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See Spot Run

I hereby give over the day’s musings to grown-up pimples. I do this (a) in an effort to topple the seriousness of recent posts (b) as the idle by-product of “work” as a grooming writer for print and (c) as homage to the corker contiguous to my bottom lip.

Zits are quite foul enough but never so foul as when the colonise the mouth.

I hate pimples. I hate them more than those children at Number 15 who wake me every Sunday and ruin Christmas with carolling that sounds like someone has tried to stuff the Son of God right back up into Mary.

Nearly everyone is afflicted by acne vulgaris in adolescence. I can’t wait for those little turds at Number 15 to get it, men’s health in the hope they might stop singing.

Often, information pills the zits of teendom persist. Even up past menopause. Far fewer gents get zits. Given that they earn more, own more and get to walk around on hot days without shirts on, this seems unfair.

So, what to do about this female problem? For females, there’s a female medication at hand. Certain birth control tablets can cool Mount Vesuvius. The preparation ethinyl estradiol, aka Yasmin in Australia, is not on the PBS. But far be it from me to deny clear skin at the expense of your cycle.

Antibiotics are another option. I recommend them if you wish to strip your gut of healthful bacteria, corrode your immune system and fuck up the gene pool.

A pouffe mate SWEARS by GP medication Retin-A, aka topical retinoid tretinoin. In my twenties when my face resembled nothing so much as a pre-menstrual Moon of Saturn, I tried it. I didn’t have zits but I did go bright red for weeks. Oral retinoids, such as Roaccutane, scare the shit out of me.

Many of us do not require medical intervention for our custard puzzles. You can take control of your acker.

First, wash your face, you dirty bitch. Not with something frothy. Use a mild cleanser that doesn’t screw with pH or dry out skin so it starts leaking oil like BP into the Gulf. Clarins does good, gentle shit. Kiehl’s and Thalgo, too. Or, Cetaphil from the pharmacy.

Use a toner. Plain old witch-hazel works if you can find it in a retro-chemist. Otherwise, seek advice to match your skin type and cleanser.

Recent evidence suggests that diet plays a part in spot taming. Zitty persons demonstrated lower levels of vitamins A and E and a tendency to eat high glycemic foods. In short, it’s the usual bad news: eat nutrient rich plant foods; drink water; avoid caffeine.

As for potions, I find switching these up works best. It’s as though my zits develop immunity. Wife swears by the MALIN+GOETZ acne treatment.

For masks and sundry spot treatments, I’ve found Dermalogica brilliant in the past. However, be careful to consult so that you don’t end up burning your skin to shit.

When concealing, use a shade darker than foundation so as not to highlight your pimple like a phosphorescent rice bubble. Truly stubborn spots need for example, a concealer from MAC or the Guinot medicated concealer, Correcteur Traitant.

Christ. I’m exhausted thinking about it. I need to eat high-glycemic food to soothe my nerves or go kick those children at No 15.


14 Responses to “See Spot Run”

  1. SK says:

    As an amateur linguist (as opposed to a cunning one) I am interested to know whether your pronunciation of pouffe is: “p-oof”, “poo-f”, or, as my dear late Aunt affected, “poo-vay” – though she may also have just been being delicate in my presence…

  2. YB says:

    Part One – Shower water torture works for me. You have a hot shower, which opens your pores. Use your normal cleansing routine (I use phisohex if my skin is misbehaving, or soap under normal circumstances). Here is the uncomfortable part – reasonably quickly, start turning down the hot water until you are in a complete cold water shower. This closes the pores while they are empty and clean of grit and grease.

    Part Two – Exfoliation – the green side of a green and yellow kitchen scrubber.

    Part three- Sweat three times a week for at least half an hour. Sweat washes over the pores and give a salt cleaning of the pores.

    You’ll notice none of these are expensive, and don’t make anyone any money. Thus they rarely get advertised…

  3. Helen Razer says:

    YB. I commend your folk wisdom. But. Kitchen scrubber? By NO MEANS SHOULD ANYONE WISHING TO RETAIN THEIR EPIDERMIS follow your advice :)
    Exfoliation should happen at most once a week. Even then, the practice must be controlled and gentle. Not only could such a rogering scar your skin and explode capillaries; it will almost certainly cause your face to over-compensate with BP style leakage.
    Of the exfoliants I have used, I prefer Stem Organics. Cruelty and nano-particle free, this company was founded by a lass with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
    For home-style, some use bicarbonate of soda.

  4. jane says:

    My mum reckons that if you are still getting zits when you are in your 40s it means that your skin is still producing sebum (which keeps it youthful longer). I remember her still getting the odd blind one up until her late 50’s. Trick is not to touch the bloody thing, oh and max factor’s panstick is the ultimate concealer (add moisturiser and it’s the ultimate foundation), cheers

  5. Daniel says:

    I agree with Jane. Both my parents had the curse so it was inevitable that I (and both of my brothers) would have it too. I’ll be thirty soon and have not passed one day in the last half of my life so far without at least one little red beastie on my face. But not so long ago my mum had a school reunion and I was shocked at how youthful both of my parents look compared to their now leathery schoolmates.

    • Helen Razer says:

      Quite right, Daniel. I’m 40 now and as the zits dwindle, I worry that so too does my skin’s elasticity. I become terribly anxious if I don’t have enough sebum in a given week to produce a spot.
      However. As we are talking skin care: I was alerted today to some commercial beaute research which may be of interest . An aesthetic experiment was performed where the complexion of an older person, excluding wrinkles, was photo- shopped on to the face of a younger person. Test panel respondents assessed the subject’s age at ten to fifteen greater than her actual age. Doubtless, this was performed in the interest of flogging a particular product that evened skin tone and reduced scarring. If, like me, you take an unhealthy interest in skin health, you may have heard that age-defying products push “glow”, “evenness” and illumination”. All of these things can be compromised by acne itself and over-use of products designed to thwart it.
      Anyhoo: here’s to zit solidarity.

  6. YB says:

    I must be one lucky SOB. I’ve been doing this green scourer routine since my late teens, and I’m hitting forty soon.

  7. Helen Razer says:

    STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Helen Razer says:

    Seriously. I’ll send you some exfoliator. You must be stopped.

  9. eb says:

    You know, this is weird but I never had pimples in my teens. However, once I turned 21 they hit me like a bee-covered stick. In the end they were cured by the almost unconscious application of breast milk. When feeding youngest dude I would just wipe the residue on my lower face and neck and believe it or not, they went away and never came back. May be hard to find, but it’s a keeper.

  10. Helen Razer says:

    Yes. It does work. Pound an aspirin in a mortar-and-pestle then add a little water to make a paste. Apply it to milder inflammations which will become even milder inflammations. There are those who perform an aspirin f facial. Check youtube for a video how-to.

  11. Britt says:

    I too have had to put up with zits since my teens and am now 42 years old and my pimples show no signs of going anywhere. The joys! I’m sure over the years I’ve tried everything, even several courses of antibiotics, which only worked for a short period. However, about four years ago I finally found products that worked for me. I fear I’m going to sound like an infomercial, but “Proactive Solution” really made a huge change to my skin. I promise, I don’t work for them and have no association with them in any way, but I do recommend their products to anyone I know with acne problems. I was never going to try them when I initially heard about them, because I didn’t want to purchase products from the tellie and be locked into some shipment plan, but in NSW they luckily have stalls in some of the major shopping centres. If I say anything further, I will sound like an ad… Just thought I’d share what worked for me. BTW, I totally agree with Helen, DON’T EVER USE A SCRUBBING BRUSH ON YOUR FACE!

    • Helen Razer says:

      I have heard one or two non-sponsored recommendations for this product, Britt. Is it glycolic acid based? I hadn’t yet mentioned: for those with relatively mild acker, an AHA product can work quite well to keep the bastards at bay. I like Skin Doctor’s Gamma Hydroxy. And, yes, I did receive it gratis once but continue to purchase it in the more humid months as an anti-aging/anti-acker treatment. I find it rogers my skin LIKE A SCRUBBING BRUSH in the wintry, airless months.
      Oh. And a word on steam. Be as judicious with steaming as you might with exfoliation. That shit can bust capillaries.

  12. Britt says:

    No, they contain benzoyl peroxide, which I think is in quite a few mainstream products. However, unlike many of the bonzoyl peroxide products that are aimed at teenagers, these don’t seem to be quite a harsh. Having said that, I reduce my usage in winter to once a day so I don’t dry out my skin too much. One warning though, they do bleach the crap out of towels. I had gorgeous dark purple towels, which now have pink streaks and blotches all over them…

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