The troublesome bumps that develop on the skin and become red and pus filled are called by many names. One such name for these annoying developments on the skin is zits. To get rid of zits, it is important to understand what causes them in the first place. Once the cause is known, appropriate treatment can be initiated to treat this cause and clear zits quickly. Treating the cause will also aid in preventing future breakouts and marks left behind by zits with pus.
What Is A Zit?
The term zit basically applies to a pore on the skin that has become clogged with sebum, dirt, debris, and excess keratin. This blocked pore eventually becomes infected by zit causing bacteria as the environment that is created is extremely viable for it. Due to the presence of the infection, pus is formed in the blocked pores. The zit becomes raised, red, and may appear yellowish in colour at the tip because of the presence of pus in it.
Many people often resort to zit popping assuming that is the best way to remove zits, but this theory is wrong. Irrespective of the size, small or big zit, popping them must be refrained from and expert advice is recommended to treat them and prevent zit marks.
Zits Vs. Acne Vs. Pimples Vs. Blackheads
The difference between pimples, acne, and zits is merely in the name as all of them apply to same condition of clogged pores that have the heightened chances of becoming infected and filling up with pus. The term zits is most often used for pus-filled type of acne. While these three names are used interchangeably, the term blackheads refers to clogged pores which are open and appear like black dots on the skin. The black or brown colour seen is a result of the natural oxidization process. Blackheads are the initial stages for zits or pimples.
What Causes Zits?
To understand what causes zits, the primary thing to know is that the skin has numerous pores and oil glands that produce sebum (natural oil) which is excreted from these pores. One of the main functions of sebum is to keep the skin nourished and supple. In certain circumstances, excess oil is produced and the pores become blocked due to the sebum. Dead skin cells, keratin, dirt, and grime accumulate in these pores as they stick to the sebum easily. The clogged pore becomes a breeding ground for acne causing bacteria to grow in, eventually. Once these bacteria start to multiply in the plugged pore, pus is produced as a natural response by the body to counter the infection.
The various factors that can increase the chances of excess oil production and/or zit formation include –
- Hormonal imbalance (menstruation cycle, PCOD, etc.)
- Hereditary tendency
- Unhealthy skin care routine
- Certain medications
- Lack of hygiene
- Eating food that causes zits to form
The zits seen during pregnancy are often triggered due to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during this period.
Symptoms Of Zits On Your Skin
Zits can form on any part of the body. They are most noticeable when they form on different areas of the face such as the cheeks, chin, forehead, etc. Zits on upper arms, shoulder, back, and chest are common as well. Genital zits result from clogged pores in the private parts and also due to ingrown hair. Some symptoms include –
- Raised bumps on the skin that develop a head
- Pus may or may not be present
- Redness in the affected area
- Some zits may be painful to touch
How To Get Rid Of Zits?
Never give in to the urge of popping zits as it is bad for your skin and will only aggravate the problem or cause permanent marks on your face. Instead, opt for treatments that have shown results in varying degrees and are proven to get rid of zits and pimples fast. Some effective treatments for zits include –
- Chemical Peels – Acne Control Peels are available in renowned skin clinics that use a combination of plant extracts like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids to chemically exfoliate the skin under controlled conditions. The peel liquid is applied on the skin and left on for a couple of minutes to perform its action. Dead skin cells are exfoliated and the oil production is brought under control with repetitive sessions. If you are looking for an answer to the question of ‘how to remove zits on face’, then chemical peel is the recommended option for mild and moderate acne. To cure zits, a few sessions over the course of four to six months are recommended by experienced dermatologists
- Light And Laser Therapy – In certain situations, light or laser therapy is used to target the bacteria in the affected regions and destroy them. The exposure to a set wavelength of laser or light will bring in controlled thermal injury that triggers the production of collagen. This also regulates the sebum levels in the skin and brings renewed skin from under, that is free from zits. Enhanced collagen production cycle ensures that the healing occurs optimally. Laser therapy in combination with other treatments has proven to be the fastest ways to get rid of zits, and keep them at bay in the long term
- Oral Medications – Similar to the topical medications, oral retinoids or their derivatives such as isotretinoin are prescribed for a wide variety of patients who suffer from zits and pimples. The advantage of this oral medication is that it suits shows noticeable results in just a few weeks. It will help you to clears zits and reduce the redness caused by zits
- Intralesional Injections – In the case of raised zits, a visit to the dermatologist may prove beneficial to reduce the swelling with the help of a corticosteroid injection. This treatment works good when used in combination with other treatments that works towards eliminating the causes of zits.
- Over The Counter Options – Products available over the counter in pharmacies that contain benzoyl peroxide, sulphur, and salicylic acid are often recommended by skin specialists to reduce zits. These topical treatments aim at reducing the dead skin cell build up and hence, unclog the pores. They can also work towards reducing the bacterial infection that is causing the zits on the face to become filled with pus. This treatment can work well in getting rid of zits and blackheads overnight
- Prescribed Topical Medications – For moderately severe zits, the dermatologist will firstly analyse your skin and pimples, and then may prescribe you with topical retinoids. These medications are meant to be applied regularly on the affected skin. Inflammation and redness is tackled by this treatment along with reduction in the sebum production. Decreased oil production by the skin’s oil glands diminishes the chances of blocked pores. While this treatment may not get rid of the zit in one night, the intensity of your breakouts will come down in a short period of time.
Treatment For Zit Scars
When zits are left untreated, they leave behind zit marks that is basically characterized by hyper pigmented skin. These marks fade away with chemical peels and regular exfoliation over time. Once the zits progress to papules, pustules or later stages, they do not heal properly and often leave behind zit scars. These scars are of different types (ice pick, boxcar, rolling, etc.) and appear as pock-marks on the skin. To remove zit scars, dermatological treatments are available for achieving a scar-free and clear skin.
For ice pick scars, a specialized chemical peel called TCA Peel is used to fill in the pinprick marks on the skin and exfoliate the dead skin cells. For boxcar and rolling scars, the best treatments to remove them are pixel laser skin resurfacing and secret technology. The pixel equipment uses USFDA approved erbium YAG laser to exfoliate the skin and stimulate collagen production. The collagen so produced, fills up the indentations caused by the scars and renders the skin with a flawless appearance. The secret machine uses radiofrequency microneedling technology, instead of lasers, to stimulate collagen in the skin.
Depending on the type of scars present on your skin, a combination of these treatments may be required to efficiently get rid of the zit scars. In certain cases, alternate treatments for zit scars may be recommended such as Dermal Fillers or Scar Excision. For raised scars, intralesional corticosteroid injections are used to get rid of the swelling and bring the scar to the skin’s surface level.
The most important risk factor when it comes to zits is scarring. If zits are not treated on time, they progress to severe stages and damage the skin even the layers deeper than the superficial one. This damage affects collagen production and does not let the skin heal properly after the zit is gone. Scars develop on the skin in the affected region and mar the flawlessness of your beautiful skin. Another risk factor associated with zits is the bacterial infection. In a few cases, the infection can advance to the levels of affecting the immunity levels of the body and causing other symptoms such as fever.
How To Prevent Zits And Pimples?
- Do not indulge in popping zits and pimples as this can easily lead to infection and aggravate the problem unnecessarily
- Maintain hygiene and do not touch your face unnecessarily
- If a scab forms on the skin, do not pick at it as this can lead to scarring and infection
- To prevent zits and pimples, take care of your skin by maintaining a good skin care routine that involves using products that are meant for your skin type. Zit care can be made easy by simply following the ‘Cleansing, Toning, and Moisturizing’ routine on a daily basis
- Wash your hair regularly as a dirty scalp and unwashed hair can cause zits on forehead and other parts of the face easily
- Remove all makeup at the end of the day and wash your face to remove any traces that may have remained
- Use non-comedogenic makeup, that is specially formulated for oily skin and it does not clog your pores
- Avoid junk food, spicy food, and fried food as much as possible
- Stay away from dairy or dairy products if they are potential triggers to prevent zits
- Eat a well-balanced diet that contains appropriate portions of vegetables, fruits, lean meat, whole grains, and healthy fat.
Solutions, especially homemade ones, that claim to get rid of a zit in one day or remove your pimple overnight are often exaggerating their efficiency. To add to that, these solutions can result in unwarranted allergic reactions or rashes if the ingredients in them do not suit your skin. It is best to not experiment when it comes to zits on the face and spend some time consulting an expert dermatologist to figure out the most suitable way to treat them.