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Pick Your Battles

Doug Arnaudin


Acne is one of the most frustratingly common skin conditions seen in women ages 18-50. That's right, age 50. What was once thought to plague only pubescent teens, is now a major concern among adults. Many of my clients come to me in total and utter despair. They have "tried everything" to no avail. If you are someone who is concerned with acne, I feel your pain. Having suffered with mild acne throughout my 20's -- I know how debilitating it can feel at times. However, one of the biggest faux pas people make is attempting to manually extract impactions at home. Often times this leads to the introduction of more bacteria on the skin, discoloration due to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and sometimes, scarring. The term "acne excoriee" is used and in severe cases, it's called Dermatillomania, an obsessive compulsive disorder. Sometimes after an especially stressful day, it can feel so rewarding to "clean" your skin by manual extractions, when in fact, you're doing wayyy more harm than good.

Here are some top tips for implementing a "No Pick Policy" at home:

1. Change your bulbs. Often bathroom lighting is a harsh fluorescent. Even Demi Moore circa 1996 would look terrible under those lights. "Treat yo' self" to a warm, incandescent or frosted bulb. Dimmable? Even better! (Home Depot has a wide array of lightbulb options.)

2. Don't get closer than arms length from your bathroom mirror and definitely DO NOT indulge in the use of a magnified mirror. Those things are just plain scary. 

3. Avoid any harsh manual exfoliation like aggressive granular scrubs. Acne is an inflammatory condition and all of that rub-and-scrub can inflame the skin further. Perhaps instead, choose a gentle exfoliating toner with a mild AHA or BHA. 

4. Ice, ice, baby! Instead of picking, reduce inflammation by applying ice to the blemish. This can reduce redness and swelling. Follow with a topical clearing treatment (I'm using HappyMe Skincare overnight sulfur treatment).

5. Love yourself and know that "this too shall pass"! You are wonderfully made and dearly loved.