Nobody likes having pimples on their faces, yet almost everyone has battled them at one time or the other. And one reliable battle weapon against pimples is an anti-pimple cream. However, deciding on which one to buy can be very complicated to say the least; but we got you covered.
This guide will explain in clear terms how a good anti-pimple cream functions in ridding you of pimples. And the ingredients that should you expect to see in an anti-pimple cream. In the end, you should be able to choose a good anti-pimple cream with this important information. In addition we would give you a breakdown of certain causes of pimples. This would help you avoid or reduce breakouts in future.
Table of Contents
What is a Pimple?
A pimple is a type of acne that is formed when the oil produced from the oil (sebaceous) glands get blocked, infected and inflamed. When this happens, the skin gets swollen and reddened and is pus-filled.
Pimples are mostly found in body parts that have a lot of sebaceous glands. Examples of such body parts include the face, shoulder, chest and back. Other names that are used to refer to pimples include zits or spots.
Types of Pimples
Types of pimples you might wonder; but they all look the same. Don’t they? Well they don’t and that’s what you’re about to learn next.
Pustule is a small inflamed and elevated skin or blister that is pus-filled. Pustules can be well seen on the skin’s surface and has a reddish base with pus on it. This is the most common type of pimple.
Just like pustules, cysts are also found on the skin’s surface and pus-filled. The major difference is that cysts can cause pains and will eventually leave scars on the skin.
Papule is a small inflamed and elevated skin that does not contain fluid and usually pinkish in color. An example is chicken pox.
They look like papules structurally but are bigger in size and can be extremely painful. Nodules unlike papules are deeply planted into the skin which accounts for the severity of the pains they cause.
Comedones are Not Pimples
Comedones look like pimples but are not pimples. A comedone is formed when surplus oil blocks up the pores of skin.
There are two types of comedones: blackhead and whitehead comedone. The location of the comedone in relation to the skin determines what kind it is. If a comedone is found on top of the skin, it is a blackhead or open comedone. If it is located under the skin and not visible, then it is a whitehead or closed comedone.
The major difference between a comedone and a pimple is that pimples are always inflamed. Because of this seemingly minute difference we do not categorize comedones as a type of pimple.
When does Pimple Commonly Occur?
Pimples are mostly common during puberty but that doesn’t make them exclusive to that age period. About 80% of teenagers are affected by pimples which make it quite common during puberty due to hormonal changes. This constant production of hormones in the body causes the oil glands or sebaceous glands to become overly energetic. (The sebaceous glands are found at the bottom of hair follicles). As a result extra oil is produced which finds its way through the skin’s pores to the top.
Just like during puberty, hormonal changes occur when a woman is menstruating. During this period, almost everything in a woman’s body is functioning at a heightened level. This affects even the sebaceous glands as well.
What Causes Pimples?
There are a lot of factors that are responsible for pimple breakout which we’ll discuss below:
This is the major cause of acne and that includes pimples. Bacteria especially the Propioni bacterium thrives and greatly reproduces on skins that have blocked pores. Its feeding on the surplus sebum causes it to produce a substance which triggers a response from the immune system. The result is a skin that is swollen and inflamed.
Another cause of pimples is also due to another infection caused by yeast. A type of yeast called pityrosporum is well renowned for its ability to cause pimples. How does it manage this?
As discovered, when pityrosporum finds its way into the hair follicles, it begins a process of multiplication. As it continues this process, its overwhelming presence causes the breakout of pimples that are small, round and very itchy in nature. These pimples can be seen to occur in areas such as the shoulders and the upper parts of the chest and back. Other names for the pityrosporum yeast are folliculutiss or malassezia.
Regarding yeast infection that leads to formation of pimples, you should avoid the following:
- Humid environments
- Synthtic fiber clothing
- Oily skincare products
- Antibiotics: It is preferred you use antifungal means of treatment instead.
The above would only cause the yeast to have a more conducive environment that would encourage the multiplication process. This would cause the case to become worse than it originally was.
Fluctuations in hormone levels in the body cause more sebum production. When this mixes with dead cells on the skin could lead to blocked pores. This on the long run can cause pimple breakout.
As much as we try to ignore it, the kind of food we put into our bodies have effects on our bodies: This effect is made visible on top of the skin in the form of many skin issues including pimples. So it is advisable that you become selective with the kind of food you eat.
Four Fundamental Functions of a Good Anti-Pimple Cream
A good anti-pimple cream employs the following four fundamental methods in getting rid of pimples:
Kills the Causal-Bacteria
In most cases of pimple breakout (especially non-severe cases), bacteria is majorly behind such breakout. A good example of such bacteria is the Proprioni Bacteria. And the best way to solve a problem is to cut it off at its root and that’s what an anti-pimple cream does: It attacks the pimples at the very root source by killing such bacteria.
Exfoliates the Skin of Dead Cells
Another major reason behind pimple’s appearance is when dead cells on the skin clog up skin pores and get mixed together with sebum. (Sebum is the skin’s natural oil that helps moisturize the skin). This causes the sebum to be unable to find its way to the skin’s upper layer.
Over time this situation coupled with other factors will give birth to the appearance of pimples. Therefore most anti-pimple cream serve and function as exfoliators to get rid of these dead skin cells.
Eliminates Surplus Oil
Surplus oil is not a pleasant experience for one suffering from pimple breakout. The surplus oil allows these pesky pimples to thrive freely. To combat this matter, an anti-pimple cream eliminates surplus oil from the skin’s surface as well as within the skin.
A pimple is always inflamed and easily recognizable by the swelling, heat, redness and pain associated with it. A good anti-pimple cream would reduce inflammation as well as battling the cause of the inflammation.
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Ingredients Employed in Anti-Pimple Cream
The ingredients used in anti-pimple creams would guarantee the effectiveness of the product itself. These ingredients however are divided into two non-prescription and prescription ingredients.
These are ingredients that you can get in your stores and found in regular anti-pimple creams. They do not require to be prescribed for use by a skin-care professional. These ingredients most times are used for pimple cases that aren’t severe or serious in nature. Let’s find out more…
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that are also known for their exfoliating properties. They perform this function to such great degrees that they even exfoliate inside of hair follicles. Apart from salicylic acid’s exfoliating properties, it also possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well.
This ability is because of its chemical relation to aspirin and this makes it more tolerable than glycolic acid. Another function of salicylic acid that is not usually announced over P.A systems is its ability to stop bacteria production. Salicylic acid therefore performs three-quarter of the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream. A 2% concentration of salicylic acid in your anti-pimple cream is adequate to effectively combat pimples.
Most skin care professionals applaud benzoyl peroxide for its ability to actually treat pimples and not just prevent it. It performs three-quarter of the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream. It kills pimple-causing bacteria, eliminates surplus oil and also exfoliates the skin. Benzoyl Peroxide most times is found in a concentration of about 2.5% to 10% in anti-pimple creams.
Benzoyl peroxide however has been known to cause skin dryness, irritation and even peeling. It has even been reported to cause allergic reactions. Therefore before using this wonderful ingredient ensure your skin is not tilting towards the overly sensitive line. And make sure you are not allergic to it in any way.
Sulfur stamps its authority as one of the must look-out anti-pimple ingredient by performing the following functions: It exfoliates the skin of dead cells and also lessens and eliminates the production of surplus oil. In addition, it serves as an anti-inflammatory agent. So it performs three-quarter of the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream.
Nevertheless, sulfur has a downside which might make it not so endearing to the hearts of many. It has a smell of rotten-egg which is pretty offensive to the nose. Yet, many brands have been able to counter this smell by pairing sulfur with certain ingredients that douse and eliminate this odor.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea-tree oil is one of the natural ingredients you will come across in an anti-pimple cream. Its ability to fight pimple causing-bacteria and also skin-inflammation, this ingredient will do your skin wonders. It has been tested and proven that a 5% concentration of tea oil works effectively as a 5% benzoyl peroxide.
Tea-tree oil performs two-quarter of the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream.
A negative aspect of this ingredient is its harshness to skin in most cases; especially sensitive skins. Caution is recommended when using tea-tree oil.
Alpha- Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
AHAs are excellent exfoliators that get rid of dead cells on the skin that usually block up skin pores. In essence, Alpha-Hydroxy Acids performs one-quarter of the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream. The after effect of their work is a skin that is just not soft but also smooth. Examples of AHAs include lactic acid and glycolic acid.
These are ingredients that are not commonly found in stores or regular anti-pimple creams. Rather they require that a skin-care professional prescribes them before they can be used. This is necessary due to their composition and the kind of effect they can cause. Therefore they are only used for pimple cases that are severe or serious in nature. Keep reading to know more…
Azelaic acid kills bacteria that cause pimples and also functions as an exfoliator. It battles the Proprioni Bacteria to such great extents that one can easily refer to azelaic acid as an antibiotic. Azelaic acid performs two-quarter of the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream.
These are antibiotics that are applied on the skin. Antibiotics in drugs are used to combat bacteria and this is the same function they perform in an anti-pimple cream. This means they perform one-quarter of the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream. Topical antibiotics are most times used in association with other ingredients like tea-tree oil and sulfur to get better results. Examples of topical antibiotics include erythromycin and clindamycin.
There are retinoids that are employed orally and are also used in fighting pimples. However we will focus on those applied topically on the skin and found in anti-pimple creams.
Retinoids are gotten from Vitamin A. Topical retinod performs the function of an exfoliator by getting rid of dead cells on the skin that tend to clog up pores. As a bonus they smooth wrinkles and fine lines. When it comes to performing the four fundamental functions of an anti-pimple cream, they fulfill just one- quarter.
These ingredients nonetheless can be irritating and could cause redness and dryness of the skin depending on the skin’s sensitivity. Other reasons these negative effects could occur is if you use too much or use a high concentration.
Therefore, consider your skin before using this and don’t use it too much or employ a high concentration. Always use a sunscreen if you’re using this to help against skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
General Guidelines to Stick to When Using an Anti-Pimple Cream
Don’t Forget to Moisturize
The ingredients in an anti-pimple cream can be sometimes harsh and would likely cause some degree of dryness. To counter this effect, it is necessary you moisturize sufficiently. Your moisturizing product however must be noncomedogenic (does not bring about the appearance acne) in nature.
Use Light Makeup
Using heavy makeup during the period of pimple breakout is not advisable. Excessive makeup might also clog up the pores of the skin which would worsen the situation. During this period, try to reduce if you can’t stop completely the use of foundation, blush or powder.
Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face
During pimple breakout, avoid touching your face regularly with your hands. You could help to spread the bacteria as well as increase the level of irritation. Do not pop your pimples using your fingers as they could cause scarring or infection.
Avoid the sun as much as possible
The sun’s radiation could cause your skin to get more inflamed which would only encourage the growth of pimples. Use a sunscreen to prevent skin damage as a result of exposure to the sun.
Relax and Reduce Stress
Stress has been linked to the appearance of pimples. So do your best to find occasions to let out the stress in your body system. It would do you a whole lot of good.