Breaking Out? Here Are 8 Things You Should Not Do
Dealing with a nasty breakout? It happens to the best of us. When it does happen, one of our first instincts is to solve the issue come hell or high water, especially if we have an impending meeting or date. This “fix it now” mentality and sense of urgency, while it may be beneficial at the workplace, can make matters worse when it comes to our pimples. To find out exactly what we should—and shouldn’t—be doing to our zit-laden skin, we tapped New York City-based dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Joshua Zeichner. Read on for eight common breakout habits you should nix ASAP.
1. Don’t pick at your pimples.
It’s plain and simple: popping pimples may feel satisfying in the moment, but can ultimately cause more issues. Zeichner warns, “Don't pick. Inevitably you will do it the wrong way, which can lead to more harm than good.” The harm he’s referring to can be anything from infections to long-term scarring. What’s more, popping pimples irritates the skin around the blemish, which will only draw more attention to your zit. Leave your fingers out of the equation and give your pimples the chance to heal the right way.
2. Don’t sleep on the same dirty pillowcase.
When’s the last time you switched out your pillowcase? If the answer is a few weeks, you’re due for a laundry day. Leftover product from your hair and face, along with bacteria, can build up overtime on your sheets and pillowcases and wreak havoc on your complexion while you snooze.
3. Don’t touch your face.
Between doorknobs and keyboards, your fingers come into contact with dirt and bacteria very easily. To avoid bacteria and impurities transferring onto your complexion, keep your hands away from your face. Even if you think your hands are clean, there’s a good chance they may not be.
4. Don’t skip out on cleansing.
Cleansing your skin helps to remove built-up impurities and dead skin cells from your skin’s surface. Ideally, daily cleansing can help keep breakouts at bay. But if you’re dealing with pesky zits, continue to wash your face with an acne-fighting cleanser morning and night. Refrain from harsh rubbing as doing so may irritate your pimples even further.
5. Don’t focus on one area.
When you have a few zits on your face, it’s normal to want to direct all of your attention to those problem areas. The truth is, you shouldn’t devote all of your attention to your zits but rather continue to care for your entire face. “Not treating your whole face means that you are constantly playing catch-up,” Dr. Zeichner says. “Rather than just spot-treating the pimples you do have, help prevent new ones from popping up to begin with.”
6. Don’t expect overnight magic.
Haven’t seen the results you’re looking for after a dedicated routine? Don’t panic. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends giving acne treatments at least four to six weeks to show visible results. Don’t throw in more products into your routine just because you think it might speed things up. Incorporating new products into your routine every few days can have the potential to irritate skin and often lead to new breakouts. Instead of expecting overnight results, keep up the momentum and stay patient.
7. Don’t skip the directions.
Acne-fighting ingredients are notoriously drying, so you want to make sure to always follow the directions before applying a formula with them onto your skin. Read the product label carefully for the amount of product—and how often you should be applying it—prior to use.
8. Don’t neglect your specific skin type.
Regardless of whether or not you’re dealing with a breakout, you should always stick to skin care products that are deemed safe for your skin type for the best results. Don’t know your skin type? We asked a dermatologist for clues on how to determine whether your skin is oily, sensitive, combination, or dry, here.