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Blemishes and How to Get Rid of Them

What are blemishes?

A blemish is an unwanted type of mark, discoloration, spot or flaw that appears on the skin at any given time. A blemish on the face is the last thing you want. It can be annoying and emotionally upsetting. Luckily, blemishes are mostly benign and not life-threatening.

However, some blemishes may signal cancer and you should take the necessary steps to get rid of them.

There are a few measures you can undertake to reduce the appearance of blemishes. For starters, you can begin by consulting your dermatologist and seeking treatment or trying quality skin care products that help you reduce the look of blemishes.

Types of Blemishes

Blemish is a broad term that is used to describe any type of mark on the skin. There are numerous types of blemishes to look out for.

Acne

This is one of the most common skin conditions, and can appear as any of the following;

Pimples, blackheads or Whiteheads.

Acne forms when the oil released by the skin, (sebum) dirt or bacteria clogs the hair follicles. This results in your skin getting pockmarks, dark spots or scarring. All of these can also be classified as blemishes.

One of the most likely causes of acne is hormonal changes. Stress, although not considered a root cause of acne, may also play a part in causing this condition by increasing sebum production.

Papules

Papules can be any of the varying types of skin lesions. They are mostly just about a centimeter in diameter and sometimes range in between pink and brown color. Pimples can sometimes be referred to as papules and can occur individually or as clusters that take different shapes. Below is a few examples of papules.

Chicken pot rashes

Eczema Dermatitis

Psoriasis and shingles which may trigger the formation of papules.

Age Spots

Also known as liver spots, these are small and dark spots that form on any random area of the body that is exposed to the sun. Although they are mostly common in people that are above 50 years, they can still surface on the skins of younger people. They are classified as a form of hyperpigmentation.

Nodules

A nodule is a collection of tissue that builds on the skin. Since they are sometimes larger than papules, they are able to blemish your skin in unwanted ways. They vary in color from flesh toned to red and mostly appear as skin tags or warts.

Pustules

These are fluid and mostly pus-filled bumps that cause unwelcome changes on the skin. Some common types of pustules are chickenpox blisters or whitehead. Some common causes of pustules include scabies and rosacea, a condition that is characterized by blisters or blood vessels that are visible to the eye.

Ingrown Hair

Hair removal methods like waxing, tweezing and shaving may sometimes be a cause of ingrown hair. If this sounds new, these are the hairs that usually grow back from beneath the skin but become trapped. In the process, these hairs cause a red bump that qualifies as a blemish. Usually, people with curly hair are more susceptible to ingrown hairs than straight haired people.

Ingrown hairs can sometimes turn into large and fluid-filled hair cysts. These can appear yellow, white or red therefore causing blemishes. In all cases, these cysts are both uncomfortable and painful when touched.

Melasma

These form mostly during pregnancy and are identified by their common brownish patches. They are consequently caused by hormonal changes and in other cases by sun exposure

Skin Cancer

Skin cancers can vary in type, color, and appearance. There are also several types of skin cancers; squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Some forms may appear like dark moles with irregular outlines, some like raised red bumps or yellow scabs. To be completely sure, only your doctor can confirm whether it’s just a blemish or a skin cancer battle ahead.

Birthmarks

These are naturally occurring mostly at birth or after. They vary in size, shape and sometimes color.  Port-wine stains and moles form are the most unforgettable birthmarks and for good reason, they last for life. Other birthmarks worth mentioning include salmon patches and hemangiomas which unlike the first group, can fade or disappear over time.

Cysts

These are noncancerous sacs that carry a substance such as a fluid. They are mostly round and can appear as bumps in different sizes or just survive under the skin. There are various form of cysts that can appear on your skin. They are; epidermoid cysts, ganglion, and sebaceous cysts. Your doctor or dermatologist should be able to give you the right advice on what type of cysts you could have and what to do.

Cold Sores

These are fluid-filled and noticeable blisters that form near the mouth. They are annoying as they sometimes itch or cause a tingling sensation. Cold sores are formed as a result of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). When popped and drained, they leave behind a red or yellow scab that stays on until they heal.

Scars

A scar usually forms when the dermis layer is damaged. This is the deep-lying layer of skin that houses smaller blood vessels or capillaries, hair follicles, sweat glands, and nerve endings. When the skin is forced open either by a wound or popped pimples, scars are formed.

Hyperpigmentation

Last but not least, blemishes can be caused by hyperpigmentation. This is when the body produces too much melanin and consequently causes dark patches or uneven skin tones.

Hyperpigmentation is caused by either of the following; sun exposure, acne scarring and hormonal changes that mainly occur during pregnancy.

What Causes Blemishes?

Viruses

Blemishes can be caused by a range of different factors. From viruses, genetics or the environment, blemishes can be both unpredictable and hard to prevent.

Cold sores and chicken pox, for instance, are caused by infection. Other types of skin infections often cause blemishes to appear on the skin. For instance, fungal acne, an infection within the hair follicles, may discolor the skin if not treated.

Genetics

Some type of acne may be unavoidable since they carry a genetic link. Darier disease is one of those. It causes blemishes that are similar to warts to form and can be oily and smelly or hard to touch.

Fabry disease, on the other hand, is a hereditary condition which forms through gene mutation. You can detect a Fabry disease when small groupings of dark red spots start to form on your skin.

Sun exposure

While this is avoidable, the numbers of overexposed skin due to the sun is alarming. The harmful UV rays from the sun may cause cancer, hyperpigmentation and more forms of skin damage.

Clogged Pores

When the skin produces too much oil from its sebaceous glands, it tends to clog the pores and in turn, causes blemishes. Changes in hormones like during puberty or after pregnancy can trigger the overproduction of sebum oil. By tampering with dead skin cells, bacteria or dirt, pores become overwhelmed causing pimples, blackheads, and pustules to form. Pores can also be clogged by too much makeup, sunscreen or moisturizers.

How Do You Treat Blemishes?

How you approach every blemish should be determined by what caused it. If a certain treatment is only making your situation worse, you need to stop using it and consult your dermatologist or doctor. You can get the right creams for your type of blemish or make a few lifestyle changes.

Sunscreen

This is the first and most important approach to tackling blemish. Remember to always wear sunscreen, sun-glasses, sun-protective clothing and hats to ensure you are protected against harmful UV and UVB rays. This will ensure your skin doesn’t suffer additional damage.

Healthier Hygiene Habits

Healthier habits, like cleansing your face, hair, and body regularly help eliminate dirt, oil, and bacteria that accumulates during the day. However, you should be careful that you don’t overdo it. Over-cleansing can further irritate the skin if you overdo it.

Picking the Right Diet

Keeping a food journal can help you track and pinpoint a particular food that may be giving you allergies. Since some allergies come with their own form of blemish like pimples, try getting rid of the foods at a time and see what happens. Additionally, add foods with vitamin C and E to your diet to help keep your skin healthy.

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