You wake up, and you reach for your face. You feel a new one… It’s throbbing. You know that that new toner you tried yesterday must be the reason for your new pimple.
Today I want to bust open the myth that a pimple forms overnight.
A pimple/cyst actually take weeks to form, up to 8 weeks in fact! That means that yesterday’s pizza, or yesterday’s product isn’t the culprit of that new pimple you’re seeing.
How A Pimple Forms
It all starts with a clogged pore called a microcomedone. Sebum flows out of your pore, but it can encounter some dead skin cells or debris along the way. This can cause the sebum to harden a little, making it the perfect breeding ground for P. acnes bacteria to swoop in and feast on the clog!
Microcomedones actually come and go without you even noticing, especially if your immune system is working properly. A healthy immune system can deal with a clog without turning it into a pimple or cyst — that is without too much inflammation or redness around the actual clog.
The problem occurs when you’re experiencing chronic inflammation — when your immune system is working overtime.
This makes your immune system trigger-happy. Which means that every time you get a clog, your immune system freaks out and fights the clog with all its might. It sends in its mercenaries, in the form of white blood cells and cytokines to KILL the intruder — which causes the area to get inflamed, swollen, and red.
Research shows that you don’t even need to have any P. acnes bacteria to see red, swollen lesions on your face if your body is chronically inflamed. This shows just how important lowering inflammation is for your skin health.
When you see a red, swollen pimple or cyst, this is pretty much the climax of the fight between a little clog and your immune system.
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Now, whatever you do: DON’T POP THE PIMPLE!
I know the temptation, I started this blog because of my notorious pimple popping habit — that I’m happy to say I’ve broken.
Popping the pimple will spread the bacteria OR cause more inflammation.
It’s pretty much too late to do anything at this point — that’s why clear skin is really all about prevention.
You need to prevent the pimples from forming in the first place.
How To Prevent Pimples From Forming
There are some really important things you should do if you want to have clear skin.
1. Keep Your Skin Clean
This is the most obvious step in preventing pimples. You need to make sure that there’s no extra pore-clogging debris on your face —k you pick stuff up on your face all day, from dust to pollution.
Wash your face with water in the morning, and with a gentle skin PH balanced cleanser at night for best results.
2. Keep Your Pores Open
To prevent pimples from forming, it’s super important to remove the accumulation of dead skin cells on the outermost layer of your skin. I credit exfoliation for being the biggest game-changer for my skin.
For best results, use a gentle scrub or konjac sponge 1-2 times a week, especially if your skin feels rough to the touch. But do not manually exfoliate more than that.
I also recommend a salicylic acid toner to actually unclog your pores and keep them really nice and open. This will allow your sebum to flow freely without any obstructions or clogging.
3. Protect Your Skin
To keep your skin strong and resilient to intruders or the elements, make sure to moisturize properly. I also encourage you to stay out of the sun, or wear sun protection religiously.
4. Eat A Whole Food Diet And Take Your Supplements
Probably, the easiest and most effective way to lower inflammation is through time-restricted feeding. All you have to do is eat within a 12-hour window, and let your body be food-free for another 12 hours. Say goodbye to late-night snacking!
It all starts with food. Read about what you should eat for clear skin here.
5. Keep Your Stress Levels Down
Stress is a huge factor in raised inflammation levels. Stress definitely impacts the skin. Do whatever you have to do to lower stress, whether it’s meditation, yoga, walks in nature, grounding, relaxing music, rituals of pleasure, or a gratitude journal.
6. Get Enough Sleep
I can’t stress enough the importance of sleep. In fact, sleep is responsible for the activity of 700 genes!
You need at least 8-10 hours of sleep for optimal health. When you don’t get enough sleep, you develop a sleep deficit that you can’t really out sleep.
A sleep deficit increases cortisol levels (stress), and *SURPRISE* increases inflammation too! Can I remind you that inflammation is the root cause of red, swollen pimples?
We all resist it, but exercise is super important. The myth is that sweating detoxes the body, when in fact you detox on the toilet every day.
The real benefit of exercise for your skin is that it increases circulation, bringing nutrients and oxygen to your skin — improving the quality of your skin, especially if your diet is on point!
Blood also washes away waste, cleaning your skin from within.
8. Love & Accept Yourself & Feel Good All The Time
Finally, the most important step to preventing more pimples is loving yourself unconditionally and feeling good. You are not your skin, you are not your body, you aren’t even your thoughts. You are SO much more — and you are enough.
A practice that’s changed my life and my relationship to myself is mirror work, where every time I see myself in the mirror, I say or think the words, “I love you. I really love you.”
Try it, and see how your relationship to yourself can absolutely transform, along with the look of your skin.
Cultivate a feeling of gratitude for every moment and every pore. Feeling good with help you heal in a big way — with the added benefit of lowering inflammation! 🙂
Don’t expect a magical cure for acne — even products will take about 4-8 weeks before you see stupendous results. It’s really about doing everything you can to lower inflammation and take care of yourself…
You can do it, I believe in you.
You are loved,
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