Pimples are a nightmare for teenagers everywhere. A nightmare most people wake up from once they’ve made it through puberty.
However, a significant number of people continue to experience random bouts of adult acne. It can be triggered by a sweaty workout, poor diet choices or just a bad pick from the genetic pool.
These unsightly blemishes can be hidden with concealers, foundation, spot treatment and an endless amount of other drugstore products. But what do you do if you wake up to a pimple outbreak without having any of these products in your medicine cabinet? Or perhaps you’ve eschewed chemical solutions and prefer to keep things natural.
There are several natural ways to hide pimples without using makeup. We’ll explore that but first, let’s briefly explain what causes pimples.
Causes of Pimples
As teenagers, it’s easy to blame hormones for our acne problems. It’s true that overactive hormones can result in excess oil production, which, in turn, causes clogged pores that turn into pimples.
However, adults can develop acne, too. Unfortunately, adult acne is more likely to leave scars because the body’s process of shedding dead skin cells to make room for new skin starts to slow down.
Acne can develop on the face and back, though they can also develop on the chest and shoulders. Pimples develop in areas with the most sebaceous glands, the glands that produce our body’s natural oil. The pores on the face are actually tiny hair follicles. The hair follicles can become clogged, infected or bulge. The type of pimple (whitehead, blackhead, cyst) that develops depends on how the hair follicle reacts to the blockages and resulting inflammation.
There are several factors that cause adult acne:
While acne caused by hormonal imbalance usually only occurs during puberty, some hormonal changes in adults can cause the pimple to develop. During puberty, the sebaceous glands produce too much oil and that causes clogged pores and acne.
For women, their menstrual cycle or pregnancy can trigger changes in hormones that result in acne. Oral contraceptives can also disrupt hormone production and cause pimples on the face and body. The excess activity of the androgen hormone can happen in both men and women. This over-activity can often cause pimples to develop.
Picking at pimples can leave scars and other blemishes on the skin. Developing acne as an adult also has a higher risk of residual scarring because the skin of adults doesn’t shed dead skin cells as quickly as teenagers do.
The pores on the face, which are actually hair follicles, have tiny glands inside called sebaceous glands. These glands naturally produce healthy oil that the body requires to keep the skin moisturized. The body generally regulates this oil production on its own. However, some people are genetically predisposed to having overactive sebaceous glands. This results in oily skin or hair. (The face and scalp have the most sebaceous gland.)
Whether from genetics or environmental factors, the excess oil can clog the pores and cause the pores to become infected or inflamed. It’s not just oil, though; dead skin cells and inadequate facial cleansing can also create a pore blockage.
The infected or inflamed pores develop different types of pimples to relieve the clogged pore. Exfoliating and washing your face twice a day are two ways to help prevent clogged pores.
Our skin is home to a harmless bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes. When the skin’s pores are clogged, that slow-growing, harmless bacteria that feed off the oil can reproduce more rapidly and cause an infection or inflammation of the skin. This infection is one of the culprits responsible for acne outbreaks. Washing your face twice a day – once when you wake up and once before bed – help keep the pores clear of oil and the bacteria at bay.
Stress is terrible for the body. It can show itself in many ways, such as dark circles under the eyes or rashes. Stress can also cause acne or make pre-existing acne even worse. Keep stress levels down to prevent acne and a multitude of other stress-related problems.
Before you reach for that makeup to cover up acne, keep in mind that makeup can make infections worse, especially if the pimple is still open. The pores need to be clear of makeup, dirt, and debris to heal. Makeup can be used after the blemish has closed, but until then, concealer, foundation and other products that cover up the pimple should be avoided.
It has been long believed that greasy foods and chocolate can contribute to acne. While the studies aren’t conclusive, the evidence suggests that your diet can cause pimples, both as teens and as adults. Experts now believe that foods high in carbs and dairy can contribute to the development of pimples.
Some medications come with an entire list of side effects that sometimes include acne. Medicines for depression, such as lithium, can cause acne, as well as testosterone-laden steroids.
How to Hide Pimples (Without Makeup)
When a pimple is infected or inflamed, it is a bright red that’s glaring obviously, especially on fair skin. Ice cubes can constrict the blood vessels to make the pimple less visible. This is a short-term solution that can work on a stray pimple but won’t do much good for a full-blown outbreak. The ice also helps shrink the pimple.
Wrap ice cubes in a thin washcloth or paper towel. Gently apply to the pimple for 5-10 minutes, then allow your skin to rest for 2 hours before repeating the process. An ice pack can also work, but too much cold or too much pressure can cause the pimple to burst.
Ice is a short-term remedy to reduce redness. A warm compress helps to open the pores and reduce the inflammation for the long-term. Once the pore is open, the excess oil and bacteria will exit through the head of the pimple. You can use warm, steeped tea water for extra antibacterial properties.
Soak a washcloth in warm water or tea water. Hold the compress to your face where the pimple is for 10-15 minutes. After the warm compress, gently bath your face in a face wash solution to remove the oil and bacteria. Repeat the process a few times throughout the day.
Hide Under Scarves or Hair
If the pimple is on your face, you can use accessories such as sunglasses or a hat to hide the pimple until it clear up. If you have long hair, you can use that, too. Hiding the pimple under clothing or your hair won’t remove the pimple’s redness, but it does make you less self-conscious about the zit.
Natural Pimple Remedies
Clay face masks are great for drying out pimples and other skin blemishes. The clay can come from a health food store or in a pre-mixed clay mask available at drugstores. If you choose to make it yourself, combine 3 tablespoons of the powdered clay with water to form a paste. Apply the mask to your face. Let the mask dry and rinse with warm water.
Turmeric and Honey
Turmeric and honey both have antibacterial properties that will help reduce acne inflammation. Mix the honey and turmeric and apply directly to the simple. Leave the turmeric and honey on the pimple overnight and wash your face in the morning. After washing your face, apply the moisturizer of your choice.
Tomato or Cucumber Slices
A tomato or cucumber taken directly from the fridge can be sliced and applied to the pimple. Tomatoes contain oxalic acid that helps prevent acne scars. The cucumber has astringent properties that can reduce swelling and banish excess oil.
Yogurt and Honey Mask
Yogurt and honey can be mixed together to create a soothing face mask that will help ease the irritated skin. After you’ve created a mixture of plain yogurt and raw honey, apply it to the pimples. After 10 minutes, wash your face with warm water. Continue your face care routine as usual.
Aspirin can be crushed up and added to water to create a paste that will ease the angry, redness that surrounds the pimple. Apply the aspirin and water mixture directly to the pimple with a cotton ball and let it dry. After the paste has dried, wash it off with warm water and moisturize your face.
Once you’ve cleared up the pimple outbreak, you can add or remove things from your daily life to prevent further outbreaks. Wearing too much makeup can cause pimple-causing clogged pores, so keep that in mind before you cake on enough makeup for a clown.
Wash Face Twice Daily
Your face is vulnerable to environmental pollutants almost 24-hours a day, even when you are sleeping. Washing your face in the morning and night can help prevent bacteria and oil from clogging your pores. There are face washes designed for skin that is prone to acne if that is a constant problem for you. If acne is a rarity, you can use any type of face wash. Loofahs and washcloths can actually do more harm than good by sloughing off the oil your face needs to stay moisturized. A face brush or your hands are the only tools you need for washing your face.
Exfoliating is an essential part of skin care, especially for preventing pimples. Exfoliating removes the dead skin cells that often clog the pores in the first place. As important as it is to exfoliate, it’s also only necessary once or twice a week. If you exfoliate too often, your skin will become dry and flaky. Always apply moisturizer after exfoliating.
Drink More Water
The glands on the skin excrete oil to keep your skin hydrated, but it’s not always enough to prevent dry skin. You can help by drinking at least eight cups of water per day. Lack of water dehydrates your body and harms a lot more than just your skin. Moisturizers are another step you can take to keep your skin hydrated.
Vitamins A and C are essential for healthy skin. Both contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and irritated skin. Vitamin C is also helpful for the body’s production of collagen, the protein that keeps the skin firm and smooth. You can get the recommended vitamin intake through supplements or fruits and vegetables.
Watch Your Diet
While studies haven’t conclusively proven that greasy food is responsible for acne, we do know how bad greasy food is for the body in general. Fruits and vegetables contain the necessary vitamins and nutrients that our skin needs. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, along with your water intake, will make your skin luminous and healthy.