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Why Do Pimples Itch

Why do pimples itch? I hear you ask. 

Maybe you're asking out of curiosity. Or even likelier, you're asking out of frustration.

It can get so overwhelming to have itchy pimples. You can't tell when the itchiness will kick in.

You could be enjoying your day, out with your friends or significant other. Then, BAM! Your pimples are itchy as heck.

And it's not like you can just give in to the itch. Doing that may just break them wide open, or add extra bacteria to the itchy spot, both of which is not something you want.

So, what can you do about it?

That's what we'll figure out today. 

We can't just let itchy acne win!

So, let's find out, “why do pimples itch?”, and what you can do about it.

Why do pimples itch?

Why Do Pimples Itch

The thing is, acne isn't typically itchy [1]. 

Tenderness is more typical of pimples. 

Even the slightest pressure on an inflamed pimple can make you wince. 

Meanwhile, itchiness isn't brought by the pimples themselves. Your pimples can itch because of the following triggers:

  • Skin dryness. Using products aimed to dry up your pimples can make the surrounding skin dry too. When the skin is dry, itchiness is just around the corner. Extremely dry skin especially comes with itchiness.
  • Allergies. Itchy skin can be an allergic reaction [2]. If your skin comes into contact with an allergen, it could make the skin surrounding your pimple itch. That's why it's important to patch-test before using skin care products.
  • Skin reaction to acne treatment. Acne treatment products, like those that have benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, can make your skin itch [3]. Usually, the itchiness goes away after a few minutes. But it can also last long and only go away when you wash off the product. This happens when you use too much or use a product with too high a concentration of acne-fighting ingredients. 
  • Heat or Sunlight. If you've been bathing under the sun without proper sun protection, don't wonder why your pimples feel itchy. Exposure to too much heat, especially via the sun's UV light, can make your skin exceptionally dry. Your skin can even end up burnt, which is going to make it harder to heal your pimples.
  • Sweat. Whether it's because of the weather or vigorous exercise, sweat can certainly contribute to itchy skin. Sweat can clog the narrow ducts connecting sweat glands to the skin's surface [4]. The trapped sweat then causes inflammation. That's when you feel irritation, itching, and see some small bumps forming.

What can you do about itchy acne?

Oh, if only we could make the itchiness go away with a snap of a finger. While we can't do that, there are still some things you can do to manage itchy acne.

Please avoid the urge to itch at all costs.

Why Do Pimples Itch

I know, it’s easier for me to write this advice than to follow it.

But scratching the itchy skin surrounding your pimple will bring a lot more harm and little to no good.

Yes, you might feel a slight relief after scratching. But you're risking popping the pimple and spreading its contents to your other pores.

Even if you don't end up popping the pimple, you're still spreading the infection by scratching the surrounding skin. That's why the patch of skin looks so angry red after scratching.

Keep your hands clean and avoid touching the pimple.

Why Do Pimples Itch

While most people would say it’s a no-no to even touch the pimple, I say, if your hands are clean, patting the pimple to relieve the itchiness is perfectly fine. Just don’t overdo it.

It’s easy to say “don’t touch it!”, but when your skin is itchy as hell, then what happens? You touch it, right? Of course. We all do. Even those people preaching that “touching is evil.” 

Just keep your hands clean and don’t overdo it. You’ll be fine.

Avoid overexposing yourself to the sun.

Why Do Pimples Itch

Overexposure to the sun is likely to make you sweat buckets.

All this makes your itchy acne worse. 

Stay properly protected when under the sun. And pat away sweat regularly to avoid clogging your pores, which is causing unnecessary itching.

Apply light, oil-free moisturizers to relieve dryness.

Why Do Pimples Itch

Dry skin around your pimples eventually leads them to be itchy.

But using heavy moisturizers, like oil-based and even silicone-based ones might contribute to clogging your pores while relieving dryness.

Water-based, gel-type moisturizers, even plain 'ol aloe vera can relieve dryness without contributing to the clog. 

Pro tip: Pop your light moisturizer in the fridge for a few hours before application. The coolness can help relieve your skin's tenderness, as well as itchiness.

Try using calamine lotion to spot-treat itchy areas.

Why Do Pimples Itch

Calamine lotion is well known for its ability to relieve the itching, pain, and discomfort of skin irritations [5].

Just take note that it can cause some dryness so it's best only to use it as a spot treatment. Use a thin layer over areas that itch, making sure you've properly moisturized the area beforehand. 

Use antihistamines to relieve itchiness.

Why Do Pimples Itch

If you've reached unbearable levels of itchiness, antihistamines may help relieve the itching [6].

Nowadays, you can easily find non-drowsy antihistamines. So you can confidently go about your day without the itchy pimples visiting you.

What if you already scratched the itchy pimple?

You're probably dealing with a popped pimple at most or reddened pimples at least.

Using a soothing light, oil-free moisturizer can help lessen the inflammation of your reddened pimples.

But if you're dealing with a popped pimple, here's what you should do.

Wash it with a non-stripping, gentle cleanser immediately. Be gentle in washing, making sure you're not pressing on the open wound. Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

Then you can place a pimple patch or acne patch over the open wound to prevent further infection, especially if you're going out and about.

If you're about to sleep, you can just use a light moisturizer and call it a day.

 

No matter how annoying itchy acne can be, we can't let it stop us from living our best life.

Knowing what you can do about itchy pimples can help you seize the day without worry. But what if you knew how to stop breakouts all together? 

I’m really good at what I do, and I can help you live without acne. That’s actually become a sort of guarantee of mine.

Have a look at the menu section and you’ll see what programs and services I offer.

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