Do you sometimes wish that you can skip the expensive and sometimes fruitless trips to the dermatologist clinic and just do relatively accurate self-diagnosis of your own pimples? If you’re really short on cash, your schedule’s just a bummer or probably, you just feel like playing witch skin doc on yourself, then it seems that there might really be a way for you to know the cause of your pimples just by examining how they look like.
While looking for possible causes of forehead pimples, which I have been suddenly suffering from lately, I came across this very interesting article from High On Health that talked about a health journalist’s attempt at a (severe) diet overhaul to cure the sudden weird-looking pimple outbreak on his forehead. I wasn’t kidding when I said “severe” as the diet involved dropping almost all types of food known to a city dweller–no meat, rice, sweets, milk, cheese, etc. The diet consisted mainly of fresh salads, smoothies, nuts and other variations of rabbit food.
Anyway, back to DIY pimple diagnosis, the article also listed several common causes of acne and how they are related to its appearance. I’ve summarized them below with additional notes I got from related articles and encounters with Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners.
What could be Causing your Acne?
Unhealthy Liver – Skin is dry but congested with black/ whiteheads. Pimples usually have ‘heads’ (the eye/pus) and they surface easily. The surface pimples can be very red and sore to touch. I’ve also learned from a consultation with a TCM doctor that liver problems can cause back acne or scattered pimples all over the body.
Fungus/Mold – Skin has uneven tone and the pimples look more like rash than normal pimples. They sit under the skin but would occasionally surface with very small heads. They are not painful. The affected area may be oilier than the rest of the face. This usually happens in the T-Zone. This condition is usually caused or can be worsened by too much sugar in the diet.
Hormonal Problems – Painful, hard cystic acne that sit under the skin. The pimples don’t have heads and they can take weeks or even months to heal. This type of pimple is usually not related to the oiliness of the skin and even people with dry skin can get it. Women usually get it along the jawline.
Cosmetic Acne – Wondering whether your make-up or skin care product is causing your pimple? Cosmetic pimples usually grow in clusters but they are small with little heads. Outbreak is accompanied by clogged pores with whiteheads and blackheads. Breakouts are mild (no cherry tomato pimple on the nose!) but frequent.
Puberty – The pimples actually look like any other. It can be mild, severe or a mixture of clusters of small pimples with headless cystic ones. Guys are more prone to suffer the severe type. Well, if the sudden outbreak happened during the puberty age then it’s most likely puberty pimples unless the entire family is basically pimple-prone.
Stress – Why am I not surprised? Pimples can range from mild to severe and are usually identical to hormonal pimples since stress affects hormones. Lone pimple on the nose? You got it.
Quite Accurate But…
Based on experience, I find the descriptions above quite accurate, especially the one about stress and cosmetic pimples. However, acne can be due to various more factors like sensitivities or allergies, other underlying health conditions beside a congested liver and most notoriously, genes. Also, there could be more than one cause at the same time. It could be a combination of any two or three of the causes mentioned above or a full unfortunate mix of everything! But still, it’s definitely a helpful piece of information, especially the part about fungus/molds/yeast outbreak. That’s definitely something I haven’t heard before but it all makes sense now. Chocolate, leave me alone.
EcoBeauty Q: Do you find the pimple descriptions above consistent with your own experiences? Share, share!