beauty

Spot treatments, and 3 other mistakes you're making when trying to get rid of pimples.

If you're a person with a face, chances are you've had to deal with pimples at some point in your life. Some of us lucky squids get to deal with them even more so than others.

And when it comes to treating and preventing breakouts, there are honestly *endless* options out there - from fancy spot treatments to acne-fighting serums and 'skin-clearing' lotions.

Yet somehow, keeping those annoying breakouts off your face isn't easy. In fact, it's really very hard.

Watch: Here are seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.


Video via Mammaia

Why?

Well, apparently, there are a few things you could be doing wrong when you're trying to treat your pimples. 

Yes, really!

Like, we all obviously know the not-good way to deal with pimples involves squeezing and scarring and all that other fun stuff - but we're talking about a few other sneaky things. 

Things that we didn't know about, and reckon you would like to know about, too.

We've even enlisted the help of an expert to tell us all the mistakes we're making when it comes to treating pimples.

1. You're spot treating your pimples.

Whenever a big ol' shiner pops up, the goal is to get rid of it ASAP. Correct?

So, you'll usually reach for one of the 638 spot treatments you have slinking around in your bathroom cupboard. You slap this straight on your cute little pulsating twin and wait for it to dry out and... disappear.

But alas... the f**king thing ends up hanging around for a whole week. And - oh - is that another spot right beside it?? GOOD.

Listen: The spray that might just banish your body pimples. Post continues below.

Now, according to experts, the issue here is that you're treating what's already on the surface when you should actually be concentrating on preventing breakouts as a whole.

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Dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald from Complete Skin Specialists puts it like this:

"Pimples form over a period of weeks to months before they become visible on the skin. The process starts with congestion which is an accumulation of dead skin cells in the pores."

"Treating the individual pimples can only decrease the inflammation and hopefully clear it a little faster, whereas treating the whole face will be more preventative."

Dr McDonald said if you can use skincare ingredients that help the dead skin cells shed off easily, reduce oil production and keep infection or inflammation at bay, then you can actually prevent pimples from occurring. 

"This is generally much more effective than treating individual spots once they have already appeared."

Interesting!

So, yeah. Picking the right skincare regime is actually a better way to prevent congestion and new pimples than treating them once they form. 

"Once a pimple is visible, then there is deep infection and inflammation which is only minimally impacted by skincare," adds McDonald.

Just take a squiz at this clip from NYC dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner, who said if you constantly spot treat pimples instead of treating your whole face, you're always playing "catch up". 

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2. You're using ingredients that are too harsh.

Woah! Slow down on the benzyl peroxide front, friend. This isn't 2005. Tingly, tight skin is just not a good time.

"There is a common misconception that you need to dry out the skin if you have acne or pimples. Unfortunately, this often makes the skin sensitive and inflamed and more likely to break out with new pimples," said Dr McDonald.

Yikes.

"Although ingredients that help the dead skin cells clear away are very important to treat acne, if the products are too strong then they will be counterproductive."

Remember, a higher percentage does not always equate to a more effective product.

3. You're washing your face too much.

Just like using products that are far too harsh for your skin type, there is such a thing as overwashing your face.

While you might think washing your face religiously will make it impossible for your pesky pores to get clogged, over-cleansing your face can actually lead to something called trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). 

This is when your skin struggles to hold on to any moisture because it's been stripped of its natural oils and barrier protection.

You monster!

This will cause your skin to go into overdrive and produce even more acne-causing oil to make up for the dryness.

While there are some variations about how often we need to cleanse, most dermatologists will agree that cleansing your face once or twice a day is enough to clean, but not dry out the skin.

4. You're skimping on moisturiser.

Do you use a moisturiser? No? You should, y'know. Yes, even if you have acne-prone skin!

"Again, in acne-prone skin, it is very important to keep the skin hydrated and prevent it from drying out," explains Dr McDonald. 

"The body is very clever and will produce more oil to try to protect the skin if it is dry or irritated," said McDonald. "In people who are prone to acne, this will result in more congestion and increased pimples rather less."

If you have an oily skin type, instead of reaching for a thicker, creamier lotion, opt for something more lightweight.

"Those with acne-prone skin should protect their skin with lightweight moisturisers and humectants and ensure their skin doesn’t get dry."

What's your go-to treatment for breakouts? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty; Mamamia

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