The Psychology Of A Zit

Did you know that pimples can cause low self-esteem, social withdrawal and depression? They cause people to think, “I hate the way I look”. They cause anguish in the lives of people everyday. They make us feel self-conscious and embarrassed.  They are the bullies that make us want to stay home from life.  That’s a pretty powerful impact that clogged pores can have on us!

When I recently experienced a breakout of nasty cystic acne on my chin (I blame the over indulgence of Halloween candy), I wanted to hide until it was gone. I felt like I had leprosy and needed to cease contact with the outside world. My husband teased that I needed to get out of adolescence. My daughter asked my husband, “who is prettier, mom or me?” When he carefully replied we are both very pretty, she responded, “But Mom has zits!”. See? Even a six year old knows the ugliness of a zit (or four)! I buried my head and avoided all mirrors for as long as I could.

No one should have to feel this way but it is the reality for most people who experience acne, from occasional breakouts to Class IV acne. We want to hide.

Obviously, life doesn’t allow for this to occur so I’ve come up with a few tips to help you beat the acne blues:

  • Start and maintain an acne control routine. Be a control freak when it comes to prevention.  With the help of a dermatologist or one of the many books on the market, you’ll learn what products work best for you.  Feeling like you are taking action to stop the madness will bring comfort.
  • Fight Back! Use benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria.
  • When treating inflammation of present acne, ask for a prescription of oral antibiotics from your doctor or get a cortisone injection to get rid of red, swollen pimples quickly.
  • For an at home remedy, apply an ice cube on the area for 30 seconds then gently press a cotton pad soaked in eye drops to the top of the zit for 3 minutes.  The ice and eye drops will cause blood vessels beneath the surface to contract, minimizing redness and irritation.
  • Use your hair as camouflage. If your forehead is broken out, sweep your bangs in the direction to cover it up.
  • Learn how to be a master makeup artist.  The key to covering a breakout is not heavy makeup but a gentle touch with mattifying gel, foundation, concealer (applied with a small brush) and yellow tinted face powder (and Photoshop on images!).  Watch Carmindy demonstrate How To Cover Up Acne and Breakouts.
  • DON’T PICK. DON’T PICK. DON’T PICK.
  • Play music that calms you. When you feel less stressed overall, you’ll be naturally less concerned about your acne.
  • Smile and know that people love you regardless of your breakout (and besides, it will clear…eventually!)
  • Wear big, dark sunglasses. Go incognito.  Maybe nobody will know who you are so they won’t know the acne belongs to you!
  • Vent with someone who understands.When I was suffering my recent breakout, I had a lengthy texting convo with my step-daughter who was also suffering at the time.  Bonding over the nastiness of it all is somehow comforting.
  • Realize that no one sees them like you do. Maybe they don’t even notice so don’t point them out or draw attention to them by saying, “I have the biggest zit!  Don’t look at me!”  Of course they will look simply because you pointed it out!
  • Eat another piece of chocolate to ease your pain…oh wait, you should probably skip that one!

Seriously, I only joke because I understand how traumatizing zits can be.  It’s unfair.  It’s ugly.  But, you need to go on living. Learn everything you can about prevention and treatment so you can enjoy less frequent breakouts.  Knowledge is power!  You can overcome the “bullying”!

If you are a parent to a teen suffering from acne, it’s important to open up the lines of communication and be a support system to them.  Help them get the products they need to treat acne, teach them healthy living habits and watch for signs of social withdrawal or depression then get them the help they need!  Good Luck!

 
 

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