When one pesky pimple turns into a full-fledged breakout, it’s easy to want to take matters into your own hands — literally. From oh-so-satisfying (but damaging!) pimple popping to over-exfoliating the troubled area, chances are your efforts might be causing more harm than good. Read on to learn about five common mistakes to avoid when a dreaded bump shows up.

Mistake #1: Popping Your Pimples: This is the most common mistake people make when it comes to zits, according to New York City-based dermatologist Sejal Shah. “When you pop a pimple, you are forcefully pushing the bacteria, oil, and debris of the acne bump out, which is very damaging to the skin because it basically tears it up,” she says. The best thing to do — even though it may be difficult — is to let the breakout run its course and focus your efforts on post-inflammation healing.

Mistake #2: Using Overly Harsh Products: Just because a treatment has a higher concentration of active ingredients doesn’t necessarily make it a quicker solution. “There is data that shows that 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide is as effective as 10 percent, but without the irritation,” Shah explains.

Mistake #3: Suddenly Changing Your Diet: FYI, your overall food intake isn’t usually the clogged pore culprit. “Avoid drastic elimination diets for the purpose of clearing acne flares,” recommends San Francisco-based dermatologist Lavanya Krishnan. “You should be following a healthy, balanced diet for your general health, and drastic elimination diets can not only be unhealthy, but also unlikely to help clear your complexion.”

Mistake #4: Expecting Instant Results: Our skin is constantly changing because of weather, environmental factors, hormones, and day-to-day exposure to makeup products, so when our faces freak, it’s important to understand when you will see clear results. “Expecting the skin to show results immediately after treating a breakout isn’t realistic,” San Francisco-based celebrity esthetician Angelina Umansky, who works with Michelle Pfeiffer, tells us. “It takes time — usually, at least one month — to regulate the skin, so be patient!”

Mistake #5: Using Pore-Clogging Makeup: If you’re dealing with consistent, seemingly untreatable acne, your makeup might be the problem. “I see a lot of clients who are upset about their breakouts but still wear makeup that clogs their pores and is terrible for their skin,” Umansky says. “Switch to a gentle mineral option instead.” Or consider products that are oil-free or non-comedogenic.

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