The Lifecycle of a Zit
WARNING: Due to the graphic nature of this story, I SPARED you the pics of the Zits. It was All Hallow’s Eve when it all went down. I had five marauders with me- their costumes inconsequential- each one fantasizing about his impending booty. My goal was to get in, punch it, and get out… I had worked a long day, and was desperate to see the gentle glow of my vintage- glam Hollywood designed bedroom, to feel the glide of my Egyptian cotton sheets (my husband bought them at a trade fair-600 thread count, allegedly, but they feel more like 350-400. The classic bait and switch, if you ask me…) Regardless, I wanted my bed…REAL BAD… We did it-several long blocks of trick-or-treating, no casualties and only one potty break, and we were headed home. I went through my usual litany of tasks for the kids: “ok, when we get home, the FIRST thing you are gonna do is……” and so on and so on…the kids probably hate it when I do that, and it is really not effective because I still have to harass them when we get home, but old habits die hard, as they say… After washing away the evidence of an evening of mystery, intrigue, and candy on the kids, my husband and I put them to bed. It was in that moment that I made the crucial decision- the ONE thing that I preach to everyone about NOT doing: I went to bed without washing my face (and let’s be honest here- if the face wasn’t washed, neither were the teeth….). And here is where my story begins. During the night, while we are sleeping, AMAZING things happen to the skin. The body heats up, new cells are produced, the body sweats, releasing toxins, sebum is secreted, hydrating the skin and giving the face a healthy glow of moisture…unless your face has yesterday’s battle lying dormant atop it, blocking the renewal…Dang it! That fateful evening, I missed that beauty treatment. And the cost: not one, not two, nay, FOUR ZITS erupting from the surface of my face, and altering my profile (YES, they were THAT large!). I had two speaking occasions coming up within the week on the topic of, of course, body care, and I looked like a teenager with crow’s feet and gray roots. I had to do something. Day 1: I knew not to pop them. That always results in scarring. Extracting wasn’t an option either- these were cystic, lying deeply under the skin. So I did what I thought best: nothing. Day 2: Looking worse, they were red, swollen, bulging, even. I thought they were going to burst. I was trying not to pick them, nor look at them, nor even think about them for fear of scarring. Zits can be very vengeful little creatures. Day 3: Still there and ever growing, my patience was waning. I broke out my medical-grade microdermabrasion machine, and blasted the buggers full strength. My face felt great, but the zits were laughing at me. I swear, they looked back at me in the mirror and gave me a pump. They were puffing their chests at me. It was ON. Day 4: Red and engorged as ever, I couldn’t take their bravado anymore. I HAD to do something. I washed my face with African Black Soap. Then I scrubbed with my sugar scrub. Nice and soft, the skin was ready to be manipulated. I started to do what I know to do to a zit: apply witch hazel, wrapping my pointer fingers in tissue, and very gently press underneath the sides of the zit. Then stretch the skin taut, back and forth, VERY GENTLY, and NO MORE than three times, without drawing blood to the surface, opening the pore and releasing its contents-a very effective method of extraction...unless it’s cystic. Mine were indeed cystic. There was no hope. Day 5: I couldn’t stand the mocking anymore. I decided to attack just one of the zits to see what would happen. I threw caution to the wind and squeezed as hard as I could. The skin broke, blood came out, and the surrounding skin turned purple. But at least it was flat. Still angry, I gave it a sucker punch by dabbing it with a dose of lactic acid (50% concentrate). I could feel the burn, and it felt gooood. Day 6: The three zits on my left side (those that I didn’t assault) were finally withdrawing. They were still raised, but not as much, and their color was fleshy. The victim on my right, however, had a mad crust over it, and, of course, a separate scab underneath it where the RIDICULOUSLY HIGH CONCERNTRATION OF LACTIC ACID BURNED MY FACE. I really knew better. It was a fit of passion. And so, now, 11 days after the poor decision of neglecting personal hygiene, I have a couple of cute little pink spots on the left side of my face, and two deep purple scars with scaly surfaces on my right. The cautionary tale here is twofold:
- Take advantage of Nature’s beauty treatments while you sleep.
- Ignore the chest-pumping zits. They are like children- if you argue with them, you will always lose.