I realize this isn’t one of the “sexy” topics I’ve been striving to include on this site, you know, topics like: celebrity skin care; the best lipstick for this season, etc., rather this post is more of a think piece regarding how to approach acne, handle it and ultimately eradicate it.
You think that you should avoid moisture because you have acne or it might break you out because you have oily skin?
Moisture and oil are two completely different things, and both, when used properly can help eradicate acne. Drying out acne is the WORST thing you can do; companies pushing benzoyl peroxide and other drying agents have duped us all.
When you’re dealing with acne, or a pimple that has cropped up, the first thing you want to do is make it go away. We have been “trained” through commercials, ads and friends, to kill the zit, destroy the zit, zap the zit, dry out the zit, but this is the incorrect approach when dealing with the zit.
What we should really be doing is protecting this little patch of terror, especially when taking a shower. The hot water and steam from the shower can cause the zit(s) to become inflamed and swell even more that is why using a moisturizer, or better yet, an occlusive such as Neosporin or Aquaphor, is beneficial, even essential in protecting the pimple(s) against inflammation and helping it to heal, aka pop or die, much faster. (Occlusive products are sealants and do not clog pores).
I used to think that I needed to avoid moisture or at best, minimize its use, when I was dealing with acne. One day, I went for a facial and there was a huge cystic pimple on my chin. I was hoping the esthetician would be able to extract it somehow, but it was not budging. She told me to apply Neosporin to the zit several times a day. I was confused by her suggestion and she could tell. She explained that drying it with a benzoyl peroxide-type agent would only take longer for it to go away and could cause irritation. Through her guidance I learned that when a pimple is kept moist, it is easier for it to be extracted and that it goes away much faster.
I have now since moved on to applying Aquaphor to zits. It holds better and provides more protection. And, magically, when I keep a pimple moist with it, the sucker will be gone in about 3 days or less. Oftentimes, if I feel something trying to form, I’ll apply Aquaphor and by the morning, nothing is there. Other times, I have had an already formed zit actually disappear within a few hours after “soaking” in Aquaphor. Somehow the application of Aquaphor creates a vaporized seal that infuses moisture (moisture of which is applied to the skin, or moisture that already exists internally) in the skin and kills or wards off the bacteria that is trying to manifest itself in the form of a pimple.
You can either apply the Aquaphor directly on the pimple or area trying to form a pimple, or first, lightly dab moisturizer over the area and then seal it in with Aquaphor. Think of Aquaphor as a Band-Aid.
Many people with acne are afraid of moisture and oil. I understand this fear. However, I believe that if one has acne, her skin is dehydrated and needs a boost of moisture. It then needs to be sealed in with an occlusive, such as Aquaphor. Occlusive products help reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL), by holding in the moisture and protecting the skin’s top barrier layer, which in turn helps to combat dryness, or more specifically, dehydration. Occlusive products do not clog pores. They are noncomedogenic and they are oftentimes necessary to protect and balance the skin, especially dry or dehydrated skin. And to be clear, dehydrated skin is skin that lacks moisture and dry skin is skin that lacks oil.
Aquaphor is essentially petroleum jelly and the definition for petroleum jelly: “An occlusive agent that restores the barrier layer by holding in water.” So for me, Aquaphor is usually the first thing I reach for in preventing or reducing a pimple. And, contrary to popular opinion, Aquaphor does not clog pores or make one breakout. Another wonderful benefit of Aquaphor, it helps to prevent and erase hyperpigmentation.