Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Emergency Action Plan for dealing with breakouts before they start

It's the absolute worst feeling in the world. You wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see a pimple looming on the horizon.  This scenario has always posed a huge dilemma for me because traditional products containing salycilic acid or benzoyl peroxide did nothing to combat my acne.   Now that I'm focusing on treating acne scars, I can't afford to let new pimples affect my progress by creating even more scarring.
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Because of this interesting scenario, I've had to develop a different set of actions when faced with an impending pimple.  It's my emergency action plan, to avoid the worst possible outcome.  So far, this technique has been very effective for me and hopefully it can help someone else.

The first thing I do, when I see a hint of an upcoming pimple is assess it's potential risk.  It's a similar process to classify the category of a hurricane or tornado when it first formed to assess it's risk factor.  I measure the "pain factor" of the mini-bump.  This is simply where I squint my face and pay attention to see if I feel any pain beneath the bump.  If I actually "feel the pimple, it usually means that there's activity below it which can grow very big if not handled right away.

That was my mistake in the past, I would experience these potentially dangerous breakouts and not do anything about it until it was fully grown.  Then I'd try to physically reduce it and would be left with a traumatizing scar.  I've learned my lesson.  Treating it at the first signs is critical.  During the initial phase, the one thing I do is AVOID TOUCHING IT with my hands.  I've learned the hard way that messing with it, especially in the beginning stages can aggravate and cause even more swelling.  This is the exact opposite of what I used to do and it has paid off in a major way.

My next course of action is to work on an internal strategy.  One of the factors that causes acne is inflammation.  Inflammation is the result of an acidic environment in the body.   So the very first thing I do to help make my body more alkaline is warm some water, squeeze in a lemon and enjoy a cup of therapeutic lemon water.  Lemon water is ultra cleansing and has the ability to bring our bodies back in balance.  I interpret a breakout as a sign of imbalance so I do whatever to get things back in order. 

After I finish my glass of lemon water, I immediately fill up my water bottle and get back on my track with my water intake.  My goal is to facilitate internal cleansing as quickly as possible.  I'm trying to send a message to my body that I'm serious about detoxing so there's no need for detox through my skin.

Once I get my internal detoxing routine situated, I start focusing on my external cleansing.  My partner in crime, the Clarisonic Pro, works tirelessly to remove surface dirt. One thing I appreciate about my Clarisonic is that it's never aggravated my breakouts or made them worse. Since I can't use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid,  my secret weapon are my purifying masks.  My favorites are Glam Glow clearing mud, Fresh Clay Mud Bar, Origins charcoal mask or any of my homemade concoctions.  These masks deep cleanse my skin drawing out impurities.  I can also rest assured that the longevity of my breakouts is much shorter thanks to the help of my fast acting masks.


If I didn't get to the enemy fast enough and it's increased in size, I start to work on decreasing the swelling.  I do this by applying an ice cube (wrapped in a zip lock bag) directly on the blemish.  Just like applying ice to a swollen ankle, it helps shrink down the swelling.  Finally, I will utilize my hot/cold facial treatment on very active breakouts to help shorted it's lifespan.  Luckily I haven't had to deal with fully grown pimples in a while thanks to the mastering of steps 1, 2 and 3.   So now, I'm able to focus completely on minimizing my scarring without having to deal with pimples that leave behind more spots. 


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