, hang on. There are some DIY maneuvers you can exercise in a pinch, so that your special day (or event) won’t go down in memory or otherwise recorded history as an absolute photobomb or such. It’s time for you to show acne who’s boss, and without missing a single moment of whatever it is you’re feeling suddenly robbed of.
The Worst Possible Response is Common
Sadly, and in sheer desperation, the typical go-to measures that most people suffering an unexpected and acute episode of acne only serve to make matters worse, by irritating and/or producing redness and swelling to the affected area–in their well-intentioned efforts to “take charge.” If you think about it, acne is a form of distressed irritation that would only be made worse by any sort of aggressive approach. Here, TLC rules–but in order to do that, first get yourself out of “panic” mode.
Forget Looking for Causes and Begin the Cure
The most common cause of adult and adolescent acne is from one or more clogged hair follicles. Hormonal activity is really adept at stirring things up here, followed by a close second being stressing out. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what caused the unfortunate condition, as what you really want to know is how to most expediently get rid of the problem, and with no one being the wiser. Generally, methods of treating episodic acne are pretty much all the same. So, the minute you notice the inconvenient intrusion of acne in its various forms, do the following:
- Do Not Touch: This rule is essential, across the board, yet often the most difficult one to obey. Do not squeeze, mash, apply pressure or pick in any way at a pimple. Any of these measures will only force the marauding bacteria to go deeper underneath the skin. And what, boys and girls, will happen next? What was once a rather diminutive pimple has now become inflamed, infected, swollen and worst of all–much more treatment resistant. Leave the bacteria that’s on your fingers away from your face, too. All the various forms of manual pimple intervention can produce some pretty significant scarring, too, which sometimes doesn’t fully show up for years.
- Easy Does It: Often, we go to toners and astringents that “feel like they’re working,” when it’s these very sensation-producing ingredients which do more harm, rather than healing. Most of them remove so much of your natural facial oil that your oil glands get the message to begin a concerted production increase to compensate. That new abundance of oil can produce a heightened degree of acne. Stick to gentle bar soaps that are free of oil and contain antibacterial ingredients with warmish, not ever hot water to cleanse your face. Alpha hydroxy is good, when included in no more than a 2% proportion.
- Not Now: Just about all of the topical acne treatments that really work begin by making the skin appear redder and irritated, which is what you want to avoid. Only use these when you have several weeks before you hope to be acne-free. Spot treating with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid is fine, but just on the pimple. Stick to non-comedogenic makeups and stay out of the sun, too.
- Desperate Measures: When you are beginning to cave from frustration, it’s time to visit your dermatologist for a magical cortisone remedy, in the form of an injection. Even this method works best with a little time.