You wake up in the morning to see that, overnight, your face has
decided to clog up one of its pores, resulting in an unsightly blemish
that is threatening to ruin your day. Now you have to MacGyver up some
sort of concealer miracle to make it disappear while attempting to
distract attention away from your face by wearing really big earrings.
Been there, done that.
Breakouts can affect you whether you're 16 or 46. They are,
unfortunately, not ageist. Fluctuations in hormones are the culprit,
though not cleansing your skin properly can also add to an increase in
zit-causing bacteria buildup.
Luckily, there are options galore to treat blemishes and ward off
future breakouts, such as spot treatments, which are designed to target
specific areas of your face and deliver fast skin-clearing results. For
best results, apply a spot treatment, in the morning and at night, on
the blemished areas of your skin after washing your face.
Two Key Ingredients
Joshua Zeichner, M.D., fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology,
recommends looking for products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
in them, which can help dry out overly oily skin and kill bacteria.
Clean Start by Dermalogica Hit the Spot uses a concentrated formula of benzoyl peroxide to blast away
bacteria and clear up blemishes fast. Apply every six to eight hours until your breakout clears.
Meanwhile, the aptly named Bye Bye Blemish Drying Lotion utilizes salicylic acid to shrink blemishes. But take the "drying" part of the name seriously and only apply it once a day.
Conceal and Heal
Worried about applying makeup on top of blemishes? Dr. Zeichner says
it's OK. "In general, I recommend mineral-based makeup because it does
not clog pores. You can also try tinted moisturizers to even the
appearance of skin tone."
Neutrogena's On the Spot Acne Treatment delivers just that—a lightly tinted formula that helps to hide the
redness of your blemish while eradicating it with the help of benzoyl
Some spot treatments contain sulfur as their active ingredient. "Sulfur
kills bacteria and helps decrease inflammation," says Dr. Zeichner.
This combination is a breakout's worst enemy. Try University Medical Acne Free Therapeutic Sulfur Mask.
In addition to sulfur, it also contains vitamin C, copper, zinc and
meadowsweet to refine your skin's texture and minimize pores. Just
don't freak out at the color change—the mask will turn light blue when
it's ready to be rinsed off.