Skin Care Facts You Should Know (Part 2)

Cynthia Bailey, MD|September 1, 2016

Fact: Popping pimples is not always bad

We all know that popping a pimple can be bad. Especially popping zits that aren't ready, because the trauma of this to your skin can lead to scarring, red marks or hyperpigmentation. There is also a 'danger triangle' on the face that you need to know about before you launch into a pimple popping session.

Some of us go through many years of post-graduate training to refine the 'art' of pimple popping because it can be that important to the end result. Yes, there is a pimple popping science because pimple popping is actually a form of 'surgery'. You can ask anyone who submits bills to medical insurance if you have your doubts!

Short of the 7 years of post-graduate study and testing needed for Dermatology Board Certification (yes, 7 years after college - this is serious stuff!), there are a few things you should know to improve your chances of keeping Hippocrates happy by 'doing no harm' when you pop a zit. I explain these in my seminal post on this popular subject, How to Pop a Pimple (aka Zit).

In spite of those cautionary notes, there are times when popping a pimple can be a good thing. This mostly applies to 'pimples' that are actually inflamed and swollen blackheads. These types of 'pimples' get better faster when the plug is released because the blackhead is the cause of the swelling and inflammation. A good retinoid product (prescription or over-the-counter), or AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) product can loosen up these blackhead plugs and make them easier to remove. Unfortunately, even with the most powerful pore-cleansing skin care, many of us still get blackheads and clogged pores. This is simply what pores do.

You can DIY your own extractions if you know how, but the best way to remove blackheads is by professional extraction. Danielle, our aesthetician, works wonders keeping pores and skin clear with regular extractions.

Keeping your pores clean helps your products work better. Many skin care ingredients need to penetrate deeply into the pores to be absorbed and they struggle when pores are plugged with dead skin, oil and debris.

Are you curious about exactly what an aesthetician like Danielle does when she preps and extracts pores during a facial? 

Read about this in From the Aesthetician: Is a Facial a Treat or Necessary for Healthy Skin? If you're local enough to come in then make an appointment and let her have at your pores. I've got my appointment later this month, and I always look forward to it. If you are one of my distant readers, consider finding a good aesthetician near you who is an extraction pro - your complexion will be the better for it.


Fact: Wash your face twice to remove makeup or oil-based products 

Many great products contain oils, and makeup and can enhance our appearance. I, and many people I know, don't feel feel fully dressed and ready until I 'put on my face'. But, what about clogging the pores with products and makeup that contain oils?

Even if your complexion is prone to acne and clogged pores, there is no reason you can’t use a product with non-comedogenic oils or a makeup that is non-comedogenic. What is important is that you remove it completely before going to bed, or it just might manage to clog your pores even though it is technically 'non-comedogenic' (defined by a test done on bunny ears many years ago).

 I can't tell you how many facial skin biopsy specimens I've looked at over my career that have makeup particles and product oil droplets stuck way down deep in the pores. Many times I have seen this even without the presence of a blackhead (comedone). You don't want that for the reasons I mentioned above!

 I instruct my makeup-wearing and oil-product-using patients who are prone to clogged pores to wash their face twice at night. Wash first with a regular cleanser or soap to remove the outer layer of oil, product and makeup. An economical option is my Naturally Best Bar Soap used with a Clarisonic Brush System (like the Clarisonic Smart Profile or Mia 2), Facial Buf Puf or a Salux wash cloth.

Toleriane Vanicream Cleansing BarFollow up with a more gentle cleanser like Vanicream Cleansing Bar or Toleriane if you have sensitive skin. If your facial skin needs and can tolerate active ingredients like AHAs, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid,then use facial cleansers with these ingredients as the second cleansing, such as my Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser.  Again, preferably with a Clarisonic brush. This ensures that your skin AND pores are truly clean, ready for evening products, and will look 'fresh' in the morning.



Did any of these facts surprise you? What other skin care myths have you been surprised by? Join the conversation on social media and also receive early access to store promotions!

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