I am a basically dissatisfied person, who cannot, ever, never ever, leave well enough alone. Which is why, after days and days and days and days and days of staring at the same gee-dee uninflamed whiteheads (ant eggs, in other words), I just had to try (again) to use some tough love on them.
I had told myself that I would wait it out - even if it took years. I would wait until finally they went away, on their own, with no help from me. Maybe this would involve moving away from humid pollution land, or simply ageing to the point of my skin turning to paper (a time when I would actually think whistfully of my acneic years). But no. It didn't work like that. I couldn't do it. I had to try try try to affect immediate change.
Thing number 1 not to try: mixing your own glycerine and aloe moisturizer. Oh dear. Well, it really should work. And I'm sure this has worked for others. But for me, it resulted in tremendously shiny, and even slightly more pimply skin. I'm not sure why -- there is absolutely nothing comedogenic about that mix. But I didn't test the PH of this little concoction, so perhaps that's what went wrong there. Anyway - the stickiness was moderately unbearable even if the pimples hadn't erupted, which they did.
Thing number 2 not to try: putting glycolic acid all over your face, and then putting bandaids on your spots. Why why why would I do this? Well, you see, I have a, ahem, friend, who had a very small problem with warts. Not big disgusting warts that need to get burned off by a dermitologist. No no - the small ones that kind of look like, well, actually, uninflamed acne. They're usually treated using the same stuff as actual acne is treated - salicylic acid, etc. But my *ahem* friend, didn't want to bother doing lots of work intensive things to try to heal these things - they go away eventually on their own, so she stuck a bandaid on them. Lo and behold, three days later: gone. This is not actually news - medical science has known for a while that if you put duct tape over (any) warts that they'll go away as fast as if you were using official wart medication. They don't know *why* this happens, but they know it does. So no papers in Science for me on this one . I mean for her. No papers for her. Moving on...
Anyway, when she and I (two totally different people) were talking about her warty success, I thought "Huh - if warts are often treated just like acne, then maybe I could use this wart approach with my uninflamed acne -- maybe starving it of air would be the answer!!"
So with optimistic fantasies of waking up with perfectly clear skin, I slathered my face in my bi-weekly treatment of glycolic acid (which seems to do nothing, but what the hey), and then stuck bandaids on my face in strategic locations. I decided for scientific reasons to only stick them on certain places, not my entire face. I reasoned that I would like to see the before/after effect. Having perfectly clear skin in one day? Where would be the fun in that?!
Fast forward to the morning: Bandaid-Shaped Chemical Burns, with pimples inside them. I guess my skin did NOT like having glycolic acid pressed right up against it, with no breathing room, all night long. Perhaps I had increased the strength of the glycolic acid to the point where I was doing a home administered chemical peel? Who knows. Anyway - three days later, red marks were still there. Now, five days later, it looks like I just itched my face really badly in a perfect square. I'm feeling quite sexy.
Thing number 3 not to try: Vitamin C serum as a whole-face moisturizer. I have no idea what did it, because there was nothing (again) comedogenically unhappy about this stuff, but, alas, it made my underskin pimples more prominent. Not in a healing way - more in kind of a "we're getting much much worse" kind of way. This saddens me, because I think it was helping with my scarring. But I'm not sure it's worth it if it's just going to make my face look like a bag of cottage cheese.
Thing number 4 not to try: putting bandaids on *again* to really convince yourself it wasn't just the glycolic acid that rendered the previous experiment a horrible failure. After putting on the vitamin C I had a couple of obviously-soon-to-be-puss-filled pimples. Not pimples excitingly evolved from my uninflamed ones - no - new pimples, in a spot on my chin which has been pimple free for some time. What to do? None of my remedies are available to me any more. Lavender oil seems to have no effect; my oregano oil is mixed with olive oil, which I know gives me pimples; my nixoderm has skin-irritating menthol in it; and my aloe-glycerine mix has an adverse effect as well.
But wait -- I thought -- what if I try that bandaid thing again. I never really gave that a fair shake! So I put the bandaid over the not yet "heady" pimples, and went to bed.
In the morning, I had no red marks (so that WAS the fault of the glycolic acid), but I did have a pimple, with a whitehead, pressed up against the bandaid (I used clear bandaids so I could play out my sick voyeuristic pimple-observing fantasies). I started to get freaked out. I thought "oh no -- maybe that's not supposed to be pressed quite so close in there! Maybe it's supposed to dry out so that it can kind of "deal with itself". What if I'm making a bad situation much much much MUCH worse???!!!
So I carefully pulled off the bandaid, and with it, came a whole pearl of puss. This was *immensely* satisfying. I had effectively popped a pimple without squeezing it. Cool!! Also, it seems like I got "all" the puss. Success!! But then I noticed the enormous gaping wound in my face. I had basically lifted the top off the volcano, and could see its firey funnel, waiting to be filled with bacteria (again, the volcano metaphor only goes so far). So I doused it with ACV and water (my only friend at this point) to clean it out. I opted *not* to put on a new dressing, but instead just to deal with whatever the face-picking gods dealt me.
Now it looks like a healing but slightly unhappy pimple, with a bit of a cratery, scabby look. I'm sure that had I left it totally alone it would be gone right now. But such is life.
So - those are four things not to try, not that you were going to.
Until next time,