Prepping your skin

Before using an acne treatment, I’ve found that it’s often helpful to prep your skin. Even if you’re using an entire system that includes a cleanser, you can improve your skin by prepping it. Doing so only takes a couple minutes, and it can make all the difference.

Start by heating a wet cloth in the microwave. It doesn’t take long for the water to become piping hot. A minute or so should do the trick. I find that wetting the towel first works well, but you can also heat the water and then dip the towel in. Either way seems to work about the same for me.

Be sure to check the towel’s temperature before putting it on your face. Microwaves can vary significantly, so one person’s towel might not be the same as another person’s towel. You certainly don’t want to put a scalding hot towel directly on your face. Um, the reasons should be pretty obvious. Hint: burning pimples off is not considered an effective treatment.

Leave the towel on your face for two minutes. The heat will stimulate blood flow in the skin and draw out “impurities.” A lot of people use the word impurities when they don’t really know what they’re talking about. In this sense, though, impurities means pus, dirt, and oil.

Once you remove your towel, your  face should be ready for a good scrub. Apply your cleanser and work up a good lather. Then rinse and use any other products in your regimen.

In addition to blackheads and whiteheads, I often find that this technique helps my pores stay small.

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