Why do you keep getting pimples in the same spot? We get to the bottom of this super aggravating situation!
Acne likes to rear its head at the worse times. And while it’s frustrating enough to be dealing with acne on the daily, it’s even worse when those suckers keep showing up in the same exact spot! I always tend to break out around my nose in the same place over and over again and it seems like no matter what I do, acne always likes to show up there.
To break down why you keep getting pimples in the same place, we reached out to Joshua Zeichner, dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Why does acne reoccur in the same place?
First, we need to talk about the several different types of acne that exist since they play a large part in why acne reoccurs. The different types are broken down into three different categories: comedonal acne, inflammatory acne, and cysts and nodules. Comedones are hair follicles that get clogged with trapped dirt, sebum, and debris, causing the pore to become infected. Inflammatory acne can be described as lesions that become inflamed and result in red and/or tender bumps that can be filled with pus and bacteria. Cystic acne consists of larger spots that are lodged deep within the skin and can take anywhere from weeks to months to go away and are usually painful to the touch.
Recurring acne can appear in all forms, but cystic acne is usually the main culprit. “Cysts are large pimples under the skin that are like balloons attached to your oil glands,” says Zeichner. “As they fill up with oil, they become inflamed. After the inflammation calms down, the balloon still remains and often becomes inflamed again in the future.” And this is why people tend to get pimples in the same spot over and over again.
Trying to pick or squeeze these bumps can actually lead to more damage. “If there is damage or scarring to an oil gland or follicle, it may interfere with proper flow of oil out of the gland to the skin’s surface,” says Zeichner. “This blockage can lead to a recurring pimple.” So attempting to squeeze your pimples may be satisfying, and believe me, I’m guilty, but it’s not worth the potential damage it can incur.
Another reason why you should avoid squeezing your pimples is because when you squeeze your bumps, you may not be getting all of that blockage out. This leaves bacteria behind, which can cause that spot to become inflamed again. It can also spread bacteria to adjacent locations, making it seem like the same pimple has resurfaced when it’s actually a new one.
Nevertheless, it’s best to keep those hands off of your bumps in order to effectively get rid of them for good. If you’re super prone to picking, try using the Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch. These handy patches are like Band-Aids for your pimples that protect them from your wandering hands! They help by breaking down excess dirt, sebum, and any extra gunk overnight, reducing the pimple in the size by morning. They’re also really great at not only keeping your hands out, but also any other bacteria that can cause your pimples to worsen.
You can also spot treat with the A’PIEU Glycolic Acid Cream, which is formulated with 3% glycolic acid and 0.45% salicylic acid to keep pesky breakouts at bay. You can either spot treat or use it all over as your nightly moisturizer since it also contains 30% birch juice to hydrate and protect your skin.
Treatments to prevent recurring acne:
Cystic acne is the most severe form of acne, which makes it the hardest to treat, but Zeichner suggests staying ahead of the game and treating it at the first sign of inflammation. “At the first symptom, apply a combination of benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and a cortisone cream,” he says. This combination is a multi-purpose attack against acne. “Benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria, salicylic acid exfoliates dead cells and dries the pimple out, and the hydrocortisone reduces inflammation,” says Zeichner.
Benzoyl peroxide is an extremely effective acne treatment but can be really sensitizing for some. If so, stick with lower percentage formulations that are gentler on the skin. To exfoliate the dead skin cells, the Dr. Oracle A-Thera Tea Tree Peeling Sticks are a really convenient and an easy-to-use option to spot treat those bumps. They’re essentially giant cotton swabs pre-soaked in a solution that contains AHAs and BHAs, effective chemical exfoliators that will slough off dead skin cells and help clear your pores.
To amp up the reduction of inflammation, add in the Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream before you spot treat with hydrocortisone. This dreamy blue moisturizer does just what it says: soothe and calm the skin. This is thanks to guaiazulene, a powerful skin-calming agent extracted from camomile oil and centella asiatica, which also helps to relieve redness and irritation.
Some cystic acne is so severe that it actually changes the structure of your skin. This means it can lead to intense scarring, like pitted or ice pick scars. To combat those, use the Easydew EX Repair Control Renewal Moisture, which is packed with 2ppm of medical grade EGF, a type of protein that effectively stimulates cell regeneration and works to repair skin, as well as smooth fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains centella asiatica to calm inflammation, along with niacinamide and adenosine to smooth and even out skin.
Acne is complicated, and sometimes it may seem like these spots pop up just to ruin our day, but remember your acne doesn’t define you or your day. It’s important to be as informed as possible about exactly why your acne is occurring and create a routine that not only treats your acne when you have it but helps prevent it.