Everyone experiences pimples. Even if research shows about 80% of teenagers experience acne, I refuse to believe a person can go through an entire lifetime without getting one or two of those evil bumps in the skin. Therefore, everyone knows how much of a bother they can be. They swell, turn red, and then pop in the most disgusting way. It even becomes second nature for many people to break the skin themselves to drain the pimple; and while that sometimes works, regardless of how strongly health and beauty experts disagree, it cannot be done when dealing with sub-dermal pimples.
What are pimples exactly? Well, pimples are sebaceous glands that become infected with a bacteria species called Propionibacterium acnes. These mostly harmless, and often helpful creatures live on the surface of (and in) the human body, and feed on oil produced by the sebaceous glands. When a gland becomes hyperactive however, or when the path of the oil produced by the gland is blocked, the species is able to feed, grow, and multiply much faster than normal, to the point that the waste it leaves behind becomes a problem. The body responds by sending white blood cells to the infection site, triggering inflammation and the formation of pus. When inflammation begins, the pimple is called a papule. When it fills up with pus, it is called a pustule.
Pimples normally fill up until they drain on their own, so it is not recommended to tamper with the skin to relieve the pressure. Besides the risk of greater infection is the possibility of scarring over the damaged area. Sometimes however, the infection of P. acnes is so deep under the surface of the skin, and the feeling of irritation is so intense, that it becomes difficult to resist the temptation to poke at the pimple. The person will then squeeze the pimple, often worsening the inflammation. If the pimple is squeezed hard enough, or if the person uses nails to try and rupture the pimple, what results is a skin tear, where blood, pus, and oil all leak out.
Fortunately, there are better ways of dealing with pimples under the skin. In fact, there are so many ways to treat pimples that provided you know enough about them, you can make your own remedy.
First, because sub-dermal pimples are deep under the skin, you may want to bring it closer to the surface. Placing a hot, moist towel on your face increases circulation, and speeds up the process of filling up the pimple with white blood cells. While the thought is disgusting, it does push the pimple out, making it easier for other treatments to deal with the problem.
Once the pimple is out from where you can’t reach it, there are a number of methods to dry it out. Many substances found at home seem to be toxic towards P. acnes. Most soap easily kills it, making regular washing of the face a great way for both treatment and prevention of acne. Even honey possesses ingredients toxic to the bacteria. A face mask can be made from any such substance to deal with acne. One popular homemade face mask involves egg whites and baking soda. It dries out the oil, and doesn’t leave a mess on your face (not from the pimple anyway). In fact, the effect of baking soda on acne is so well-known, that some people recommend rubbing a bit of toothpaste on a pimple simply because most toothpaste has baking soda in it.
Acids are another efficient method of treating acne. The acidity of vinegar, combined with other antiseptic qualities it has, kills of P. acnes in short spans of time. Without the bacteria, the body finds no need for the inflammatory response, and ceases to keep sending white blood cells to the affected area. Other acidic foods such as lemons or limes can be just as effective, but be ready to deal with dry skin if you use too much.
Remedies such as these really do more than the simple brute strength of squeezing pimples until they pop. So the next time you feel that burning, swelling sensation on your nose, do yourself a favor and don’t squeeze. Letting it under your skin won’t make things better; especially when it literally is there anyway.