What’s Going On Down There?
‘Plugging’ In To What Happens Next – Pimples
When too much ‘material’ (sebum, keratin, bacteria) builds up the pore or hair follicle can rupture internally discharging the oil and bacteria into the surrounding tissue area it becomes a visible red bump or a papule pimple (papular acne). What is actually happening is the vessels near the skin are dilating to increase the flow of blood into the area. The reddening of the skin due to this inflammation is technically called Erythema. THIS IS A GOOD THING – it is your body working to supply blood and oxygen to the infected area to fight it off. When you stop this process, you stop the healing.
Sometimes this inflammation can form deep under the skin. When it goes beyond a surface whitehead or the papule grows bigger than 10 mm and becomes a larger painful lump it’s called a cyst or a nodule or ‘cystic’ or ‘nodular’ acne. This type of acne occurs when material from the comedo escapes under the skin. Teens who develop this kind of nodular acne are usually referred to a doctor. When adults develop these kinds of large painful cysts it is referred to as acne tarda. If you have this kind of condition it is best to keep under a doctor’s care while trying to heal your other ‘picking issues’.
Picking or squeezing can cause this internal rupturing or make existing problems worse. It can cause fluid (blood, bacteria, oil, etc.) to leak into surrounding tissues and cause additional inflammation or ’extravasation’. You know you’ve been told this a thousand times, “Picking makes it worse,” but it’s difficult to see that without realizing just how delicate and complex an organ the skin is.
‘Plugging’ In To What Happens Next – Don’t Mess with Mother Nature
Now that you have a better understanding of the layers, hopefully you will begin to see that when your two forefingers come along to squeeze a blackhead or pimple, no matter how gently you do this… It is like a giant coming along and stomping all over tiny fragile ‘micro-communities’. Fortunately, these little cell communities are very active and working night and day for your best interests in healing even if your fingers are not.
Cysts or nodules can appear on their own, too, but generally they are the result of picking either right before they happen, OR months OR years before they happen. Yes that’s right. Have you ever noticed you get pimples in the same exact spot over and over again. Once a pore has been prematurely emptied (squeezed before nature had a chance to combat the problem and shrink the pimple naturally) often it will not return to its original form or size. Because of its abnormal shape or size, it is likely to become clogged again. The larger the pimple popped, the more likely it will not heal properly. If the infection becomes severe enough it can turn into an abscess or boil which could require serious medical attention.