Oh acne, how I hate you, let me count the ways....red dot one, red dot two...urgh! Did you know that 3/4 of women suffer from ance breakouts?!
Acne is so frustrating, but to treat it, we first have to understand why we get acne. The basics: acne is caused when oil secrets from glands and needs to come out of pores, which also share a home with hair follicles. Hair and dead skin trap that oil and it causes breakouts! YUCK!
Whether they are in the form of blackheads or blemishes, both of them aren't fun! What can you do to fight these breakouts? Well, they are nearly always a bacteria infection, so dermatologist suggest you treat them as such. There are over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that work, as well as prescription meds that your dermatologist can recommend for persistent acne. But for hormonal and occasional breakouts, here is how you can fight them!
Benzoyl Peroxide - this 5% topical treatment is good for established blemishes, not blackheads. It kills the bacteria that resides in a blemish and can help reduce the duration and severity of the blemish. Apply directly to the blemish (and not in widespread areas) at least once per day
TIP: most products sold in the isles of grocery stores and drug stores are going to be 2.5%, talk to the pharmacist at the counter about getting a 5% solution!
Salicylic Acid - this ingredient is totally going to be your anti-breakout bestie! This acid (originally naturally derived from willow bark, so its available in organic and all natural forms!) actually dissolves pore clogging backup, so its best used ALL over and DAILY. This is a common ingredient, even sometimes found in makeup! I prefer using it in face/body wash and then in only one lotion-based product, like moisturizer. If you overload on it, it can cause dry flaky skin. I really like these products:
Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Line (the grapefruit based one smells great!)
Vichy Normaderm Acne Solutions Moisturizer (Ulta)
Sulfur - yes, sulfur! That smelly stuff has been used for centuries to dry out and de-clog pores! This solid yellow substance is ground up fine into powder makeup
and can be dabbed onto affected areas to instantly reduce redness & swelling!
I am a fan of Mario Baduscu's Sulfur Powder (Ulta, Sephora)
apply with a concealer brush for more precise application. Leave the area powdery, it will absorb within 20 minutes.
Additional Tips for Preventing Acne Breakouts:
1. Don't over wash face, but wash at least 2x per day
2. Don't touch skin with hands constantly, if you do need to touch your face, wash hands with anti-bacterial soap first
3. Keep your cell phone away from your face, a blue tooth will be your best defense in keeping that bacteria ridden (and warm! ew!) screen from clogging up cheek and chin areas
4. Wear sunscreen, especially if you're doing any of the treatments above - because acne treatments make us burn easier. Also, burned skin is more susceptible to bacteria growth
5. Wear oil-free cosmetics, they will clog pores less
6. Exfoliate skin regularly, including chest and back to break up pore clogging oil
7. Lastly, avoid this:
it spreads bacteria, causes swelling and scars! YUCK! If you must pop, use sterile qtips!