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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Column: Simply a pimple

There it was. A perfect circle smack on the center of my right cheek. A lump of glowing redness popping out of an otherwise smooth (and contrastingly pale) surface. My first-ever real (aka noticeable) pimple had sprouted.

I woke up, stared at the bathroom mirror and my eyes popped out as far as they would ever go. If only the darn pimple could pop along with them.

An episode of “Animaniacs” from the days when after-school cartoons still played on Kids’ WB! immediately came to mind. In the episode, a teenage girl (aka “Katie Ka-Boom”) looks into the mirror only to notice a swollen pimple plopped on her face. This then causes her to turn into a raging, green beast that tramples all over town.

The only thing stopping me from turning into that raging, green beast was the fear that doing so would cause my pimple to expand in proportion.

Instead, I stood there blaming my sudden eruption of glowing redness on recent weeks of spiked stress – and also me jinxing my clear skin as I had previously called growing pimples a blessing in disguise.

As I gouged slices of greasy garlic bread and Buffalo wings, I debated in my mind how I even got the pimple. Surely it couldn’t have been just the stress and jinx. But after the sixth piece or so, a thought sank in: Maybe mom was right – maybe my unhealthy eating had consequences that even years of amazing tolerance couldn’t override.

All the stacked plates of DC food, the midnight pizza runs and the carts of frozen Hot Pockets last year have finally caught up to me (pimple-wise, at least). But how could I help it?

Of course, there are effective ways to solve pimple dilemmas, but they just don’t necessarily include healthier eating. As a college student, I don’t think the majority of us really eat healthy – or at least not as healthy as when our mothers used to feed us (thank God for school breaks). I mean, frozen food equates to a gourmet meal these days. There’s nothing more gourmet than popping an entire dish into the microwave.

Lacking a proper sleeping schedule might be a problem, too. It’s not really possible when people are either staying up late to study or party. Plus, the daily nine hours would just take up too much time.

Basically, I needed some quicker solutions. As we all know, whenever you need an answer, the first thing to do is refer to Google.

After typing the word “pimple” into the search box, one of the suggestions was “pimple and toothpaste.” I had heard before about this simple and cost-free solution. After one look at a “pimple and toothpaste” forum I was hooked. All you have to do is dab bits of toothpaste on each pimple before you sleep and – voila – in the morning, the pimples will have magically disappeared.

Apparently, toothpaste is some miracle cream. A girl on the forum was saying that she uses toothpaste as a facemask because, well, she has pimples all over her face. She said her face comes out in pristine quality in the morning.

I was relieved that I didn’t have to use an entire tube of toothpaste on my skin. I figured I could handle a tiny dab. That is, until I scrolled down and read “not for sensitive skin” – which meant “definitely not for me.” Standing directly under sunlight for 10 minutes can cause massive sunburn for me.

A couple of other options included purchasing Proactiv – the ads that get crammed into my bag when I buy textbooks from the bookstore were finally starting to look convincing. For a split second, I considered purchasing the anti-acne treatment. I then realized that by doing so, I would be admitting that my pimple is soon to be a long-term condition. That’s something I wasn’t willing to admit.

Another solution I tried was slapping a Band-Aid on the pimple because that’s what my grandma used to do. All you have to do is cut the sticky part of the Band-Aid off and paste it on your pimple overnight. Similarly to the toothpaste, this was also supposed to be a panacea. Also similar to the toothpaste technique: My skin was yet again too sensitive for it.

My final solution (and, hopefully, one that I’ll actually go through with) occurred to me when a friend called and asked if I wanted to go to the ARC with her. To me, working out equals sweating. Sweating equals cleansing, and then cleansing equals no more pimples. It’s a win-win situation – and I don’t have to stick any toothpaste or Band-Aid on my skin.

All I have to do is stick to the plan. Surely, if Bruce Springsteen can meet his life-long mistress through a gym, then I can get rid of a pimple by gyming it out.

TIFFANY LEW thinks getting pimples might not actually be that big of a big deal. However, it is when you’re sprouting your first one at 20 and (hopefully) done with puberty. E-mail her any tips at tjlew@ucdavis.edu.

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