November 29, 2008

Zits

We've all had 'em, at least once in our life. Probably as a teenager, when the hormonal changes of puberty combined with a teenager's diet of greasy fast food, junk food, and soda.

From a strict medical standpoint, it's a blockage of a skin pore, resulting in an accumulation of sebum from the sebaceous gland, engorging the pore until it is tender, swollen, and red. Sometimes they go away on their own, sometimes you gotta "pop" them. This can be painful.

Really painful, depending on the location of the pimple.

Those pimples on your chin generally don't hurt too much. You grab a warm, moist washcloth, let it sit on the zit for a few minutes, and then, using firm pressure from the index fingers of each hand, apply counter-directional pressure on either side of the offending zit. If the zit has formed a head, it's an easy pop.

The disgusting part, though, is the cleanup. Sometimes, you don't get that explosive release of pus, and it dribbles down your cheek, forcing you to wipe it off with a bit of tissue. If that's the case, you generally get a slow seepage of pus and blood and clear fluid, a toxic stew of bacteria and icky stuff that never seems to stop. Fixing a dripping faucet seems like child's play compared to stopping the leakage that flows from a weak-force zit popping.

Other times, though, the pressure in the pore has built up enough that when you squeeze, the explosion rivals the eruption of Mt. Saint Helen, spewing it's contents far across the bathroom vanity, ending up on the mirror. This requires a whole new approach to clean-up, for a simple swipe with a tissue will only result in a streak of gunk across the mirror. Now you're relegated to digging out the Windex, and giving the mirror a good wipe down.

Other zits are more problematic. And painful.

Like the ones that form right at the base of your nostrils. The problem here is one of spatial relationships. Like trying to fit five quarts of milk in a one gallon jug, you just can't fit both index fingers into your nose at the same time. Well, not on the SAME SIDE, anyway. Thus, you end up pushing up the tip of your nose, giving you the appearance of Ned Beatty in Deliverance ("Squeal like a pig!") while you try to get the offending zit to pop. When it does, the tenderness of the release is enough to bring a tear to your eye. Not all out crying, mind you, but just a bit of a tear the way you do at the end of "Old Yeller" when the kid has to shoot his own dog.

More problematic still are zits that form on your back. Unless you're double jointed, have a history of gleno-humeral subluxations, or can deftly manipulate a pair of pliers and a mirror, back zits require outside help. Now, being a single man most of my life, I'm certainly not qualified to give relationship advice, but I will posit that nothing, and I mean nothing, cements a relationship like asking your significant to pop a back zit on your behalf. Fortunately, the back has the widest spacing between nerve endings of any body part, and thus back zits generally don't hurt as much. Generally.

Armpit zits: Boy, howdy do these hurt. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being a hangnail and 10 being the pain endured when your wife forces you to attend a live showing of "The View," armpit zits rank a solid 7, with tears on par with how you felt watching the first football game after 9-11, and they played the Star Spangled Banner. Naturally, these become a one-handed operation, and the more hair one has in his armpit, the more difficult it can be to ascertain the exact location of the head of the zit. Anecdotally speaking, one can squeeze five or six times in the general proximity, getting nothing but a searing pain that shoots all the way to the spinal nerve root, before ever actually popping the pimple. Worse yet, the warm, moist, and dark environment that is the armpit makes for ideal conditions for re-zitification (I don't know if that's a word, but it is now. Copyright 2008, all rights reserved.)

Scrotal sac zits. Uuugh. 11 on the 10 scale, and I don't care WHAT the nurses and doctors think about how "You can't have 11/10 pain." Listen, lady.... until you grow a scrotum and have to pop a zit that developed on it, don't tell me what kind of pain I can't have. I would rather shove ice picks under my fingernails, rip out my intestines with a rusty fork and pour salt on the open wound, then do a double backflip with a half twist into a swimming pool filled with double-edged razor blades than to EVER pop a zit on my scrotum. Oh, how the tears will flow: As if you've shoved dried poblano peppers up your nose before dicing seven onions while listening to Anne Murray's Greatest Hits CD.... for the fifth time. Without beer.

Yep, zits ain't no fun at all. And when you're damn near 40, you shouldn't be getting them anymore. Damn sure not at the base of the nose, right near my left nostril.

Grrrrr.

13 comments:

CrankyProf said...

You need to go visit "Pop that zit."

MiniKat said...

Found you via AD. You forgot penile zits... according to the resident husband, those are a 15/10.

Jean Poole said...

Niacin & Fishoil supplements. The zits go away (all over) and skin look 15 years younger. I found this by accident whilst suppliemnting the 1 x 20 mg simvastatin I take daily. Three months later youthful clear skin and 100 points lower on the LDL.

Get the standard kind rather than the no flush and you Will feel it working .... i say no more, 'cept that this whacks triglycerides too.

Jedi Master Daryl said...

Hmmm... sorry, I don't agree with your pain scale. There are much more painful things in life than zits in bad places. And popping zits doesn't hurt for more than a few seconds. God I feel for patients with intractible pain. Anyway, why do you pop them? If you leave them alone, most of them eventually resolve on their own.

Sabra said...

Ah, fond memories of popping the ex's back zits...I really need to get a life.

jGrrl said...

Eww eww eww! I had one inside my damn ear and it was nasty! It finally broke and it was the most disgusting mess I have EVER seen!

Awesome blog by the way, you had me at your header...

take care!

Denise said...

I agree completely about the ear zits. Not only are they hard to pop and painful, but you can hear it. Ack!!

Samala Ray said...

One word:
Intralabial...

phlegmfatale said...

I am in awe. And I'll never forgive Cranky for telling me about "pop that zit"

Ambulance Mommy said...

Found you through AD. Hilarious post! I have to say, the back zit popping ritual is a serious thing in our house....my husband puts up with my love of gore and nastiness by occasionally allowing me to go to town on his back. It RULES! :)

Intubate Em!!! said...

Sooo gross!!!

Dixie Amazon said...

Yeah, when you are a teen people say you will grow out of it. They Lie!

flander said...

I found your article very interesting as the only person who ever discuss zit popping with me are my brother and father. I agree with most of your article. However, I must disagree a bit with the part about the back. I find those more painful then you describe, especially the ones that are on your lower back and towards the side of your back. I would probably rate those on your scale a 6. I also don't have too much of a problem getting to them, of course I'm a bit younger and am a little more flexible as of this point.

One interesting thing I love to do is to put some type of target on the mirror. If you have siblings or roomates you can compete. Also compete for distance, of course, it means more clean up.