A blemish can be described as a discolored area or a mark on the skin, generally caused by the outbreak of acne. Of course, there are several other types of blemishes too, which cannot be blamed on acne. There are some blemishes that people are born with, like birthmarks or port-wine stains. However, you may notice other common forms of blemishes too, such as environmental factors, use of certain medication, hormonal imbalances and so on. You could also get a blemish because of using certain products, like bleach, on your skin. As you get older, you could also notice the appearance of age spots, which are a type of blemish on the skin. Some of the other common types of blemishes on the skin include liver spots, sun spots, skin tags, freckles and moles. Blemishes appear in various sizes; some of them can be fairly big, covering a larger part of the skin.

Contrary to the common belief, people from all races and nationalities can get blemishes. While both men and women can suffer from blemishes, this skin problem is a lot more common in women. This could be because a woman’s body goes through more hormonal changes as she enters adulthood or approaches menopause. It is also very common for women to develop blemishes during the course of pregnancy, because of all the hormonal fluctuations they go through. There are many medications that can help lighten the blemishes caused by hormonal factors. Doctors usually advise women to take anti-androgens and oral contraceptives to deal with this problem. Men on the other hand are asked to take oral corticosteroids to get rid of blemishes.

Very often, the word “blemish” is used while referring to a pimple. While these words are often used synonymously, they are not necessarily the same. At times, blemishes are caused by the same factors as acne; blemishes also often occur because of acne problems. However, there are many other types of blemishes that are not related to acne in any way. Another major difference between the two is that while acne is more common in teenagers and young adults, blemishes can affect just about anyone and are indeed more common in older people.

The treatment of blemishes is not always the same as acne and therefore, it is important to identify if you suffer from acne problems or a skin blemish, before trying any topical cream medication or home remedy to treat the problem. To do this, you may need to visit a skin specialist.

Symptoms of Blemishes

In many instances, a blemish is actually a symptom of an infection or an inflammation on the skin. Nevertheless, it is possible to see symptoms for blemishes too, some of which include:

  • Appearance of elevations and bumps, filled with pus, mainly on the facial area
  • Pustules that are painful and stretched
  • Skin discolorations that occur mainly during the winter or at springtime
  • Brown or dark patches that appear on the skin
  • Changes in the texture of the skin, as certain patches feel rough to the touch
  • Additional dryness or itchiness in the area that is affected by a blemish.

It is not necessary that all these symptoms appear in case of a blemish. Some individuals experience all these symptoms but you may notice nothing more than brown or dark-colored spots on your skin.

Causes of Blemishes

There are several different causes of blemishes, the most common one being the activity of hormones in the body. An excess of certain hormones can stimulate the sebaceous glands, causing them to produce an extra amount of oil. When this excess oil mixes with the dead skin cells, it clogs the pores and hair follicles on your skin. In case the dead skin is not shed in a proper way, they could cause bacteria to grow within the pores. Therefore, in case you are suffering from any form of hormonal imbalance, for any reason, you are more likely to notice symptoms like appearance of dark spots on your skin. Women who are going through pregnancy often notice blemishes on their face, mainly because of all the different hormonal fluctuations that take place within their bodies.

There are other causes for blemishes too, apart from an imbalance of hormones in the body. However, these causes may vary, based on the types of blemishes that affect the skin. Given below are some of the most common causes for blemishes:

  • Age: As you grow older, there are several changes that your body goes through and unfortunately, not all of them are positive. As the overall functioning of certain organs gets adversely affected, visible symptoms may be evident in the form of dark spots on the skin. Several people notice overall darkening on large patches of the skin
  • Exposure to Sun: The harsh rays of the sun can increase the production of melanin in the body. Melanin is the main hormone that darkens the color of the skin. The ultraviolet rays of the sun could also lead to a significant amount of damage on the skin, which could lead to dark patches or spots on the skin
  • Cosmetics: The use of cosmetics cause the skin pores to get blocked, which in turn can lead to marks and discolorations on the skin.
  • Chemicals: There are several harmful chemicals present in the environment, which could have an adverse effect on your health, including your skin. These chemicals could also cause your skin to darken in patches, causing blemishes. It is not just chemicals in the air that lead to blemishes, but also the chemicals that are present in most detergents, soaps, deodorants, and so on.
  • Skin Conditions: There are several skin related problems that could lead to a blemish. Acne and eczema are two of the most common conditions that lead to skin blemishes.
  • Genetic Factors: You are more likely to notice the appearance of blemishes on your face or other parts of your body, in case any of your parents are prone to this problem.

There are many claims that foods like chocolate could also lead to blemishes on the skin. However, there are no clinical studies to prove the claim.

Remedies for Blemishes

Blemishes can be a major source of embarrassment prompting people to seek medical advice and treatment. Consult a dermatologist for tropical creams or ointments to lighten the blemishes. You could also take several steps at home, to prevent the occurrence of blemishes on your skin. Alternately, you could use home remedies for treating blemishes, so that they disappear at a faster rate. Given below are some of the most highly recommended home remedies for skin blemishes:

  • Place a few potato slices on the affected part of the skin and leave them on for a couple of minutes, to reduce pigmentation problems. This can make you skin appear less patchy.
  • Soak a few almonds in a bowl of water all night long and grind them to a fine paste the next morning, after peeling them. Add a small amount of milk to the ground almond paste and apply it on to the affected skin overnight. In the morning, the paste should be washed off with cold water. It usually takes around 2 weeks or so, for this remedy to yield the desired results
  • Dab a bit of honey over the darkened area of the skin and cover it with a bandage. Leave the honey on overnight and then wash it off with some cool water to make the skin lighter naturally. If this does not work, read one of the Eve Lom reviews online as they have a product called DynaSpot that can reduce discoloration.
  • Grind some mint leaves and apply the paste all over the affected skin, leaving it on for twenty minutes or so. Wash off the mint paste with cold water, after around 20 minutes or so.

Diet for Blemishes

There is no specific diet that you need to follow, in order to deal with blemishes on your skin. However, it is a well-known fact that a nutritious diet, i.e., an eating plan, high in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients has a positive impact on all the parts of your body, which includes your skin. It is best for you to follow a well-balanced and healthy diet at all times. You need to consume a high amount of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals, pulses, lean meat and dairy products.

It is also advisable to avoid foods that are high in fat and oil, as they may increase the secretion of oil on your skin. Other foods that you should stay away from include red meat, junk food, processed food, sweets and sugary items.

Water helps flush out toxins accumulated in your body and at the same time, it keeps your skin hydrated from within. This reduces the risks of spots, dryness and discoloration.

Suggestions for Blemishes

While there are several ways in which blemishes can be reduced, it is best to prevent them from occurring completely. Given below are a few suggestions and tips that can help to keep the blemishes away:

  • Strict sanitary measures: Wash your hands before touching any part of your face, so that bacteria do not enter the facial hair follicles. Also make sure that you cleanse your face every day, before going to sleep. Stay away from harsh skincare products as they can worsen the problem. Use a mild face wash for this purpose.
  • Follow a skincare routine: It is important to use a cleanser to get rid of any bacteria on the skin at least twice a day. Make sure that the cleanser you use is mild and natural and does not strip your skin of its natural oils. It is best to consult a professional before you choose any product.
  • Exfoliation: Use a good scrub to get rid of the dead skin cells that are left on to your skin. However, while exfoliating your skin, you need to make sure that you are gentle about it, or else you could cause more damage.
  • Protecting your skin: In case you spend a lot of time in the sun, it is important that you keep your skin well protected. You could either wear clothes that cover your skin or you could apply a good sunblock for this purpose.

Blemishes - Frequently asked questions