Conquering Acne, Part Four: How to Beat a Breakout

Getting Immediate Relief after Acne Breakouts

Sometimes (no matter how careful you are), you may occasionally suffer from acne outbreaks. Even if you’re doing everything right, there are other factors at play. Hormonal changes, for example, can cause unexpected acne outbreaks—and they always seem to come at the least opportune times.

First things first: Try to avoid squeezing, picking, and scratching at your face. Why is this such an important piece of advice? Picking or squeezing at acne can permanently scar your face. We’re willing to bet, though, that sometimes—in the midst of a bad breakout—you’re not exactly thinking long-term. You’re might only be thinking: Oh No! I have that party/date/job interview and I can’t have this thing on my face! We get it, but here’s the thing: Remember when we talked about the causes of acne? Well, when you squeeze or pick at your face, instead of purging your skin, you’re actually forcing the bacteria/sebum/dead skin cells even further into the follicle, possibly causing the follicle wall to rupture and spread the infected material deeper in the skin. Essentially, what you’re doing is causing yet another breakout, possibly even acne cysts. Let’s keep our hands away from our faces. After all, what seems like a temporary solution could very well cause on ongoing cycle of breakouts and long-term damage!

The only solution when you have a serious outbreak that needs to go away fast is to use a spot treatment. We know from experience, though, that acne spot treatments tend to cause peeling, redness, and some serious dryness. Sometimes you might wonder if they’re even worth a try at all. The important things to look for in an acne spot treatment are ingredients that simultaneously treat while calming irritation, redness, and excessive drying. For example:

• Salicylic Acid: This ingredient works by exfoliating dead skin cells and keeping the follicles clear.

• Calamine: Calamine contains zinc oxide, an astringent and drying agent that also soothes inflamed and irritated skin.

• Colloidal Sulfur: Sulfur works as an anti-inflammatory, bringing much-needed relief while providing antibacterial action (it limits the acids that bacteria require for growth).

(Hint: Check out Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion; this product includes all three of the above-listed ingredients and has acquired a sort of legendary status among makeup artists, celebrities, and the rest of us. Try it for yourself if you haven’t yet to see what all the hype is about!)

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