Popping the Spot on the Danger Zone
In a world where vanity is advertised, we are overwhelmed by the want to look perfect. We resort to sorts of treatment just to look like the next top model. But while worrying about beauty on the surface, the dangers that await us lay skin deep. Find out how a zit can be lethal.
Let’s be honest. Who out there doesn’t get tempted to pick acne off the most visible part of the face? However, if you are worried about having to walk around with a zit on your nose, getting rid of it should be the least of your problems. Out of curiosity, I asked people around if they ever developed the habit of picking pimples. These three were the reasons that went with the answer YES;
- Yes, it is a bad habit to break. This comes from highly self-conscious people, especially the young and adolescent. In today’s society, even the prepubescents are wont to battle the threats of facial disfiguration. Meaning, the more “photoshopped” their faces look, the better.
- Yes, accidentally. Sometimes, this is an excuse. Mostly, however, we couldn’t help it if the zit is within the range of our normal body movements. It can be anything from blowing the nose, wiping the face, biting the upper lip – and before you know it, you’ve left a gaping pore on your face.
- Yes, it was an old habit until something worse than a pimple happened. This is where you’ll stop and consider before squeezing out that ugly pustule.
The Danger Triangle of the Face
As I have asked around, I realized that not everyone knows about the “no-no” zone of the face. It seems that most of us are more familiar with the T-Zone. The T-Zone is the area of the face that produces the most oils. It forms the letter T with the horizontal line going across the forehead and the vertical line going down the bridge of the nose. Now remove that horizontal line. Start from the top of the nose bridge and forming a triangle, towards the corners of your mouth – this is the “Danger Triangle of the Face”. 1
The reality here is that we are too focused on caring for what is immediately seen. This is so because we have more knowledge about the T-Zone and how to take care of it than the Danger Triangle. We all know how the T-area is often the most susceptible to white heads, black heads, breakouts, redness or sunburn yet we do not seem to actually be worried about the risks happening under the skin.
The Danger Triangle is a guide where even the slightest spot must not be touched, ideally. Just imagine yourself walking over inverted land mines – the triangle being the area where the mines are planted. Anything that touches the triangle and goes “kaboom” produces a mighty implosion underneath the skin. You wouldn’t even know what happened until the effects come to the surface.
The Science Behind The Spot
Dr. Martin Spiller, DMD tells us about a mere tooth problem that became a Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis. In layman’s terms, it is the presence of a blood clot (or clots, if you are ‘lucky’) in the cavernous sinus. The cavernous sinus is a small area in the human skull that houses important nerves for the movement and sensations of the eyes and the areas of the mouth. Bordered by the temporal and sphenoid bones is a network of thin-walled veins that makes up the cavernous sinus. 2
Going back to the ache in the upper teeth, the threat became an abscess, which became thrombus, and which eventually became a hysterical facial mess. What kind of mess? Your eyes spilling out of your swollen sockets, enlarged nose and deformed cheeks are the likely damages if you are “fortunate” not to be dead.
The danger comes from the fact that the middle part of the face has veins outside and inside the skull that communicate with each other. These veins are valve-less, which allows a reverse draining system so the blood flows back to the parts of the brain. Therefore, if you had a pimple and popped it open to inadvertently invite bacterial contamination, you can only imagine where else the infection can possibly go to. The possible dangers could could be as simple as a headache, eye problem, and fever. From there, more serious afflictions could develop such as sepsis and muscle paralysis. All these complications could lead to the worst-case scenario – death. If diagnosed at an early staged, infections could be treated with intravenous antibiotics in high doses.
On-the-SPOT Treatment (What you could do instead)
- Use petroleum jelly. Some skin specialists advice the use of petroleum jelly or mineral oil from petroleum. Although you can just imagine how that will add more grease to an already oily skin, there is no study that shows that it promotes acne growth. Skin health experts have seen how petroleum jelly has induced acne in some cases but not generally. So if you have a readily acne-prone skin, you might want to avoid cosmetics rich in petroleum-based content. 3
- Cover up. If you don’t feel like showing around a nose red enough to match that of a Christmas reindeer, you can neutralize. You can find this kind of help from an oil-free, hypoallergenic concealer. This cosmetic is a very reliable cover-up makeup, which is also a spot treatment for pimples as its active ingredient is sulphur. Some variants of the cosmetic even exfoliate and reduces oiliness. Naturally, you have to blend it well to your skin color. You don’t want to do a haphazard daub that will make the zit even more obvious later on especially under the sun’s heat. More importantly, find a good brand that you can rely on without having to risk any skin aggravation.
- If you ask me – don’t touch it! For most women who aren’t prone to acne, breakouts usually happen within the menstrual cycle. For both men and women, it can occur during times of stress. If unavoidable, allow that slight imperfection on your face once in a while. Let it take its due course to mature and dry off and before you know it, it’s gone. This also goes for anyone who is heavily burned with facial acne. No matter how thoughtfully invented, anything applied to your skin for cure can enter the danger triangle, into your blood stream and into your brain.
With or without the spot problem, remember to always be tidy. Make sure your hands are clean when dealing with facial hygiene especially around the danger triangle. If you have any skin problems, consult a good skin health professional. They can also help to remind you that something so little as a zit can also cause something as lethal as death.