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Chances are, sometime in your life you’ve experienced at least one pimple on your face or body. Acne is especially common in young adults affecting about 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24, but as you may know from experience, can occur at any age. The skin condition currently affects about 50 million Americans yearly. Besides the embarrassment of an inflamed red mark on your cheek or back, acne can be painful and frustrating. Once that pesky pimple shows up, the question that’s always top of mind is – to pop or not to pop?
No matter what type of pimple you have – whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, etc. – don’t pop it! Yes, even if it "ready." Picking or attempting to pop a zit can lead to pimple scabs, scarring, dark spots, and in some cases, even infection.
Pimples are formed when sebum (excess oil) mixes with dead skin cells and clog your pores. Once your pores are plugged, swelling occurs. When you attempt to pop a pimple, (attempt being the key word), you’re irritating the area, and will often make the inflammation worse.
Pimple scabs normally occur shortly after a pimple is popped. Squeezing a pimple not only sometimes produces pus, but it can also a little bit of blood. When blood is present, scabbing is welcomed by the injury, but can often bring upon another unwelcomed spot on your face. Platelets break apart, and then come together to form a clot made of vitamin K, fibrinogen and calcium, all of which collects at the site of the injury creating an acne scab when hardened. They also protect the site of injury from bacteria to prevent infection and allow your body to regenerate skin cells and heal.
Are you reading this a bit too late and are already left with a pimple scab or two? Then read on to find out how to get rid of pimple scabs as quickly as possible.
To help prevent infection and scarring down the road, never pick a scab. We know, that’s easier said than done, but the consequences of picking aren’t worth scratching, or messing with the area. (Yes, even if it’s itchy.) Give your body time to do its thing and heal naturally without interference for best results.
It’s extremely important to keep the area clean and free of bacteria. This way you won’t run into a risk of infection and more inflammation. Use a gentle face wash morning and night and always keep your hands away from the scab. After washing, pat dry instead of rubbing the area to avoid the scab accidentally being torn off.
Keeping your scab moisturized and using over-the-counter topical treatments will help to accelerate the healing process of pimple scabs. Use a light, noncomedogenic moisturizer to keep it moist. Also, try using an acne spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide. The ingredient will help to rid dead skin cells and gently exfoliate without irritating the scab.
The number one way to prevent pimple scabs is to treat your acne with the proper skincare and don’t touch it! If you do end up creating a scab, don’t touch it so your skin can naturally heal without leaving a scar. Keep it clean and apply a topical treatment to help exfoliate the area. Proactiv® has three systems (ProactivMD®, Proactiv+®, and Proactiv Solution®) that are proven to treat breakouts.