The long-awaited party that you wanted to go to is just a day away. You are all ready and excited to meet your friends/family after a very long break. You wake up the next day, ready to meet everyone, only to find a new pimple on your face! Not only does it pain a bit, but you notice as the day passes, it starts to grow and even worse, turns red.
You ask your mother how to deal with it and she says, let it be. Let it take its own time!
That’s not the answer you were looking for! You’re so disappointed with this pimple that you’re now contemplating if you should even go to the party! Isn’t this frustrating? Isn’t it unfair?
Well, while we can’t promise if this article will help you get rid of pimples. But it surely can tell you exactly why and how you do get them in the first place! Let’s explore the science behind acne!
Why do you get acne?
Acne/pimples ( acne is a condition where you persistently get pimples) occur due to the hair follicle in your skin (face included) that contains sebaceous glands also known as oil glands. These glands make an oil called sebum, that comes on the surface and lubricates your hair and skin. So it’s actually sebum that keeps your hair shiny! Generally, the sebaceous glands make the right amount of sebum. As you hit puberty, the body begins to grow, which involves a change in the production of hormones in your body. Sometimes, this change can lead to an imbalance in the production of hormones. This can lead to sebaceous glands producing more sebum than required.
You must have heard the fact that we humans shed about 3 – 4 kg of dead skin cells off the surface of our skin every year. But it’s so small that it’s invisible to the naked human eye. When our bodies are producing more sebum than necessary, it leads to oiliness which sometimes doesn’t let these dead skin cells shed. These unshed dead skin cells block the pore, resulting in the accumulation of the extra amount of sebum, forming a bump around it. And that’s how you get a pimple!
But why does a pimple grow bigger in size?
The blocked pore filled with excess sebum for a long time, results in the growth of bacteria. Sebum provides food to bacteria and they begin to multiply and build their colonies in it, resulting in an increase in the size of a pimple.
Why should you not simply burst a pimple?
The bacterial growth in the pimple causes an infection in our skin. Our body quickly reacts to this by asking the immune system to send help. The immune system then sends an army of blood and immune cells to that area to fight the infection. The blood turns the infected area red whereas the immune cells attack and kills the bacteria. This results in the pimple swelling even more sometimes. While it’s hard to resist the urge to get rid of those undesirable bumps on your face, popping your pimples can push the bacteria deep into your skin, worsening the condition and leading to more redness and irritation. Hence you’re better off leaving the pimples to complete their cycle naturally.
Is there no way to balance your hormones – after all?
While there is no hard and fast rule to regulate the hormonal imbalance due to puberty, some research suggests that keeping a balanced diet may help.
A team of doctors specializing in nutrition sciences worked with a sample population of 1,200 children in Papua New Guinea and the Aché hunter-gatherers of Paraguay. They reported no acne at all in this population. Researchers think that this may be due to their diet which is entirely free from refined sugar and processed foods. While more research is needed to understand what food to avoid in our day to day life, it can be safely assumed that excess of the following can lead to hormonal imbalance causing pimples.
1. Fast food items like pizzas, french fries, chicken nuggets, etc
2. Processed food like cakes, biscuits, and microwave-ready food, and
3. Junk food like chips, carbonated beverages, candies, etc
While there is no fool-proof way to save yourself from acne, the good news is that for most people acne goes away almost entirely by the time they are out of their teens. Some adults do face acne as a challenge even later, but it may be a result of some other hormonal problem they may be facing. As a teenager, all you can do about pimples is – know that almost everyone you know had it too in their teenage. So gather all your confidence and attend any event coming your way even if you have a pimple on your face because pimples will come and go but the good times stay with you!
Did you find this article helpful? Did it clear any myths that you had about acne? Share those myths with us in the comment section below!
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Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share anything that you think is worth sharing.
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