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Dear Dish-It: Treating A Pimple

Dear Dish-It,

I have a pimple on my lip, and I'm trying to get rid of it. I know that you should never pop it, but my mom always makes me, and guess what … it never even works. Help me!


Dear Geek,

You’re right – while popping a pimple may make it seem less noticeable for a while, it can actually cause it to stick around longer and take more time to heal. By squeezing pimples and zits, you can actually push bacteria, dead skin cells and oil deeper into your skin, causing more redness and swelling than the pimple left untouched. Sometimes, popping a pimple can even cause a red/brown mark or even a scar to form. Marks can last for months and true scars (dents and pits on your face) will last forever.

Here are some tips to help prevent breakouts and clear pimples up as fast as possible:

  • Wash your face twice a day (no more) with warm water and a mild soap made for people with acne. Gently massage your face with circular motions. Don't scrub. Overwashing and scrubbing can cause skin to become irritated. After cleansing, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends applying an over-the-counter (no prescription needed) lotion containing benzoyl peroxide. This will decrease oil and bacteria.
  • Avoid touching your face with your fingers or leaning your face on objects that collect sebum and skin residue like your phone. Touching your face can spread the bacteria that cause pores to become inflamed and irritated. To keep bacteria at bay, wash your hands before applying anything to your face, such as treatment creams or makeup.
  • Remove your makeup before you go to sleep. When buying makeup, make sure you choose brands that say "noncomedogenic" or "nonacnegenic" on the label. Throw away old makeup that smells or looks different from when you first bought it.
  • Keep hair clean and out of your face to prevent additional dirt and oil from clogging your pores.
  • Protect your skin from the sun. It may seem like a tan masks acne, but it's only temporary. A tan can cause the body to produce extra sebum, which may worsen your acne, not improve it. Tanning also causes damage to skin that will eventually lead to wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer.

  • If you're really concerned about acne, talk to a dermatologist. Dermatologists offer a range of treatments that help to prevent and clear up acne and acne scars. A dermatologist can help you find the treatment method that's best for you and can also give you lots of useful tips for dealing with acne and caring for your skin type.


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