Picking is the WORST Thing You Can Do to Your Face!

August 22, 2016

When damage to the skin is self-inflicted in an attempt to remove a pimple, the natural course of the blemish is altered, always resulting in a longer healing period, thus increasing the likelihood of scarring.  There are no exceptions to this!

Most blemishes have a three week turnaround time from inception to disappearance. Most blemishes begin as blackheads.  Blemishes may take one of two courses from that stage.  One is inflammatory (pustules, nodules, papules) while the other is non-inflammatory (milia and cysts).  Neither of these can be safely self-extracted.

Neither of these can be safely self-extracted.

A papule or nodule is a hard or mushy, perhaps red, tender bump that is too deep to be extracted.  They may take months to be reabsorbed by the skin.  First aid is icing the area several times a day when soreness is first detected or getting a shot of cortisone in it by your dermatologist.  The latter is the fastest remedy but does carry the risk of a depression scar.  Identifying and avoiding the object (such as a hat, helmet, visor, chinstrap, etc.) or repetitive gesture (such as resting the chin on the hand or holding a cell phone tightly to the jaw) that may have created the blemish is imperative to healing.

When damage to the skin is self-inflicted in an attempt to remove a pimple, the natural course of the blemish is altered, always resulting in a longer healing period, thus increasing the likelihood of scarring. There are no exceptions to this!

The pustule, with its greenish or white head is irresistible to a picker.  It is a highly dangerous blemish, carrying great potential for serious scarring. Extraction should always be left to a professional.  The fragile funnel of the pore is engorged with bacteria, dead skin cells, leukocytes (the warriors of the body) and the debris of the battle between the leukocytes and the bacteria which is the pus you see.  This minefield is a staphylococci infection and becomes virulent to surrounding tissues if extreme caution is not taken to contain it.

Pressing the skin to extract will break the already compromised lining of the pore, infecting nearby pores, invading surrounding tissue and creating a wildfire of infection.

Non-inflammatory routes of the blackhead may produce a milia.  These are easily removed by a trained esthetician or dermatologist and can never be self extracted without mutilation of the tissue.  In some situations, the milia becomes a large cyst which must be removed surgically by a physician.

These never resolve on their own and continue to increase in size.

At it’s worst, daily and habitual picking becomes Mechanical Acne, a uniquely self-induced acne.  Having deep psychological attributes of self-loathing and self-punishment, it is compulsive, addictive and self mutilating.  Having no sense of reality, this client eventually destroys the integrity of the complexion,  creating permanent scarring in their search and destroy mission of “cleaning out their pores.”

The bottom line for all blemishes is to leave them alone and see your dermatologist or esthetician.

The correct topical products or medications must become a disciplined twice daily protocol for the acne client.  Professional and regular deep pore cleansing after oral medication has been started and the the client has been diligent with product usage for a few weeks will rapidly contain and control acne.

(First published 07/09/11)