Pimples, who needs ’em?
Bloody no one.
Alas, they’re an unavoidable part of life (thanks for the warning, absolutely no one), but we’ll be damned if we let them take anything away from us, especially our confidence.
So here’s a lesson on dealing with breakouts; whether it’s a giant under-the-skin mother effer, a region of little mounds, or those terribly tempting white heads. Good luck.
1. DRY IT OUT
OK, so assuming you’ve cleansed your skin and haven’t picked, prodded, squeezed or gone full Tarantino on your pimple, apply a purifying charcoal or clay-based mask to draw out the dirt bag. Both dry out the area by absorbing impurities and moisture, so you really only need to apply these to your T-zone or wherever your spots are sprouting from. Leave until completely dry, usually 10 minutes.
2. SPOT TREATMENT
After you’ve washed off the masque, if all has gone to plan, your skin should feel a lot less inflamed and irritated. Some white heads might even come to the surface – nice! The others are on their way. Now, instead of trying to pop your zit – GROSS, but intensely satisfying – apply a killer spot treatment to knock it down once and for all.
FYI: Treatments usually go on AFTER cleansing and BEFORE your moisturiser so they don’t have as much work cut out for them.
Look for the following active ingredients:
…is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid), aka a chemical exfoliant that penetrates deep into the pore to remove dead skin cells that might be clogging it up. It’s great on blackheads and blind pimples.
Bonus tip: Continue using your salicylic treatment on breakouts after they’ve cleared to remove any traces of bacteria left in the pore that might cause the pimple to reappear.
…is a vigilante that kills pimple-causing bacteria and bleaches your clothes. It’s effective on milder acne, especially whiteheads and pimples that have already come to a head. Always start with the lightest concentration as Benny P as it can be too drying for sensitive skin types and increase sun sensitivity.
NATURAL SPOT TREATMENTS
If you’d prefer to go the natural route, forget toothpaste. Instead, try tea tree, witch hazel and AHAs (natural exfoliants) including glycolic and critic acid, which can help with unblocking pores and tend to be more gentle on the skin.
A FEW GOOD YESES: YES, after treatment the blemish may peel. YES, the spot may dry out. YES, your makeup (including concealer) might not sit as nicely on the spot while this is all happening. And YES, you should absolutely wear sunscreen all the time.
You should also be moisturising your skin evangelically after applying an acne treatment – leave a minute in between. Don’t be afraid of an excellently moisturised face. This isexactly what you should be doing so your skin doesn’t dry out and produce even more sebum to overcompensate. If your skin is acne-prone all the friggin time (we feel you), go for something containing a small concentration of salicylic acid, that’s both lightweight and oil-free.
A touching, final note: If you feel like all is failing you and your breakouts are in still in full blossom (arghh!), it’s definitely worth paying your GP a visit. (This beauty editor has been in your shoes.) Your GP will be able determine exactly what’s going on (diet, hormones, bacterial infection, environmental aggressors, etc), and prescribe the right over-the-counter treatments to sort out this bull zit once and for all.