Monday, March 14, 2011


No one likes zits or mosquitoes.

This is not a generalization.  This is a fact of life.

And since my face seems to be a harboring quite a few lately, I'm giving these zits the satisfaction they want and providing them with a shout out here on the blog.  I guess they just get jealous that I give too much attention to the eyelashes or something.

Heregoes some info about zits and acne, with the intent that it will be helpful to those who constantly poke and prod at their face in hopes that alone will make them go away. 

Types of Acne:

Whiteheads- When the pores of your skin collect oil/sebum (which is a natural oil), you get whiteheads.  These clog your skin follicles and become lesions that are unexposed to air. Awesome.

Blackheads- When a follicle in your skin becomes clogged due to your body's overproduction of oil, a blackhead appears.  wah wah wah.

Papules- Are those awful, firm, pink bumps that are super painful and impossible to "express" as the derms call it because they don't contain any puss!  Ugh you can't even get a satisfying pop out of them. My friend Cara's worst enemy is the papule-she likes to pop zits a lot. Anywho...

Pustules- A reddish area caused by a reaction of the skin from free fatty acids with a whitish or yellow center composed of puss. 

Nodules and Cysts-  Nodules appear on large parts of your body and are vicious! They reside deep in the skin for months/years and are really mean to you.  Cysts also like to hang out beneath the skin.  They are typically inflamed blackheads or whiteheads that spill out into other pores, and as your bodies defense system produces puss as a reaction, you begin to hate them more and more.

All this info was found on by the way...I'm no where near well informed enough to make these assertions on my own.

Here are some of the most common ingredients in acne medication...I figured it would just be easier to copy this from then to try to explain this myself.


This ingredient can reduce oil or sebum production, soothes the inflammation in the form of pimples, pustules and cysts and can also help unblock the clogging of pores. However, use of this product can also result to side effects such as dryness and scaling of the skin, particularly on the lips.


This is a mainstay ingredient in cleansers as well as astringents. They are effective in removing dirt and oils from the skin. They can cause stinging or a burning sensation on the skin. Some dermatologists would advise against using these products on your face if you have severe acne, however, it can prevent the increase of break-outs if you use it regularly at the onset of acne.


This ingredient aims to dissolve comedones or whiteheads through the removal of dead cells inside the hair follicles. This in turn prevents the pores from being clogged allowing oil or sebum to pass through unimpeded. It has the effect of stinging and in the first few days of use, it can cause mild redness. Some products have a maximum of 2 percent salicylic acid in their preparation. However, for some people, a stronger mixture can be prepared depending on your skin’s needs.


This is considered the most active ingredient in acne treatment. It is basically an anti-bacterial ingredient that helps remove bacteria in the follicles. It also has the effect of dissolving comedones which is an early sign of acne. Some products have Benzoyl peroxide ingredient from 2.5 to 10% worth. Again, it depends on the severity of your acne. This is recommended for early onset acne and for prevention. Side effects would include dryness and scaling in some and redness and swelling in others.


This is rarely used alone as a product. This is actually included in acne products as an additional help to reduce acne. They remove dead skin cells and excess oil. A keratolytic preparation has drying effects on the skin. It can also cause soreness, especially at the start of the treatment. If this persists, it is advised that use of the product be discontinued until the side effects subside. A change to a lower dosage can also help.


Some acne treatment products have antibiotics in them to help kill bacteria and prevent the spread of acne. Some doctors also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent scarring. Antibiotics (such as tetracycline, tretinoin and sodium sulfacetamide) come in oral or as topical medication. They must be taken regularly and within the period prescribed. A more natural remedy is tea tree oil which also has antibacterial properties but is usually in topical form like oils, creams and gels.

Some Over the Counter Products That Fight Against Acne:

Proactiv- this skincare system uses benzoyl peroxide to help fight acne.  Speaking from personal experience, the whole process was too much for my skin, as mine is relatively sensitive.  But when I just used the cleanser and the green tea moisturizer, I definitely saw positive results.  I especially like to use it in the summer when my skin is more oily.

Find it: In those little Proactiv machines at the mall, online, infomercials.

Say Yes to Tomatoes- What I'm currently using.  The cleanser and moisturizer are quite affordable (about $10 and $15), and over 95% natural.  This system gains its acne fighting ability through the lycopene in it, which is responsible for giving tomatoes their color and also helps fight free radical damage and promote healthy skin cells.

Find it: Drugstores,online.

Philosophy- On a Clear Day Skin System.  Next on my list of facial products to try.  This salicylic acid based system seems worth trying, as I love basically anything else from Philosophy.  

Find It: Sephora, Online, the QVC channel (thanks for letting me know that one, mom)

Juice Beauty- My sister swears this natural skincare line saved her skin after she had a bout of craycray acne when she was studying abroad.  Her favorite things to use were the Green Apple Peel and the Blemish Clearing Serum.  And the line is all natural. PLUS!

Find It: Online, Sephora, Whole Foods.

What You Can Do In Your Beauty Regimen to Prevent Acne/Breakouts:

-Clean your makeup brushes on a regular basis.  After every use I spray my Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner onto my makeup brushes, and every few months I'll give them a rinse with some gentle soap and lukewarm water.

-Use Mineral-Based Makeup. Because it's good for your pores!  And won't promote nasty oil build up as much as traditional makeup will.  Maybelline, Physician's Formula, and Bare Escentuals all offer great mineral based products.

-Apply that SPF!  If your makeup or moisturizer doesn't already have SPF in it, apply sunblock for Pete sakes.  There are an ASTRONOMICAL amount of studies that say excessive exposure to sun is bad for the skin.  And when there's too much of mr. golden himself, the sun will dry out your skin, causing the next point...

-Don't over dry your skin. I know when I have a zit I feel like letting my skin dry out by not using moisturizer and way to much toner so I can be all, "hah!  Try to make a zit without any extra moisture!" And oh my skin proves me wrong.  When you deprive your skin of the moisture it needs (which may be more for some and less for others), it decides to have the last laugh and over produce oil on its own, giving you even more breakouts.

And one more note...

Stress and sleep deprivation cause eeet!ness on your skin (chemical stuff here in da body, people).  So, get some sleep like I should be doing and chalk up your latest procrastination act to "prevention measure against acne"

So, now that you've had your fifteen minutes of fame, you can go away now zits.

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