There’s nothing pretty about acne. It’s uncomfortable, unsightly and usually a sign that your skin isn’t as healthy as it should be. But, are you caring for your scars correctly or making them worse? Jagruti Verma helps you find out
We know how tempting it is to try and get rid of your acne the minute it pops up. It’s tempting to squeeze a zit until you’re left with nothing but a scab, rather than wait patiently for it to go from bright red to white and pus filled, before it finally backs down.
However, you could be making your acne worse, which in turn will lead to permanent scarring or spots that could take up to a year to go away! We spoke to Dr. Bharti Maru Magoo, aesthetician at Golden Touch Clinic, to help you figure things out. How do you deal with common acne situations?
- What do you do when you get a pimple?
- Look in the mirror and imagine all sorts of magical ways to make it disappear.
- Check up online about the best ways to remove it and try everything I can.
Expert advice: We know that it is tempting to obsess over ways to burst that ugly pimple, but Dr. Bharti advises against it. “When you get a pimple, a boil, a whitehead or a blackhead, do not touch, squeeze or needle it, as it may get inflamed,” she says. So, what should you do instead? She suggests using herbal pimple cream on the affected area. “Even using a homemade paste made of haldi and sandalwood prevents scarring most of the time,” she tells us.
- How comfortable are you with the idea of cosmetic surgery to get rid of acne?
- Acne is a real menace. I wouldn’t mind trying this.
- Going under the knife for this stupid inflammation? Thanks, but no thanks!
Expert advice: This may sound slightly biased, but we can boldly say that we like you more for choosing the second option, because we wouldn’t go under the knife either. However, to our relief, Dr. Bharti tells us that this is a pretty common chain of thought. Depending on the depth of your scars and quality of your skin, you can opt for mild, moderate or strong peels. Other good options include laser treatments and microdermabrasion.
- Do you try to hide your acne with makeup?
- What other option do I have? I don’t like people fixating on my breakout instead of listening to me!
- They are just natural spots that will eventually heal. Why waste precious makeup?
Expert advice: While using makeup to cover you acne might give you the temporary satisfaction, Dr. Bharti tells us that as the makeup sets in, the scars become more visible. She says, “Even non-comedogenic foundations that are supposed to be light can cause whiteheads after a while and are often the reason for recurring acne.”
THE SCARS THAT FOLLOW
Here are a few myths about acne scars, busted by Dr. Vandana Punjabi, a doctor who wears many hats. She is a clinical dermatologist and an aesthetic dermatologist, as well as a trichologist and a woman’s and paediatric dermatologist at Dr. Vandana Punjabi’s Skin and Hair Care Clinic in Khar.
Myth: Acne scars will never fade away completely.
Fact: While they can take around three to six months to go away on their own, this depends on three things: what kind of acne you had, for how long you had it and your budget for treatment. If you had mild to moderate acne, you usually won’t have any problem getting rid of the scars. Also, you won’t have to spend a large amount of money to do this.
Myth: You cannot prevent acne scars while you still suffer from acne outbreaks.
Fact: You can prevent acne scars during an acne outbreak as well as after one. All you need is to treat your acne well. You can also prevent scarring by ensuring that you are not doing anything that could lead to inflammation, which is a major cause of acne. Remember to refrain from squeezing, popping and picking at your pimples.
THE MENACE AND ITS CAUSE
Here are a few things that you should know about acne and what makes the scars worse. Aakriti Kochar, beauty and makeup expert at Oriflame India, helps us out.
• Acne isn’t limited to your teenage years. Since it can result from an imbalance in your hormone levels, a phenomenon that is also common during your teenage years, it can crop up when you’re an adult and during pregnancy as well.
• Exfoliation won’t help your acne because it only removes the dead skin cells, bacteria and dirt that is present on the topmost layer of your skin. Although bacteria is removed with exfoliation, what causes acne resides deeper in your skin and is unaffected by the exfoliators that you use.
• Eating oily, fried or spicy food can result in production of sweat and sebum (oils) in larger amounts, and those who have acne-prone skin often have major acne breakouts after consuming these types of foods.
• Use skin products made from tea tree oil, since tea tree oil helps to kill acne-causing bacteria on oily and acne-prone skin. You will find many soap, gel and serum options that contain tea tree oil, which may help you keep your skin healthy and thus prevent further eruptions.