Well things are definitely improving.
I owe this to three factors: reduced consumption of cheese (not sure about this one, but it's having a nice effect on my waistline, so I'm going with it), no longer using comedogenic S**T on my face, and, (and this is a biggie), NOT PICKING MY FACE.
My picking had reached truly obsessive and self-harming proportions. I would basically see a pimple (either inflamed already, or an un-inflamed whitehead, or, worst yet, a blackhead), and would imagine that it was some kind of foreign invader, and that I had to get it out. I almost felt like ants had come along in the night, and laid an egg in my face, and I had to extract it, or else I'd be just like one of those poor women in those horror movies where spiders or some other kind of bug just erupted out of their face, leading, inevitably, to death. So I would work VERY HARD to squeeze every one that looked like it had any promise at all of popping.
The problem was that sometimes it worked. Sometimes I'd squeeze a blackhead or whitehead, and it would kind of "extract" quite cleanly. Okay - there would be a welt for a couple of hours, but after that, it would seem to go completely away.
But that only happened (and I can't stress this enough) SOMETIMES. Most of the time (especially in the case of whiteheads, but even often in the case of blackheads), the welt turned into a combo of scab, welt, and horrifyingly inflamed pimple.
Of course the inflammation would also need to be squeezed (the ants! THE ANTS! They're GROWING!) and often that would NOT work. Squeezing inflamed pimples never seemed to work. But somehow, I couldn't leave them alone, even though I knew the story would end with an even *more* inflamed, larger pimple.
The worst part of all this, is that squeezing anything resulted in hyperpigmentation. But, I reasoned, I'd rather have brown marks than pimples. The brown marks fade eventually (within 18 months?!), but the pimples Might Never Go Away!!!!!
Okay - so that was my terrible story about how I loved loved loved to squeeze my pimples.
But then, one day (recently), I basically couldn't leave my office because I'd been doing some blind squeezing, and when I used the photobooth app to check out the damage, I realized my face was covered in scabs and welts. It was horrible.
So I did some googling, and found a website that really helped me realize the damage I was doing. it was www.stoppickingonme.com. VERY informative. I mean, we all know that picking "might lead to scarring", but often it doesn't, and it doesn't seem to in my case. But here's what really clinched it for me:
1. IT'LL BE BACK.
when you pop a pimple (of any kind), it leaves a HOLE. That hole wasn't able to heal properly (because the pimple was a symptom of healing, not actually the problem itself), so it STAYS OPEN. And that hole Fills Up Again!!! That's why that pesky blackhead keeps coming back in the same exact spot, and why my whiteheads come right back in a few weeks or months after I've successfully extracted them.
2. PREMATURE AGEING.
This is the one that really got me. When you pinch a pimple, regardless of how you do it (even if you use a blackhead extractor, or are super gentle), you are causing pressure lines in your skin, that harm the structure of the skin. This is kind of like the stretch marks you get from growth spurts, or from pregnancy, except there the pressure is internal, and here it's external. By squeezing one bit of your skin, you're stretching out the adjacent bits of your skin, and breaking its structure down. This weakens the skin, and leads to WRINKLES!!!!! That's just unacceptable.
So I'm now desperately trying NOT TO PICK.
It's a week in now, and things are going okay. It's very VERY hard to resist popping blackheads, but I'm just going to leave them, even though I know they'll sit there for years. It's very VERY VERRRRY hard to resist squeezing whiteheads, because they kind of poke out and look terrible (and look like ant eggs, as I've discussed above).
But now that I'm doing my new cleansing regimen, things seem to be improving.
The current regimen is:
- wipe down with cotton wool soaked in water
- apple cider vinegar to rebalance the PH of my skin
- moisturize with a serum from "Custom Made by Health Quest", that has hyaluronic acid (HA), rose water, and pheuodyethanol gel fluid (I have no idea what that is, but I can't find anything too terrible about it, and it's not on the comedogenic lists).
- aloe vera every once in a while.
Then, every 4 days or so, I do a before bed coating of glycolic acid cream.
The wonderful thing about this, is that because I'm not rubbing and squeezing my face any more, the skin color on my face is more ... well ... skin colored, and less rashy and angry looking. Like, I can actually leave the house now, and not have to worry about arranging my hair to cover evidence of self mutilation!