Understanding Where Pimples Come From
Unless you’re a superhuman you’ve experienced the displeasures that come along when a pimple presents itself. Pimples, breakouts, and flare-ups are frustrating, to say the least, but have you ever wondered what they are or where they come from? It may seem senseless when you just want to pop that sucker (which, by the way, is not advised), but understanding where these pus-filled bumps come from can be beneficial. So, if you’re like us and interested in the nature of the beast, read on.
While it may seem like pimples just pop up overnight, the reality is quite contrary. Believe it or not, it is very common for a pimple to brew under the skin for weeks and months before showing itself! How is this possible? Before we explain, you must first understand how the pores of the skin function; the pores of your skin are home to a single strand of hair (commonly referred to as a hair follicle). Attached to each individual hair follicle is a sole sebaceous gland which secretes natural oils to hydrate and protect the skin. When this natural mechanism is maintaining its ideals, air can easily flow in and out of the pore (hence the notion that the skin breathes). However, when a blockage occurs within the follicle, the pore becomes blocked with a pimple in the making.
Typically, a blockage begins when the sebaceous glands ramp up oil production. As with all other oils, the oil under the skin will begin to cluster and be unable to flow through the pore’s surface. While the oil propagates the follicle dead skin cells become trapped creating the blockage which prevents a healthy airflow. Without airflow, bacteria multiply to create an infection under the skin. When the infection is in full swing you’ll notice a tender red bump on the surface of the skin, this is called a papule. Upon the arrival of the papule, your immune system charges by sending white blood cells to terminate the infection. Once the white blood cells have done their duty, they gather up all the remains of the blockage and leftover fluid, then gather to the surface of the pore. This is when you notice that pesky, inconvenient white head. When the whitehead is left alone, untouched and unharmed, it continues to heal on its own; the pus eventually drains and/or disperses and is absorbed by other cells in the body. Even if the white head has been left alone it will form a scab on the surface of the skin. Depending on your skincare regimen, this scab may be sloughed away with dry skin or simply dissolve in its own time – regardless of the scab’s demise, there will be a scar in its place. However, with proper skincare healthy and bright skin cells will overturn the pimple’s scar leaving you with the clear skin you had prior to the blockage.
As you can see, the skin has a way of working through the problem on its own – pretty amazing, huh? Which is why we really want to push the take-home point in all of this: that if you leave a pimple be and fight the urge to pop it, it will heal effectively on its own!