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Skin life blog


why it’s better to leave well enough alone!


Philippe DeshayesPhilippe DeshayesDermatologist

Odile MohenLifestyle coach

As soon as a spot starts to appear on your face, you’re invariably struck with a sudden urge to touch it to try to make it go away. You know the feeling – you just can’t help yourself! But this bad habit can increase the risk of secondary infection, leading to marks or scars later on. So how can you resist the urge to pop that pimple? A quick pep talk from our experts.

Where do spots come from?

Spots seem to erupt without any warning from one day to the next. So what exactly is the science behind it all? Dermatologist Philippe Deshayes explains: “The role of the sebaceous glands in the skin is to secrete sebum, but sometimes the sebum can’t escape. It accumulates on your skin’s surface, clogging up your pores, and a spot soon begins to form.”
But what turns an innocent pimple into a nasty, painful red lump is when it gets contaminated by bacteria. Why? Because some bacteria in our environment and in our skin’s flora feed on sebum. They thrive and spread in this favourable environment and cause the skin to become inflamed.

Hands off!

Our hands are irresistibly drawn to that pesky pimple up to 65 times a day. According to microbiologists, everyday objects such as our phones, car steering wheels, trolleys and computer keyboards are simply crawling with thousands of bacteria. Believe it or not, every square centimetre of your mobile phone is teeming with some 25,000 germs!
Even if you wash them regularly, your hands and nails are full of bacteria. So Philippe Deshayes doesn’t beat about the bush: “Resist the urge to touch your spots or you may risk secondary infection, creating long-lasting lesions that will be hard to remove.”

Don’t let spots rain on your parade!

“When a spot appears, we feel helpless,” explains lifestyle coach Odile Mohen. “We instinctively want to put it right ourselves, regardless of the consequences.” The temptation to pop an annoying spot can be so strong! So how can you resist? Here are Odile’s five top tips:

  • Stop looking in the mirror! Cosmetic mirrors can make things seem much worse than they really are, and if you’re all by yourself at home sometimes you can’t help but give in to temptation…
  • Remind yourself that it’s really not the end of the world! Before a date or an important meeting, sit yourself down calmly and tell yourself “Yes, I’ve got a spot, but it’s not going to be there forever – it WILL go away!”
  • List your best qualities (or ask a friend to) – a little spot is nothing alongside your winning smile or that sparkle in your eyes…
  • Do something constructive with your hands. Taking positive action to care for your skin can be reassuring. Clean it, protect it and cover up that spot with suitable corrective make-up.
  • Keep things in perspective! Look around you – you’ll soon see that everyone has their little skin flaws, but you can count yourself lucky that you now have all the tools to deal with the problem!

So now it’s up to you – you’re armed with all the information you need. Stay strong and resist the urge to pop that pimple!

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