The Skin Coach: How to Stop Picking Your Face

"The Skin Coach" column is written by Kimmy Williams, owner of Acqua e Sapone, a skin clinic in San Francisco. 

The act of picking, digging, or scraping our skin, also known as Acne Excoriee, can be an intentional attempt to get rid of a blemish or a compulsive addiction. Whether you are an intentional picker or a compulsive one, the result tends to be the same and can include a combination of unsightly scabbing, infection, scarring, and inevitably, guilt. The next time the urge comes up to gauge at your face, here are a few practical tips to save your skin from yourself:

1. Don’t examine yourself.

Spending hours in the mirror inspecting every pore on your face usually triggers an urge to pick that most of us cannot resist. To prevent this vicious cycle from occurring in the first place, avoid examining your face in the mirror.  

2. Breathe and count.

If you didn’t follow the first tip and end up spotting a blemish that you feel the need to pick at, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Count each round of an inhale and an exhale as one. This will force you to learn how to tolerate the urge and also to take a pause to think about it instead of impulsively acting on it.

3. Throw out the magnifying mirror.

There couldn’t be a more dangerous tool for a picker than a magnifying mirror. If you have to look in a magnifying mirror to notice a "blemish," chances are that no one else can see it. If you have a magnifying mirror and feel like you can’t resist having it around without potentially picking, throw it out or give it to someone else.

The Skin Coach: Makeup Picks for Acne-Prone Skin

The Skin Coach is a monthly column by San Francisco esthetician and skin specialist Kimmy Williams of Acqua e Sapone Aesthetics

If you’ve ever tried to cover up a face full of blemishes, you know how hard it is to find makeup that gives good coverage without making your acne worse. In an effort to smooth over those pesky pimples, most of us choose thick, heavy makeup at the risk of clogging pores even further. So what’s a girl to do? Have no fear, I have done all the work for you and these tried and true makeup picks will have you covered:

Colorescience Pressed Mineral Foundation

This has been my one and only makeup since I was a spotty 21-year-old. Fast forward six years later and zits are few and far between, but my Colorescience compact has stayed constant. This product provides enough coverage to hide even the reddest of spots but never feels heavy or greasy. My mornings are always a rush but I don't have to worry about scheduling hours in the mirror trying to make sure the application is smooth because it's as easy as taking your makeup brush and applying.

Alima Pure Blush

I started using Alima Pure Blush for its clean list of ingredients that are acne-safe and free of chemicals. Whether you prefer a light peachy sheen with a hint of shimmer or a matte pink flush, there are a wide range of colors to choose from and all of them blend beautifully. The $20 price tag is reasonable but you can purchase sample sizes for $1.75 to make sure you find the perfect shade.

Peacekeeper Lip Gloss

My Peacekeeper Cause-metics Lipgloss became my favorite because it's a non-comedogenic option for a pretty pout without the sticky mess, but it's stayed my favorite because part of my purchase helps support women's rights issues. For $10 to $12, you can choose from a variety of shades and a portion of the proceeds will help make a difference in the lives of women around the world.