When you get a zit, it's natural to want to get rid of it - fast. Popping it may be the quickest way, but it's also risky, as dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban explains on The Doctors today.
Many people buy a comedone extractor, thinking that this will be the safe way to get rid of a zit, but they're incorrect. While using your fingers does increase your risk of infection due to bacteria on your fingers, using the extractor doesn't mean there's no risk at all. According to Dr. Shamban, even with the extractor, you run the risk of infection and scarring. The best way to deal with a current breakout is to visit your dermatologist who can professionally remove your pimple.
Preventing acne is the best way to avoid scars. Medications are available to treat both mild and severe acne are available. Prescriptions like isotretinoin, a vitamin-A derivative, are used to treat severe acne. Because of the side effects associated with the medicine, it is rarely prescribed. Most physicians will opt for other treatments such as topical creams and cleansers, which commonly contain salicylic acid, or acne laser technologies.
Acne medicines often work by decreasing production of sebum, which is a natural body fluid produced by sebaceous glands underneath the skin. When the pores are clogged, and the sebum has nowhere to go, it builds causing a small infection. White blood cells rush to the site and die, forming pus which becomes a 'whitehead' pimple, also known as a closed comedone. Another type of pimple that occurs are 'blackheads,' or open comedones. These are caused in much the same way, there is a build up of sebum in the pore, but as the pore remains open and not clogged, there is not the subsequent infection and build up of pus.
Acne laser treatments are now available to remove current pimples and reduce sebum production over time. Technologies such as Isolaz from Aesthera, which was recently acquired by Solta Medical, not only visibly reduce acne within a couple of days, but actually reduce the production of sebum at the treatment site, unlike medications which reduce sebum production over the whole body. According to Stephen Fanning, CEO of Solta Medical, there are many people who suffer from acne and are looking for a treatment that works quickly and effectively. "In one or two days, you will see some dramatic results as a result of using the isolaz products. So it's a big market and it's a product that works."