How To Pop A Zit & More Advice From Skincare Expert Annet King

Annet King knows all there is to know about skin. As the Director of Global Education at The International Dermal Institute (Dermalogica’s prestigious post-graduate school), it’s her job. King was kind enough to allow us to hit her with a barrage of questions, and gave us some solid advice when it comes to dealing with our own problem skin. If you’re a complexion fanatic, read on and prepare to get schooled.

The Frisky: Is it ever OK to do a home extraction (i.e., pop a zit), and if so what is the best procedure?

Annet King: Popping an inflamed pus filled pimple is not advised as it can lead to secondary infection and scarring … but we know people are likely to do it! It’s better to treat with a topical application of a pimple product and let the lesion dry up and heal. Blackheads are non-inflamed so won’t cause scarring if done correctly. I suggest prepping the skin by cleansing and then exfoliating as this will help the pimple or blackhead to come out more easily.  Also if you have showered or have a facial steamer at home, it does help soften the skin and make this skin more pliable (but it doesn’t really open pores like people think). A hot moist washcloth could also be held on the area.

Generally the majority of the population is confused about their own skin type, skin condition and what to use and how to use it effectively. The consumer is bombarded with information and choices so it’s no surprise!

Next, cover the forefingers with tissue and then using the sides of the fingers (versus the nails or finger tips) stretching the skin apart, create a little mound of skin. Rock the fingers back and forth until it pops with impaction out of the skin (safely and hygienically). It’s like squeezing toothpaste from the base of the tube — you get everything out versus pinching at the top. This help to prevent the risk of infection and a big pimple the next day!  Follow with an antibacterial wipe, lotion or masque and then apply a treatment product that contains sulfur, zinc or BP (benzoyl peroxide).

The Frisky: On that note, adult acne is so widespread. How can women prevent and fight wrinkles and breakouts at the same time?

AK: Luckily today we have products for adult acne that don’t dry out the skin, expedite healing and treat the inflammation associated with adult acne. The way to treat this problem when still concerned about aging is to spot-treat areas, aging products around the eyes, light serums versus heavier anti-aging products and acne treatments on the zones or areas with breakouts. In adult acne we see breakouts mainly on the sides of the chin, jaw line and neck.

The Frisky: Considering we just hit very cold temperatures, how should one switch up her regimen when the seasons change?

AK: Your skin is a moving target and as the largest organ of the body, it reflects your environment, your health and your lifestyle. In winter if you have normal to dry skin, you should switch to a creamy cleanser and heavier moisturizer.  You might also want to use a treatment product on areas where the barrier is compromised, like around the nose from frequent nose blowing, etc. In the summer, you will switch to a gel foaming cleanser and lighter products as humidity and temperatures rise. An oilier skin person may add a hydrating serum to their regimen in the winter and use more oil-absorbing products in the summer.

The Frisky: When it comes to skincare in general, what do women do wrong?  

AK: This really varies, some women are very enthusiastic and over-exfoliate their skin or cherry-pick using multiple products that may not work well together and leave the skin irritated or unbalanced. Some people, because they are oily and acne prone, dehydrate their skin as they are oil-phobic and will use more drying products. Some women don’t clean their skin well and this leads to congestion and breakouts. Everyone has their own personal things that they might be doing wrong. But generally the majority of the population is confused about their own skin type, skin condition and what to use and how to use it effectively. The consumer is bombarded with information and choices so it’s no surprise!

The Frisky: How does one find a good esthetician? What makes some more successful than others?

AK: Looking for a good skin therapist (as we refer to them) can be tricky. You want someone who is up to date on their training, is passionate about education versus someone who never takes classes but might have years of experience. You also want to go to a place that is clean, comfortable and offers great customer service and modern treatments.  The average state board license in skincare in the States only requires 600-800 hours of study so post-graduate education and training is a must. In Europe we do 2-3 years full time so the U.S. has some catching up to do. My advice is to ask about training when you call or check it out on the website. Go in for a tour so you can see the establishment and see how well you are treated and review the menu and look to see if they offer up-to-date treatments. You are looking for a skin treatment that is customized for you, gets results on your skin and is not a cookie-cutter pampering facial. “Facial” is an outdated term and none of us have the time or money for just the fluffy experience anymore, we want our skin to look great, get our problems solved and receive advice on how to get it as healthy as possible.

Education is also ultimately what makes someone successful if they apply their knowledge, combine it with superb hands-on skills, are passionate about what they do, can connect emotionally with clients and also have savvy business skills. We train over 45,000 skin therapists a year at IDI and Dermalogica in our 39 global training centers so we know, finding someone who is IDI trained and thus has obtained our post-grad certificates of achievement will get you on the right track of finding someone good. Alternatively Dermalogica skin therapists are required to attend our training and we offer over 22 different classes, so seeking out a well-trained Dermalogica skin therapist that offers Face mapping and Dermalogica treatments is another option. Go to the Dermalogica website and put in your address to find the skin centers and a skin therapist near you.

The Frisky: What is your own personal skin regimen and why? Like, what products do you swear by?

AK: Well, of course I use Dermalogica from head to toe and have so many favorites. My “I couldn’t live withouts” would be Pecleanse (our oil-based deep cleanser), Daily Microfoliant (our powder daily exfoliant), Chromawhite C12 Concentrate (a treatment serum for hyperpigmentation), Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 30 for day and Power Rich at night. I’m also using a fantastic new eye product I can’t talk about yet! I beg the lab for more. I take care of my skin and double cleanse at night and cleanse and exfoliate in the morning. I use a treatment serum beneath my treatment creams and hydrate with a spritz toner throughout the day. I never leave the house without an SPF and change up my routine frequently to address travel and the weather!

The Frisky: On that note, as Director of Global Education for the International Dermal Institute, what have you learned about skincare? Any cool tips or tricks of the trade?

AK: You can’t replace your skin and not everyone wants to go under the knife! So it really pays to take good care of it — it reflects everything going on in your life, so taking care of yourself will show. Good professional quality products are very different from cheap products that can cause more harm than good. Seek out a professional to properly analyze and map your skin and get on the right regimen. Learn how to use those products by taking a skin lesson at a Skinbar (another complimentary service from Dermalogica). You will save money in the long run and it will show on your skin.