This is Part 2 of Skin Care Facts You Should Know from the Dermatologist. To see Part 1, click here. Separating fact from fiction in skin care isn't easy because advertisers embellish pseudoscientific stories to support the huge skin care industry.
My opinion, as a dermatologist who has cared for thousands of patients with skin problems, is that skin care is important self-care and I want you to understand the facts. - Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey
Fact: Popping pimples is not always bad
We all know that popping a pimple can be bad. Especially popping zits that aren't ready.
Why is it bad to pop a pimple that isn't ready?
- The trauma of this to your skin can lead to scarring, red marks, infection or hyperpigmentation.
- There is also a 'danger triangle' on the face that you need to know about before you launch into a pimple popping session.
Some of us go through many years of post-graduate training to refine the 'art' of pimple popping because it can be that important to the end result.
Yes, there is a pimple popping science because pimple popping is actually a form of 'surgery'. - Dermatologist Dr. Bailey
Short of the 7 years of post-graduate study and testing needed for Dermatology Board Certification (yes, 7 years after college - this is serious stuff!), there are a few things you should know to improve your chances of keeping Hippocrates happy by 'doing no harm' when you pop a zit.
If you are tempted to pop a pimple, click here for my seminal post on this popular subject, How to Pop a Pimple (aka Zit).
In spite of those cautionary notes, there are times when popping a pimple can be a good thing. This mostly applies to 'pimples' that are actually inflamed and swollen blackheads. These types of 'pimples' get better faster when the plug is released because the blackhead is the cause of the swelling and inflammation.
Best tips to keep prevent blackheads and clogged pores that become pimples.
Pimples often form behind clogged debris and plugs in pores. Keratolytic ingredients loosen these plugs to keep pores clearer.
The 4 best keratolytic ingredients to fight acne include:
- retinoids (such as prescription tretinoin and nonprescription adapalene and retinol all of which also help soften acne scars and reduce hyperpigmentation)
- salicylic acid (the best ingredient for penetrating oily pores)
- benzoyl peroxide (the best ingredient to kill the acne causing bacteria C. acnes)
- glycolic acid (an aha that also brightens skin and helps fight hyperpigmentation).
Incorporate keratolytics into your skin care routine. I recommend washing with a salicylic and glycolic acid cleanser, applying benzoyl peroxide to acne prone areas preventatively and applying a retinol at night.
Start with my Ultimate Acne Solutions Kit which contains the right cleanser, benzoyl peroxide and facial moisturizer to prevent dryness.
Add my Retinol Night Cream in place of the benzoyl peroxide at night.
Keeping your pores clean helps your products work better. Many skin care ingredients need to penetrate deeply into the pores to be absorbed and they struggle when pores are plugged with dead skin, oil and debris.
Fact: Wash your face twice to remove stubborn makeup, sebum or oil-based products
You've heard the saying that 'like dissolves like'. It's a truth of chemistry. Oil can be difficult to remove from skin with a skin cleanser and water. Dirt, makeup, bacteria and sebum all glob together on the skin surface and can be stubborn. These can clog pores and reduce the pentation of other skin care products that you layer on top such as acne treating, rosacea controlling or age fighting products.
In my 30+ years of dermatology, I've seen makeup and product oil droplets stuck deep in the pores under the microscope. It is often surrounded by plugs of dead cell debris, particles of makeup and microbes. - Dr. Bailey
If you struggle to get your skin to feel clean after washing then do a double cleans with oil.
What is two step oil skin cleansing?
Here you use the 'like dissolves like' and follow it with your normal skin cleanser.
Step 1: Apply cosmetic or food-grade grapeseed oil to your dry facial skin and gently remove it using a warm wash cloth.
Step 2: Wet your skin with tepid water and apply your pH balanced facial cleanser, such as my Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser. Massage onto skin and rinse well then pat dry with a soft towel.
Should you use a skin toner?
I love using a non-drying skin toner made with a gentle form of witch hazel. Witch hazel ever so slightly constricts the opening of pores to give skin a more refined appearance. I use my Naturally Hydrating Facial Toner which is made with organic witch hazel, Bulgarian rose hydrosol, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. My skin feels clean, hydrated and ready for my next skin care products. Apply your toner to your freshly towel dried skin.
Get my Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser and Naturally Hydrating Facial Toner in my Skin Cleanse Zen Kit. This is a great facial cleansing combination whether you oil cleanse or not. If you want to try the oil step, grapeseed oil is available at your natural food store.