There's nothing like a big, angry zit to induce panic and put you in a vulnerable state. You would try your hardest to get rid of it immediately, whether it's through purchasing a brand new face wash or following a DIY hack you saw on YouTube. A lot of these knee-jerk self-treatments aren't always the best. In fact, they could just make your skin a lot worse! When it comes to acne, there is a longer list of things you shouldn't do than things you should do. Here are the top 10 solutions you should NEVER do when battling breakouts:
Picking your face.
This is probably the #1 thing most of us are dying to do the moment we spot a new pimple. Attention people: no matter how tempting it is, you should never EVER do it because it will just cause more harm than good.
According to Josh Zeichner, M.D., director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mt. Sinai, picking your face at the sign of acne will cause "trauma" on the skin and might ultimately lead to "“inflammation, infection, and potentially a scar". Yikes!
Washing your face too much.
Having newly developed acne may cause you to think that your face is extra dirty, and may lead you to wash your face multiple times. DON'T. DO. THIS. Washing your face more than twice a day can dry out your skin. When the skin is dry, its oil production goes haywire. You may THINK that you're cleaning your skin, but in reality, you're overdrying it out, causing more oil to be made, which would then clog pores and create MORE breakouts!
Exfoliating more than thrice a week can have the same effect as overwashing. Gradual, gentle exfoliation is encouraged since it promotes skin regeneration and cell turnover, but overdoing it can lead to more inflammation and irritation. Over-exfoliating can cause your acne to take longer to heal.
Trying out one too many products.
Spot creams, stronger facial wash, acne serums and skin-clearing face masks are great to use when you have a pimple, but they're not something you would want to use one after another. Piling on products targeted towards fighting acne may end up unsuccessful, as their individual effects are magnified and can give you the opposite of their intended effect. Instead of achieving a clear complexion, stacking on products and applying them in huge quantities may result to scaly and red skin, which is the total opposite of what you want.
Applying hot compress.
If you're not keen on using spot treatments to get rid of your acne, you might think that the next best thing is to apply a hot compress. To save you from potential trouble, don't do it. Using a hot compress will not excavate the puss. Los Angeles-based dermatologist Jessica Wu, M.D
says that "heat will only make it redder and angrier." Instead, press a cold, damp washcloth to reduce the swelling and redness. You may also opt to use a cotton swab with a bit of Visine to constrict the blood vessels around the pimple.
It doesn't matter how oily your skin is, or how desperate you are in trying to dry out your zits, never ever skip moisturizer. The use of acne treatments tend to dry out your skin in addition to pimples, and applying moisturizer will give the hydration your skin needs.
Eating trigger foods.
Eager to consumer your third cup of coffee of the day? Are you tempted to pick up your favorite burger-fries combo at McDonald's? One word: NO. Neal Schultz, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist
warns that you should always keep tabs of your trigger foods. Eating certain food can trigger a pimple in one person, but might be benign to another. You should observe and find out which ones cause the onset of breakouts. You never know, chocolate may be your #1 enemy. *cries*
Using stronger products.
Switching from your usual face products to stronger and harsher ones may seem like an obvious fix, but don't fall prey to the temptation. Products like your cleanser need to be gentle enough so topical treatments can effectively penetrate your skin. Dr. Schultz
suggests that you stick to your regular regimen until your skin stops spazzing out, then see a dermatologist if you think it's time that you need a new set of treatment.
Quitting treatments too soon.
When we look for products to successfully eradicate acne, we tend to fall for the ones that promise instant results. And so we buy them, apply them accordingly, and pray that they work immediately when we wake up the next morning.
We couldn't be more wrong. Thinking that those acne treatments will work as promised will just have us leaving constantly disappointed. In reality, products take at least two weeks to start working properly, and they usually make our skin look worse before making it look better! If you notice that you break out more once you start using a new product, it probably means it's working.
Trying out every DIY hack you see.
Scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram will have you believe that everyone has clear, glowing skin. Beauty gurus seem to have perfected the trick to fighting off acne with the use of homemade goods. While it's extremely tempting to make your own pimple-fighting potion, you should keep in mind that what works for them may not work for you. It's probably best to stay away from those DIY beauty hacks.