How to zap a blemish fast
We’ve all seen the hundreds of products with their so-called scientifically proven zit-zapping ingredients, like xynercabertrexol or limbernecktidukis. OK, those aren’t real words, but you get the idea. You practically have to bring a medical dictionary with you to get through the beauty aisle. So what really works when you sprout a growth the size of a garbanzo bean on your face just in time for a special occasion? We’ve asked the top skin care experts and makeup artists around to reveal the best blemish-fighting ingredients, so you can bypass the buzzwords, find the right products and get rid of that pimple -- fast!
Start by cleansing
Prime your face for pimple prevention by washing it with oil-free cleansers or mild scrubs with salicylic or glycolic acid to help clear your pores. If your skin is on the sensitive side, opt for products containing zinc oxide or tea tree oil instead. For best results, wash your face once in the morning, and again at night, and never go to bed with makeup on. In addition to being bad for your skin, it's also one of the seven deadly sins of the beauty world. Another one? Picking or squeezing a zit, or using whatever other methods you've tried to get rid of a pimple in a pinch. Extractions should be reserved for large, deep blemishes, and left to a dermatologist or aesthetician.
Choose the right concealer
When it comes to covering blemishes, make sure you're fighting them at the same time. "Use concealers with salicylic acid to cover acne, and always set with a powder for staying power," says New York-based celebrity makeup artist LeAura Luciano, whose A-list clients include Jennifer Lopez, Amanda Seyfried and Zoe Saldana (yes, they get pimples too -- feel a little better?). Choose a concealer with sunscreen that's close to your skin tone and has a yellow base to counter redness. Other key ingredients in pimple-fighting concealers include polyphenols, vitamin A and zinc oxide.
Don't leave a mark
To nix the scar or dark patch of skin left behind post-pimple, look for products with kojic acid, a natural skin lightener that's great for sensitive skin, or mandelic acid if you have darker skin. "A night serum containing mandelic acid is beneficial as well; mandelic is an antifungal and antibacterial, and it's an alpha hydroxy that has the distinct ability to help keep acne-prone skin clear," notes Marie-Claire Edouarzin, California-based skin therapist and makeup artist.
Getting rid of a pimple is one thing, but keeping breakouts at bay requires daily maintenance. According to Susan Van Dyke, board-certified dermatologist, "If you just had a zit, chances are, your skin is gearing up for the next one." Van Dyke suggests washing and exfoliating the face with oil-free cleansers containing salicylic acid to fend off any other blemishes lurking under the surface. In addition to daily washing with the right products, protect your face from sun exposure, which increases oil production and causes -- you guessed it -- more pimples. You can also fight blemishes from the inside out by adopting a healthier diet because, let's face it, those greasy fries aren't exactly helping the matter... even if it seems so worth it in the moment.
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