One of the most common irritants a teenager faces in her life is those little red, black and white pustules which spring up on her face overnight!!! The most dreaded eruption which sometimes leaves her depressed and physically and psychologically scarred – The Pimple.
WHAT IS A PIMPLE?
A pimple is a red, raised skin blemish that usually contains pus. The most common cause of pimples is acne, a skin disorder which occurs more commonly in teenagers. Acne is generally caused by hormonal changes that occur at puberty. One of the hormones released during this time is testosterone which stimulates the oil gland, Sebaceous gland, found just beneath our skin and close to the hair shaft. Dead skin and dirt on the surface of the skin plugs off the hair shaft and oil keeps getting accumulated under these plugs. A plugged pore causes a blemish which is called a blackhead or a whitehead. Pimples are caused by the Acne Bacillus, a type of germ which thrives in the accumulated oil. This germ makes irritating substances from the oil causing redness and pus.
TYPES OF PIMPLES
There are various types of pimples, some of which might be more severe manifestations of the others. Blackheads are small raised black colored zits which can be identified quite easily. Whiteheads are like blackheads, only they are found beneath the skin and are normally flesh colored. Papules are small rounded pink colored bumps that rise from the skin. Sometimes the pimples contain pus and appear as white Pustules which have a red base. These are quite painful and ugly. Cysts are larger, filed with pus and are also very painful. These generally leave behind scars.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES FOR PIMPLES TO ERUPT?
As mentioned earlier, pimples usually erupt in adolescence years, when there are hormonal changes taking place in your body. In females, pimples are likely to worsen about a week or so before their menstrual cycle, due to the release of hormones during that time. They can also occur during pregnancy. Excessive oil used in cooking and excessive use of cosmetics can also trigger the onset of pimples. Hormonal levels, especially adrenaline and cortisole might also be raised during periods of extreme stress, causing pimples to erupt. People suffering from severe dandruff often find fine pustules on their face, as the infection from the scalp spreads to the face. Use of birth control pills and certain drugs like corticosteroids and barbiturates are also known causes for acne.
HOW TO GET RID OF PIMPLES?
There are quite a few drugs sold over the counter at medical shops, which help to cure acne and control the infection. The most common is benzoyl peroxide which attacks and kills bacteria and also slows down the production of oil in the sebaceous glands. Salicylic acid helps to break down blackheads and whiteheads and also helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. A saturated dicarboxylic acid, Azelaic Acid is also effective in strengthening the cells that line the follicles, prevents bacterial growth and also helps in reducing the production of excessive oil. Most of these drugs are used in creams, lotions, pads or soaps, which are readily available in the market. But one has to be very careful while using these creams and lotions especially those who have sensitive skin. It is always advisable to contact a dermatologist before going in for these creams and lotions.
There are treatments for removal of scars, which should always be done by a reputed dermatologist. The different scar removal techniques include Chemical Peeling, Dermabrasion, Collagen Injections and Laser Therapy. There is another therapy which uses blue light source known as Blue Light Photo Therapy which kills the bacteria with minimum side effects. This therapy does not use UV rays and so does not damage the skin unlike other therapies. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, blue-light therapy is the best-known light therapy for acne treatment.
HOME REMEDIES FOR PIMPLES/ACNE
There are a number of effective cures for treating pimples available in your homes, and they are totally chemical free and have no side effects. Some of the home remedies for pimples are give below:
- Squeeze out the juice of a tomato. Apply over face and leave to dry for about ten minutes. Rinse with warm water. Follow this routine for about a month.
- Since turmeric has anti -bacterial and anti -fungal properties, it is also very effective in getting rid of pimples and acne. Add turmeric paste to a few drops of coconut or sesame oil and apply over the pimples. Alternatively, adding a few drops of lime juice or cucumber juice with a pinch of turmeric can also have the same effect.
- To get rid of pimples and scars, make a paste of one and a half tablespoons of sandalwood powder and a pinch of turmeric to three tablespoons of orange juice. Apply on face and leave for ten to fifteen minutes. This mask is very good for oily skin as turmeric has also shown to help in regulating the production of sebum, an oily substance produced in the sebaceous glands. The orange juice helps to clear blemishes in the skin and sandalwood is a natural and excellent astringent.
- Applying toothpaste on the pimples and leaving overnight is quite a favorite home remedy for most teenagers.
- Take a couple of drops of tea tree oil on a cotton ball and apply on the zits for a few minutes and wash off with cold water.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
Most of the times, we cannot avoid getting pimples, because we cannot avoid hormonal imbalances in our system, but then we can definitely try to prevent this outbreak of acne if we follow some simple steps.
- Avoid eating oily and fried foods. These foods increase the oil content in your skin and add to the oil production in the sebaceous glands.
- Keep your skin clean always, but do not wash your face too many times with strong soaps. Use a mild soap to wash your face twice a day.
- If you have an oily face, use water based moisturizers and water based creams.
- Try to keep your hands and hair away from your face as far as possible as they can contaminate the pores on the skin and cause acne.
- Try to lead a stress free life. Sleep well for at least 6-8 hrs a day. Regular exercise and a well balanced diet helps in keeping acne at bay.
- Always remove your makeup completely before going to bed. Never apply make up to your bare skin. Apply a base of moisturizer to your face which acts as a shield against the harmful chemicals found in some cosmetics.
- Last but not the least, drink plenty of water. Water cleanses and purifies the body and gives a beautiful glow to the skin.