Anytime a pimple pops up out of nowhere it totally ruins your day—especially if it's right before a big date. Want clear skin 24/7? We do, too! We asked two top dermatologists to weigh in on how to keep your complexion looking its best 365 days a year.
Since acne is caused by oil and bacteria that you need to keep from brewing into a blemish, prevention is key. On a daily basis, use an oil-free face wash that contains salicylic acid, like Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Cleanser, $20, Yahoo! Shopping.
"Salicylic acid is anti-bacterial and helps exfoliate away dead skin cells, which can clog your pores," says Gervaise Gerstner, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City.
Use a Facial Brush
Hand-held facial brushes can also degrease skin, leaving less oil and bacteria behind, says Gerstner. The rotating brush head on this one—Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System, starting at $25, Yahoo! Shopping—also helps loosen up clogged pores.
Apply an Oil-Free SPF
Slather on an oil- and fragrance-free SPF, since oil can further clog pores and scented products can irritate your skin and lead to breakouts. We like Doctor T's Supergoop SPF 30+ Everyday UV Face & Body Moisturizing Sun Protection Lotion, $14, supergoop.com.
Reach for the
Pick up a foundation that's oil-free and contains salicylic acid, like Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup, $10, amazon.com, to keep your base makeup from contributing to new pimples.
When new pimples pop up, hit them with benzoyl peroxide ASAP.
The quicker you get to them with this antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ingredient, the faster the zit will vanish. "Just don't use it for more than a week at a time," says Doris Day, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City and author of 100 Questions & Answers About Acne.
Try Bremenn Research Labs Emergency Zit Stick Acne Treatment, 4 sticks for $84, amazon.com.
Get the Red Out
If you're dealing with a bright red blemish, turn to a hydrocortisone cream, like Cortizone-10 Intensive Healing Formula, starting at $7, Yahoo! Shopping, which helps relieve redness and inflammation.
After you top your zit with benzoyl peroxide, apply this over top to bring down the swelling and redness, adds Day. "You can also bring down the swelling by holding an ice pack against the trouble spot," notes Gerstner, "then continue with the hydrocortisone cream."
Top Your Zit With Toothpaste
In a pinch, top your blemish with a white opaque toothpaste, like Colgate Optic White Toothpaste, starting at $6, Yahoo! Shopping. The formula helps dry out zits by morning.
Correct Your Mistakes
What's worse than acne? An acne scar.
First things first: Don't pick your face when you have a pimple! It will only result in a scar that you'll later have to lighten with a bleaching agent or get zapped with a laser to remove it. We get it though. Picking happens. If the damage is already done and you have a blemish battle wound, apply a hydroquinone cream to the area to help lighten the spot, says Gerstner.
We like Proactiv Dark Spot Corrector, $22, discoverproactiv.com.
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