Skin Care Tip of the Day: All blemishes are not equal. Learn the differences and treat accordingly.
Whiteheads/Closed Comedones Little clogged bumps under the skin that aren’t red or sore, just little white-ish, clear or flesh colored bumps under the skin also known as “clogged pores.” Most people get them on the chin, sides of the mouth or hairline, but they certainly can be found elsewhere such as the cheeks. They are also very common in darker skin tones such as in African-American skin.
What you can do: Since these have no infection (meaning, they are not sore) using harsh acne products will only make them worse by causing dry skin cell build up trapping that oil in the skin longer. Exfoliate! By keeping off dead skin cell buildup this will help these purge naturally, however a good deep pore cleansing facial is also beneficial for removing the impurities within the pores. Once you get the pores cleaned out, exfoliating products work deep within the skin to keep them clean.
They can be caused from heavy pore-clogging oils like Mineral Oil and Petrolatum so be sure to avoid these ingredients. Cleanse with our AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel to destroy the oil and bacteria deep within the pores and exfoliate with products like BHA Clarifying Serum, Mint Buffing Beads and Triple Berry Smoothing Peel.
Blackheads These are large pores that contain oil that has oxidized with air causing it to turn black…
What you can do: Although there is no way to permanently get rid of blackheads, your best bet is regular monthly deep pore cleansing facials followed by home use of AHA Smoothing Serum to keep the pores cleaned. Long term use of Retin-A can help but it has to be used regularly and for years before you can really see a difference. Avoid the ingredients Isopropyl Myristate and Isopropyl Palmitate in your skin care products as these can contribute to the formation of blackheads.
Pustules These are the red, inflamed blemishes that contain pus. These are your traditional “zits” that are most likely to cause post-breakout red or dark scars IF you don’t properly know how to care for them.
What you can do: You MUST NOT touch these until you can see a whitehead. Then you can carefully extract the infected pus and immediately spot treat with our Night Time Spot Lotion. Our Daytime Blemish Gel works very well, too.
Milia Those hard, white, raised bumps that feel like a little ball under the skin; most commonly found around the eyes and the apples of the cheeks, but can appear elsewhere.
What you can do: All the acne spot treatments in the world will never get rid of these. They can be caused from heavy pore-clogging oils like Mineral Oil and Petrolatum, but for many people, they are genetic. The only way to remove these is to get them manually extracted by an esthetician or dermatologist. If you try to do it yourself, you’ll probably end up scarring yourself so it’s best to put your skin in the hands of a trusted professional. Once you get them removed, regular exfoliation is really essential to keep them from coming back–or at least as quickly. Our BHA Clarifying Serum works extremely well to keep the skin exfoliated so milia doesn’t form underneath dry skin cells. It’s also important to use gentle, low-foaming cleansing gels to deep clean without drying out the skin. See our collection of non-drying, sulfate-free cleansing gels.
Cysts Hard, painful bumps that develop deep within the skin and can linger for weeks.
What you can do: Do not pick! Despite being sore, you’ll never get that infection out and if you attempt to, you’ll most certainly have a scar that will linger for months. The rule is: If a whitehead does not forms (which they never do if it’s a true cyst) then hands off! You have only two options. Use Anti-Cyst Treatment (a true miracle of a product) or schedule an appointment to get a cortisone injection by a dermatologist.
Acne Scars Most blemishes will leave a purple or red mark once the blemish is healed. Our Post-Breakout Fading Gel works well to get the blemish scar to go away.
For more expert skin advice, check out Skin Source–the A-Z guide on all things skin. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time!