Your skin is made up of tiny pores which produce oil (sebum) from your sebaceous glands to keep your skin moisturised. The amount of oil your skin produces differs depending on your skin type.
Pores can become clogged with oil, dirt, grime, makeup and products (i.e. sunscreen, hair wax), as well as dead skin cells and touching your face.
When the exposed part of the blockages comes into contact with air (this is called oxidation) the blockage changes colour (this is where the term blackhead comes from).
If left untreated blackheads can become infected with bacteria causing a pimple.
Pimples can also form even when there was no blackhead, from pores being blocked. This is called a whitehead, when the area was not exposed to air (oxidation) leaving it a white colour.
Milia, like a whitehead, are small white bumps on the skin, they’re common around eyes and backs of arms and best left to an expert to remove.
A papule is a raised pimple that is inflamed but does not contain any pus.
NOTE: Touching your face can cause infections due to the bacteria on your hands – that is why it’s important not to touch your face or try to ‘pop’ pimples / blackheads without proper cleansing, steaming and exfoliating.
A pustule is an inflamed area that does contain pus (hence the gross sounding name).
A nodule/cyst is where the area outside of the pores and sebaceous glands is inflamed and filled with pus. DO NOT try to remove these yourself as they are deep under the skin.
The stretching of the skin by nodules/cysts can often cause scarring and are best seen to by an acne specialist.
- Avoid wearing mineral oil / petroleum based makeup.
- Don’t wear makeup to bed, cleanse your skin daily/nightly.
- Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water or herbal tea to help flush out toxins.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugary drinks/food and nicotine where possible as these are highly dehydrating to skin. Avoid dairy also, if possible.
- Moisturise regularly and use recommended products to keep your skin clean, hydrated and in excellent condition.
- Avoid touching your face. Wear gloves if necessary (preferably natural fiber) to avoid cross contamination of bacteria from hands to face.