When is it OK to Pick Acne?

When is it OK to Pick Acne?

man with plants taped to his face

Acne and blemishes are extremely common. It is really important to identify what kind of acne you are experiencing and what stage or severity it is in. Sometimes pimples come and go in 24 hours and sometimes pimples sit deep underneath the skin for weeks without ever coming to the surface. 

Picking pimples and popping zits is probably just as common as experiencing acne itself. It is SO hard to resist the hopeful satisfaction of a popped pimple. But 90% of the time when you pop/pick a zit what happens? It takes 3x longer to heal and sometimes more pimples pop-up right next to it. 

Bacteria breeds exponentially. Popping pimples not only irritates the skin, but exposes the bacteria to surrounding pores. 

Picking pimples is an emotional and psychological experience. The dopamine hit from a popped pimple deserves more research. The truth is we all know popping pimples is a high-risk, low-return gamble but we do it anyways. 

Here are some helpful tips to think about if you are trying to minimize breakouts and stop picking your acne. 

What kind of acne are you experiencing?

Is your acne deep and cystic? Does it ever come to the surface? This is the kind of picking that can cause the most damage. Picking deep cystic pimples can spread infection and expose the deep tissue to even more bacteria. It can take longer to heal and often results in acne scars over time. Cystic acne is a painful condition and can be extremely hard on a person's confidence. Often this condition is treated internally and we recommend finding a holistic practitioner to support you in this journey for clearer skin. 

Are you popping whiteheads and blackheads? This is a pretty normal and additive behaviour however it isn’t as effective as developing a regular skincare routine that incorporates mechanical and chemical exfoliation practices. Using a product such as the Konjac Sponge helps to exfoliate and remove dead skin, while ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids found in the Apple Toner help clean out the pores. Read more about exfoliation here. 

Regular popping and picking can weaken the skin tissue and result in smaller acne scars known as icepick scars. These can show up more prevalent later in life when the skin isn’t able to produce as much collagen. Try using an astringent toner such as the Hazel Rose Toner to help tighten up the skin tissue and close pores. 

Is your acne a cluster of bumps and hives? There might not even be visible white heads to pop but you can clearly see the inflammation. This kind of breakout could happen for a number of reasons but it is important to inspect the skin for subtle changes. Often this is your skin pushing something out, and the best thing you can do is gently exfoliate and help the process. The Konjac Sponge and Apple Toner are an excellent combo. We do not recommend excessive rubbing or scrubbing. This can irritate the skin further and spread the infection. 

These are all things that could cause acne or breakouts:

  • Hormonal changes/imbalances
  • Seasonal changes
  • Weakened immune (cold and flu season)
  • Stress 
  • Diet 
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of skin care routine / Excessive skin care routine
  • Allergies 
  • Picking 
  • Sweat 
  • Clogged pores 
  • And more!

Most breakouts should come and go. If a breakout never seems to go away (and it isn’t cystic) it could be connected to picking and lack of proper skin care (or excessive skin care). 

  1. If you must pick → Wash your face and your hands first
  2. Use warm water to open the pores and prepare the skin for the wound you are creating.  
  3. Pull the skin away from the pimple to pop it instead of squeezing it like a mountain.
  4. Wash your face and spray it with the Apple Toner and/or Hazel Rose Toner after and DON’T touch it! Again! 

Better than picking, concentrate on supportive skincare routines. Here are our suggestions for natural acne treatment:  

  1. Wash your Face regularly. 1-2x per day. Make sure to wash your face after exercising (sweating) and to remove makeup. 
  2. Use a gentle exfoliation product 1-3x per week. The Konjac Sponge is what we recommend. You can use this sponge with the Face Wash. 
  3. Spray your face with the Toners after washing to balance PH and tighten pores. For acne-prone skin we recommend the Apple Toner, but have seen results with both. 
  4. Depending on the climate, season, and stage of the breakout apply a small amount of the Luminous Serum to the skin 1-2x per day. This will help strengthen the skin and reduce future breakouts. But be conscious not to use too much. 

It is important to consider both your cosmetics and your personal hygiene products as possible irritants for your acne. Your skincare routine should be designed to allow your skin as much time to breathe and strengthen its top tissue as possible. 

If you’re looking for more information on acne classification, check out our blog post on acne classification here.  

Below is our video further explaining acne and picking:

Do you want to talk about your skincare routine? Book a consult with us!
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1 comment

great video Miiko I agree education is the best way to stop picking. I think lots of image as we are visual like you did in the video are excellent way to help people to not pick. I think once we understand what it really does it certainly helps pick a bit less.


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