Recurring pimples

Posted by on Feb 17, 2012

Q:I have a big puss-filled pimple on my nose that keeps reappearing… what do you recommend? Thanks, Yvette.

Recurring pimples are so annoying – we’ve all had them (except maybe the girls they appear on those Clearasil TVCs that truly look as though they’ve never had a pimple in their life!). But the good news is in my experience * it is definitely possible to break the pimple cycle.

Here are a few things I recommend (assuming you don’t have any particular allergies):

  • EXFOLIATE: it’s the best way to keep your pores clean and clear, so that oil and moisture can flow freely. Without exfoliating, it’s very easy for dead skin to trap the oil within the pores, leading to inflammation, aggravation and puss. It’s not enough to just exfoliate the surface of your skin with products like grainy exfoliating scrubs. When you have pimples, the key is to exfoliate within the clogged pore itself. Salicylic acid – a beta-hydroxy acid, is an ingredient which can do this because it can penetrate deep within the pore. It is easy to find it in most skincare lines (like Neutrogena). Start with the lowest concentration (1%) and allow your skin adjust to it.
  • DISINFECT: If exfoliation alone hasn’t worked (give it a few weeks first though!), you may want to try benzoyl peroxide. It can really stop a pimple in its tracks as it disinfects the area by killing the bacteria causing the breakouts. But beware: it can also be extremely drying and should be used with caution and only where you need it. Clearasil, Benzac, Paula’s Choice contain varying levels of benzoyl peroxide. Start with the lowest concentration (2.5%) and allow your skin to adjust to it.
  • DON’T PICK IT! The pore is already not performing optimally so why irritate it further? Inadvertently you could be scarring your skin or causing post-inflammatory pigmentation – both of which are guaranteed to annoy you for months, maybe years after the pimple and puss have long gone.
  • KEEP YOUR MAKEUP SIMPLE: Make sure that any products you use directly on and around the pimple are oil-free and the ingredients are non-comedogenic.

Give your skin a few weeks to adjust to the changes in your skincare routine and hopefully you will see a visible improvement!

* While I’m not a dermatologist, my job indirectly (and obviously!) has a lot to do with skin. How you look after your skin is important because if your skincare isn’t working for you, it’s difficult for makeup to look its best.