Fed up with squeezing your zits and then regretting it for the rest of the week? Try washing them away with The Mix's guide to spots.
What’s the difference between spots and acne?
Medically, all spots are called ‘acne’. If you have one lone lurking lurker on your chin, or a relentless angry and constant splodging of spots all over your face – doctors will call them both acne. However, we think there’s a huge different between the odd zit and chronic spots. If you have serious acne, read our article about how to treat it here.
What causes spots?
Our hormones are responsible for spots or acne. Spots are basically the skin’s response to hormones which can over-stimulate a natural oil called sebum. This oozes out from the skin and blocks up your pores. If a blockage occurs, then the trapped oil breeds bacteria and gets inflamed. That’s the point where the spot makes an appearance.
Most people experience spots in their teens, anywhere from the face, to the neck, back or chest, but many are affected in their twenties too.
How to prevent spots
If you’ve got severe acne, it’s mainly just very bad luck and you’ll be looking more at treatments rather than prevention. However, if you just want to combat the odd one-off spot explosion – there are some things you can try.
- Wash your face twice a day with warm water, as this will wash off excess sebum.
- Put your pillowcases through the wash regularly – otherwise you’re mashing your face into dirt every night. Keep everything around your face clean too – from your hair, to your mobile phone screen.
- Try not to touch your face too much, as this will increase oil production.
- Stay calm – easier said than done, we know, but stress can cause spot outbreaks.
How do I get rid of the odd spot?
Reducing the inflammation and infection, and drying it out, is the key. Dabbing the spot with diluted teatree oil is a good, cheap, natural remedy. There are also loads of great over-the-counter products you can buy. It’s worth having a chat with your pharmacist so they can recommend a product that matches the severity of your spots.
Should I squeeze it?
If you got a zit that’s begging to be punished, follow the squeezers guide.
Red: Don’t even touch it. Squeezing now will only force the contents deeper into the skin and make it even angrier.
Yellow: Squeeze away. Just wash your hands first, and then gently use the side of your thumb and the end of one finger. Be sure to stop, however, once the pus has been pushed out. Squeezing out blood or clear fluid is only going to damage your skin. Afterwards, always dab the area with a mild antiseptic or tea tree oil.
Green: Don’t touch it. The spot is infected. Green is for Go to your GP.
Black (heads): Don’t squeeze, you’ll risk making it worse by spreading the bacteria. If you’re desperate to get rid, try using a gluey pore strip, especially for lifting up blackheads.
Photo of boy squeezing spot by Shutterstock
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
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