There’s nothing like waking up to a fresh breakout that makes you want to frantically google how to get rid of pimples fast. Acne seems to show up at the worst time – it’s always when you don’t have the patience or time to wait it out and you just need it gone immediately.
Everyone has unique skin types, skin tones, lifestyle, genetic histories that make it impossible to have a single piece of one-size-fits-all advice. There are many ways to treat acne, but if you’re looking for a strategy to make an acne flare-up calm down this second, we’ve got you!
Cleanse thoroughly: use a gentle cleanser to wash away dirt and makeup that might have built throughout the day. Our favourites include La Roche Effaclar Gel to Cetaphil. If your skin is on the drier side, use a cleanser that nourishes the skin with natural oils like Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser.
Tip: Avoid cleansing too frequently or intensely. Wash your face 2x daily
Use Acne-fighting agent: it’s not the chemical you use; it’s the amount you use. We’ve all been guilty of “topping up” on the spot treatments thinking more is better but it’s not! It can irritate the skin, making it scaly, flaky and red. So, take it slow, and try a lower concentration of the active ingredient once you’ve already broken out.
Our favourite is La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner or Paula’s Choice 2% Skin Perfecting BHA exfoliant.
Exfoliate: whether you choose to use a chemical or physical exfoliant, know that this step will help prevent breakouts by keeping your pores clear and helping to remove any clogs you currently have. Options include leave-on products or masks rather than cleansers, which will only stay on your skin for a short amount of time. Treat your skin to a hydrating mask the reduces appearances of dark spots. We love Kiehls Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration or try Milk Makeup Watermelon Brightening Mask.
Tip: Avoid exfoliating too often or with products that are too harsh can damage skin and exacerbate acne. At minimum 2x to 3x week.
Use a refreshing moisturizer: try a moisturizer that deeply hydrates yet doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the skin. And don’t forget, to zap a zit, do layer your skincare products properly. Here is our Skin Care 101 guide
Tip: If you have oily or combination skin and are prone to breakouts, you should be using skin-care products labeled “oil-free,” “noncomedogenic,” or “water-based,” Products like these are less likely to clog your pores
Finally, if you’ve been doing all the above and still trying to figure out what’s causing your acne, here are some lifestyle hacks to follow.
Resist the urge to squeeze the blemish: It’s never a good idea to squeeze a pimple. It increases the risk of infection or scarring. What is okay? Drawing out a big pimple once the whitehead is poking through your skin. Use a washcloth with hot— “but not scalding”—water to excavate the pus before applying your spot treatment.
Reduce stress in your life: stress can play a huge role in skin issues like acne, and it’s strongly suspected that the hormone cortisol may be responsible for the link. If you’re dealing with a stressful event or situation, look for healthy ways to de-stress try yoga or meditate
Track your trigger foods: is fried food your enemy? We’ve all heard that some ridiculously long list of foods like chocolate, pizza, caffeine, or dairy can cause acne. These so-called trigger foods don’t affect everyone but its worth keeping tabs on whether certain foods cause the breakout. Consult with your doctor first, before chatting with your dermatologist before swearing anything off!
Avoid clog-wearing makeup: that means makeup that contains mineral oil or lanolin. They are “comedogenic” and have a higher likelihood of clogging pores and triggering acne. Check the labels to make sure your complexion products don’t contain either.
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