A pimple is a kind of acne, and one of the many results of excess oil getting trapped in the pores. Some of the varieties are pustules orpapules. Pimples can be treated by various acne medications prescribed by a dermatologist, or purchased at a drug store with a wide variety of treatments.
What Causes Pimples & Acne
Pimples usually develop after blackheads or whiteheads have become infected.
There are oil glands on your chest, face and back numbering in the thousands. In fact, between the nose and cheek areas there are as many as two thousand oil glands every square inch. The function of these oil glands is to lubricate the skin by producing oil, or sebum. Oil that is produced in the glands flows through follicles or tiny ducts to the surface of the skin. It usually starts far beneath the surface of the skin. A blemish (or internal lump) begins about 2 to 3 weeks before it appears on your skin's surface. Acne first begins to form in your sebaceous hair follicles. You know this as "pores", the tiny holes on you skin. Deep within each hair follicle, sebaceous glands generate sebum, the oil that keeps your skin soft, moist and pliable. As part of your skin's renewal process the old cells die and are shed off. Normally, this cell shedding process happens gradually, and fresh new skin takes its place.
But sloughing (the process where living tissue is separated from dead skin tissue) is not the same for everyone. Some people shed cells evenly while others don't. The result of uneven sloughing is that dead cells become sticky, clogging together to form aplug, similar to a cork in a bottle. This plug traps oil and bacteria inside the follicle.
The trapped oil begins to form a lump as your skin continues its normal oil production. Your body's natural defense system then sends an army of white blood cells to attack the bacteria. The whole process takes around 2 to 3 weeks, resulting in a pimple.
Many teenagers experience pimple outbreaks. It is at this time that the skin attempts to adjust to hormonal changes that occur during puberty. There is a tendency for most people when seeing a 'ripe' pimple try to pick or squeeze it. This will cause further damage to your skin as germs or bacterias from your finger tips can cause inflammation and scarring as a result. The risk of infection is also increased. Most times, when acne is ignored, it can leave visible scars on your skin.
Here's how to get rid of it quickly and safely:
1. Don't ever pinch, squeeze or pick at a pimple. This only causes it to become more red and inflamed, and will spread the bacteria and oils that caused it in the first place, to other parts of your face! It can also lead to scars.
2. Every 30 minutes, apply an ice pack to the pimple and hold it there for about 2 minutes. This will decrease the swelling and redness and help shrink the inflammation and pain that sometimes comes along with it.
3. They don't call it concealer for nothing! Covering the pimple with a light dose of flesh-tinted concealer can help mask it when you're in a hurry. It also helps cover up that oily shine.
4. Cleanse your skin 2-3 times a day with mild, unscented soap or a specialized acne cleanser that has no harsh chemicals (such as lye). Scrub skin gently with an exfoliating pad or washcloth, but don't rub too hard, otherwise you'll sap your skin of its own natural oils, which help to repel buildup naturally.
5. Apply a cream or ointment containing benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid (many over-the-counter acne medicines contain these ingredients) to the blemish or around the entire facial area. Note that these ingredients both have a tendency to dry out skin if used too much and are not recommended if you have sensitive skin.
6. Wear oil-free makeup whenever possible. These types have less of a tendency to cause the pore buildup that results in blemishes. Remove your makeup nightly and cleanse with an acne-fighting medicine to remove dirt, oil and makeup from deep within the skin.
7. If you're in need of a quick fix, a dab of toothpaste on the affected area right before bed can help soothe irritation and reduce redness. Pressing and holding a wet tea bag or a cotton ball with a dab of lemon juice against the blemish for five minutes can also reduce swelling and redness.
If you follow these tips, chances are you'll notice a significant difference rather quickly - often within a day or two. If pimples become a recurring problem or worsen, your doctor or dermatologist can suggest a daily skin cleansing routine that will suit your skin type. Other long-term remedies, such as facial masks, diet adjustments and increasing the amount of water you drink can also help combat outbreaks.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.