A very common skin concern faced by a lot of women is skin blemishes. This is the main reason why your skin doesn’t have the clear, flawless and air-brushed look we all secretly crave. There is so much more to skin blemishes than just acne or spots, which is why it is important to have a dedicated treatment for this skin issue.
So what exactly is a skin blemish, you ask? Well, to answer this question, we got in touch with a renowned dermatologist and celebrity skin expert, Dr. Bindu Sthalekar from Mumbai. “Skin blemishes is the umbrella term used for lesions or marks on the skin that appear in the form of rashes, acne, maskne, pigmentation, dark spots, etc.”, she explains. Dr. Sthalekar further adds “This seemingly harmless problem is cropping up more and more, especially in the recent pandemic era, thanks to wearing masks and sitting in front of our computer screens for prolonged hours every single day.”
But before we go into the details of the problem of skin blemishes, let’s take a look at the most common types of skin blemishes.
- 1. Types of skin blemishes
- - Acne and acne scars
- - Pigmentation
- - Maskne
- - Rashes
- 2. How to prevent skin blemishes
- 3. Skincare steps to reduce skin blemishes
- 4. FAQs about skin blemishes
1. Types of skin blemishes
According to Dr. Sthalekar, “Acne and acne scars, maskne, melasma, pigmentation caused due to sun damage as well as blue light, rashes and rosacea are the most common types of skin blemishes or lesions, especially in modern times.” Let’s have a look at these in a little more detail –
- Acne and acne scars
Dr. Sthalekar says, “Acne and acne scars are the most common type of skin blemish seen in women. The most common types of acne seen in women are hormonal or adult acne, puberty acne is seen in teenagers and forehead acne. While there are a number of causes, I have seen a spike in acne in women, especially in the COVID era. The main cause of this is the lack of exercise, coupled with binge-eating.” Some other causes also include using the wrong skincare products, lack of personal hygiene, an unhealthy diet, stress or even medication.
Treatment: The first step towards dealing with acne is to find out the cause. This will ensure that the treatment you use ends up being a lot more effective. Some other tips to reduce acne include washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and using mattifying skincare products. Exercising and reducing stress are known to help a lot as well.
Pigmentation is the appearance of dark spots on the skin, which ends up making your face appear dull and uneven. Even though sun exposure and aging are the major causes of pigmentation, there are a few other causes that one must consider. Dr. Sthalekar says, “Most of us have been working from home for quite a few months now, which means that we end up spending a lot more time in front of our computer screens. This leads to a lot of blue light exposure, causing photodamage, leading to an increase in the appearance of brown spots on the skin.”
Treatment: The best way to deal with pigmentation, as well as photodamage, is to wear sunscreen every single day without fail. Choose a sunscreen with SPF of at least 50, and reapply it every few hours.
Maskne is a type of blemish that occurs around your mouth and has only started to occur in the last few months. Dr. Sthalekar explains, “The result of wearing a face mask for a prolonged period of time, maskne is nothing but acne that occurs in those areas of the skin that are either covered by or touching the mask. The heat, sweat and friction trapped under your mask end up clogging pores in the area and then gives rise to maskne.”
Treatment: While it is impossible to give up on wearing a mask when outdoors, here’s what Dr. Sthalekar has to say about treating maskne. “Wash your face at least twice a day with a gentle face wash and then follow it up with an antibacterial cream to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the area. If you need to wear your face mask for really long hours, then try to remove your mask for five minutes, wash your face, reapply the cream and wear it again. This will prevent build-up and reduce maskne.”
While the reason for the appearance of rashes on skin cannot be pin-pointed, it is still a fairly common form of skin blemish. Mostly occurring due to some sort of skin infection, rashes result in a slight change in the colour of your skin. The main cause of rashes could be climate change, unprotected sun exposure, allergic reactions or even insect bites.
Treatment: When it comes to treating rashes, start by applying anti-inflammatory creams to reduce redness and itching. But if this does not work, then the best thing to do would be to consult a dermatologist to prevent further damage and relieve discomfort.
2. How to prevent skin blemishes
When it comes to preventing skin blemishes, holistic approaches work well when paired with a consistent skincare routine. To help you understand exactly what steps you should take to treat and prevent this problem, Dr. Sthalekar says, “Since the cause of skin blemishes is usually internal, it is important to eliminate the problem from within. Here are my tips –
- Firstly, avoid consuming excessive dairy products, as they not only increase inflammation in your body, but also cause a lot of hormonal imbalance.
- Walk at least 10,000 steps at home every day or indulge in some form of exercise for about 30 minutes. This prevents hormonal imbalance, flushes out the toxins from your system and helps you stay physically fit as well.
- Indulge in yoga and meditation to help with anxiety and balance hormones.
- Follow a stringent skincare routine, especially sunscreen.
3. Skincare steps to reduce skin blemishes
In order to achieve healthy, blemish-free skin, one obviously cannot ignore the importance of a good skincare routine. By following the basic skin care steps mentioned below, you will definitely be able to reduce skin blemishing and maintain healthy, glowing skin.
i) Cleansing –
Dr. Sthalekar recommends washing your face with a gentle face wash suitable for your skin type at least two to three times a day. This will help get rid of excess oils, dirt, sweat and other impurities which in turn will prevent clogged pores and acne.
ii) Antibacterial cream –
After cleansing, always protect and treat your skin with an antibacterial face cream. This will help inhibit bacterial growth on your skin, thereby reducing the chance of a blemish.
iii) Sunscreen –
According to Dr. Sthalekar, wearing sunscreen is non-negotiable. “Wear sunscreen without fail, irrespective of whether you are indoors or outdoors. As discussed earlier, it not just protects against sun exposure, but from the blue light emitted from your devices as well. But here’s a word of caution – simply applying sunscreen during the day won’t be enough if your phone usage post-sunset is above four hours. Therefore, you will need to apply sunscreen in the night as well.”
4. FAQs about skin blemishes
01. When should one see a doctor for skin blemishes?
A. Dr. Sthalekar explains that one must immediately visit a dermatologist for skin blemishes in one of the following three situations:
When you have acne and your normal skincare routine isn’t working or if the acne keeps worsening. Since the doctor can not only treat existing acne, but also ensure the prevention of future acne, it goes a long way in preventing scars.
When a rash appears and doesn’t calm down in a day or two or it worsens Sunspots or pigmentation that won’t go away with the normal skincare routine.
02. What are some home remedies to get rid of blemishes?
A. Applying a little bit of lemon juice or tomato juice on the affected area helps reduce blemishes. Additionally, properly moisturising and protecting the area with natural ingredients like aloe vera gel and honey also helps in improving your skin texture over time.
03. What is the difference between pigmentation and blemishes?
A. Hyperpigmentation is nothing but a type of blemish. The spots in hyperpigmentation appear to be a lot darker than sunspots. Even though they are usually harmless, they can make your skin appear uneven and can end up taking a toll on your self-confidence.