I did something bad; I was wrong and I'm sorry (skin care edition)
July 16, 2017 7:39 AM   Subscribe

I picked a scab on my face. It won't go away. It NEEDS to go away - by Saturday. Hope?

Former zit/ingrown hair on my chin, tried to dig the hair out, turned into one of those spots where the top is smooth but there's some sort of raised bump underneath. So I picked, and then I picked again... and now I'm here. Not-gross picture.

And my high school reunion is on Saturday. And I'm not good with makeup.

Right now it's rough and dry, but not enough to slough off (which was part of my impatience). At this point I would be happy if it were smooth enough to simply cover and not have to do something about the texture...?

I've been putting Neosporin on it while wet/softened for a couple days. Am I going to have to wear a Band-Aid to work while I keep it moist?

I have pretty much every store/thing available except the ability to go to a dermatologist and have them inject me with something.

Please, please hope.
posted by St. Hubbins to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total)
I'd not cover it and leave alone. By the end of the week it should be much diminished and much more easy to cover. And whilst you know it's there unless you are extremely tall most people will not bend their heads down to look under your chin. So it is unlikely to be very noticeable, especially if you manage to leave it alone now.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:57 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]

I can't tell if you managed to get the hair out or the little kernel of white stuff that resides in the center of zits and ingrown hairs. If you did, and it's just a scab now, I imagine it should heal up and fall off within a week. You might moisturize it with your regular facial moisturizer at night while you sleep and let it dry in the day. On my skin, regular neosporin applications would cause clogged pores in the surrounding area. Touch it as little as possible! The day before the reunion, gently rub it after a shower to see if it comes off on its own. If it doesn't, leave it.

If it's still swollen and there's still stuff inside, I've had luck encouraging it to come out by grinding up an aspirin, mixing it with water to form a paste, and allowing it to dry on the area twice a day for a few days. It's a cheap salicylic acid mask available in most medicine cabinets. If your aspirins are coated, run them under water and gently rub off the coating first.
I've never used this on already broken skin though. You might also try wetting a wash cloth with hot water and holding it to the spot a few times a day to encourage any remaining stuff to come out.

If there's any scab or discolored spot left by Saturday, don't be afraid of concealer! Buy any concealer that matches your skin tone more or less at the drug store (if you don't already own some), dab on thin coats with a finger until it's mostly covered, then dab around the edges of the spot a little more with a clean finger to blend. If you still have an actual scab, you might just need to pat a little more on. The layers of concealer will fill in the ridges of the scab and smooth out its texture. For added assurance it will stay, you can dab some pressed powder on it the same way you did the concealer. In that area, even if you don't do a perfect job with the concealer, it won't be noticeable.

Finally, whatever you're left with Saturday, remember other people notice little things like that far less than you notice them in yourself.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 8:05 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]

Yes to neosporin. GENTLE is what you need to be. And for pity's sake, do not pick, scrub or even touch it any more than necessary!! By the time of your event, it's going to be much improved. As far as makeup, don't feel like you have to spackle the spot. Subtle is better. Moisturize, and do what you usually do. Gently blot concealer, very sparingly on the area, and it will blend in just fine. Play up your eyes, if you want to distract attention. But seriously, no one will notice. Keep your hands away from your face, smile, and have a wonderful time!
posted by LaBellaStella at 8:14 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]

Agree with leaving it uncovered and mostly alone. Maybe some anti-inflammatory medicine.

If you're feeling really self-conscious about it, you could consider going to Sephora on the day of - they'll do quick makeup for about anything (tell them you're looking for a new foundation and concealer combo) if you walk in, or you can have a makeover done with an appointment and if you'll committed to spending $50 on products (and it doesn't have to be anything they put on your face - they have some really great skincare options, or buy a gift for someone else). If you go the walk-in route, they may give you some samples for touch ups.
posted by honeybee413 at 8:17 AM on July 16

Tea tree oil. Put a little on a band-aid/cotton ball with tape and leave it on overnight.
posted by 8603 at 8:29 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]

Those blister bandaids (the plasticy, slightly puffy ones) can speed things along. Wear them overnight and they'll calm the blemish and promote healing. They are far superior to any other kind of bandage/cover for this sort of thing.
posted by quince at 9:05 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]

Clean it gently, pat dry, then Hydrocolloid bandage. You can cut them to size, although they also make ones for zits. Leave it alone otherwise.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:07 AM on July 16

In addition to the above, if it's still too visible for your liking by Saturday, go the mall before your reunion and stop into a Sephora or department store make-up counter. Tell them you're in the market for a concealer and ask them to show you how to apply; they'll find the right color and totally cover it up for you. You're not obligated to buy anything (but if you think this might happen again, it's worth having something on hand...!)
posted by lovableiago at 9:54 AM on July 16

HydroColloidal acne or blister bandaid. Dermatologists use these to help heal biopsy sites, surgical wounds, and ulcers. It keeps the wound moist & it will heal faster, the scab prevents the gunk in the pimple from draining so you want to keep the scab soft. Don't touch it.

These are the bomb when I've got acne or sores from picking acne to treat. But a hydro collodial blister bandaid from the drug store will do the same, I'm just into Korean skin care & these are cut to size & blend into your skin pretty well.
posted by wwax at 1:16 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]

Tea tree oil. Put a little on a band-aid/cotton ball with tape and leave it on overnight.

If you haven't used tea tree oil on your face before I wouldn't advise it. I tried applying it a couple of times and it made the spot swell up. It eventually healed but for about 3 days it looked like I had an abscess on my cheek. A GP later told me that it is reasonably common to find tea tree oil by itself too harsh for the skin. I don't get similar reactions from other substances, though I do use them more cautiously now.
posted by tavegyl at 6:00 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]

The primary reason to put a band-aid or other covering on it is not to keep it moist but to keep your picking fingers OFF IT! If you can just not touch the scab between now and... say, Friday, possibly Thursday, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
posted by aimedwander at 7:34 AM on July 17

I had a leftover "help, I have a blister" pack from an airport, so I put a clear colloidal patch on it last night. Seemed to look a little better today - now mainly a white scar with a little darkness around it - so I sucked it up and put a small one on before I went to work. Because it's not a Band-Aid and doesn't have an absorbent spot in the middle, it's (hopefully) not too noticeable.

Most importantly, as mentioned, it is keeping my stupid grubby fingers away from it. I do keep pressing on it a bit out of habit, but that's probably fine considering I was once told to do something similar to break up scar tissue on a giant surgical scar.

So... I am cautiously optimistic! If it is at least flat and not dry, I'll be happy.

Thank you!
posted by St. Hubbins at 11:06 AM on July 17

My friend and fellow mefite Likeso recommends snail gel for this purpose. Apparently there's actual science being done to investigate its regenerative properties.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 5:58 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Yep, snail gel. Heals stuff, quickly.
Korean skin product, used mainly as a moisturizer. It's a clear gel, slightly tacky before it dries, does not smell.

Miracle goo.
posted by likeso at 1:32 AM on July 20

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