“I popped a pimple. Then a staph infection ate my face.”

Last year I went on a holiday.

Not just any holiday. A six weeks in Europe, stuff my entire life into a rucksack, spend all my savings in one go kind of holiday. A gap year for someone who never took an actual gap year.

I was, as you could imagine, pretty excited. It was early July and Australia was cold and wet. I was headed to Europe for the first time. And there, it was summer.

Now, when I’m travelling, my skin either rejoices and glows in a manner not dissimilar to a pregnant lady …or it decides to lose its shit.

Looking FRESH on the first day of my holiday. Image: Supplied.

I don’t know whether its karmic punishment for never taking my makeup off at night (who can be bothered, really) or the Skin Gods trying to make sure a flawless complexion won’t leave me incredibly vain and shallow (mission accomplished), but this time around my skin was forced into crisis mode.


What happened? I had a pimple. It was small and just below my nose and I just couldn’t help myself, so I popped it.

Hey, at least I didn’t take six minutes to pop it like this girl… Post continues below. 

Video via Kris Honey


I know, I know. My mother taught me better. But instead of scabbing and eventually healing as popped pimples tend to do, I ended up with a staph infection. On. My. Face.

My skin, which is normally Very Well Behaved, had turned on me, leaving me looking like a burn victim. The official party line, in fact, was that a flaming Sambucca shot had lit my face on fire, which turned out to be both an impressive story and brilliant ice breaker.

Amy pimple part 1

Initially, I also toyed with the idea of convincing people that swine flu was making a come back, forcing everyone to sport face masks. I figured under white paper, my face could recover in peace.

Sadly, I was instead forced to embrace my fate and find solace in yiros (kebabs) and tequila. Then I demanded that no one take photos of the right side of my face. Just call me Ariana Grande.

Amy pimple part 2
It looks like it’s improving…. Image: Supplied.

Of course, I documented the whole progression through selfies. I would periodically send them to my parents with instructions to SEND HELP IMMEDIATELY. Their advice? To wait it out. And they’re both in health.

When I sent a photo from The Bad Days to my brother, he was quick to let me know that this was, in fact, the worst I’d ever looked. Which was just lovely. It was the kind of brutal honesty not afforded to me by my friends who chose to lie and tell me it “really wasn’t that bad” and “no, you can’t really notice it.” Bless their cotton socks. Those were the kind of things I needed to hear when I felt like Shrek.

Amy pimple part 3
“Gotcha!” – my skin. Image: Supplied.

About ten days went by and it looked like the infection was just going to keep spreading …and scabbing …and turning my face red raw.

But then, it seemed to get better. So I did nothing. The emphasis here is on seemed to, because my friends, it did not get better.

When I was in the Greek Islands I thought the infection had reached its peak. It was scabbing! Falling off even! The spreading had stopped! Finally things were looking up. The Greek men had even stopped questioning my face in broken English on the street. Life was good. Not great, no, but better.

And then, it got much, much worse. I woke up one morning and my precious, almost healed skin was covered in tiny little mounds that looked like pimples.

Amy pimple part 4
I thought it was over at this point. And then it got much, much worse. Image: Supplied.

I was just about ready to call it a day on Europe and go home. Or find the nearest hospital and demand immediate medical attention.

Instead I did what any mature adult would do in my situation. I had a big cry. Then, via Skype, my friend’s wonderful mother diagnosed me and recommended I get onto a round of antibiotics. It took almost a week, but finally, my face began to heal.

Here’s the thing: I can look back at this experience and laugh now. It’s funny now that it’s over but at the time I was utterly devastated and my self confidence was shattered. Hindsight is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

The lesson to be taken from all this, kids? Go see a doctor. Embrace the Instagram filters like there’s no tomorrow and strategically place things in front of your face when faced with a photo opportunity. Oh, and also, don’t pop your pimples. It just isn’t worth it.

Have you ever had a pimple get infected? What’s your worst skincare disaster?