if you, like me, have had acne in the past, you probably get the occasional flare-up – be it from stress, junk food, climate, travel, etc. i’ve been pretty much acne free since june, but have had a couple sizeable acne-style breakouts since then. including last week! i recently tried this amazing sheet mask (more on that later) and it really got me thinking about how i deal with these breakouts. and i’m not talking about the rare pimple from your period or whatever. i’m talking those omg-do-i-have-acne-again situations. soooo long story short, here are my tips for handling those acne flare-ups, both physically and emotionally!
DON’T go in with the big guns // i think the first impulse whenever pimples appear is to go in with the strongest acne eliminating products available. but generally, this is not the best way to approach the situation at hand! i find that continuing with my normal routine with some additional, gentle treatments is key. for one thing, all of those drying, irritating, alcohol-y ingredients will completely dry out your acne areas and make them last for far longer, even though they might be smaller sooner. does that make sense?
if you are using any sort of topical acne creams (i use aczone – i’m sort of in love with their new packaging, is that weird?!), don’t feel persuaded to add more than your usual amount of product onto your skin. once you have gotten over the initial brutalities of these creams, they work with your skin, not against it. but by added an extra dollop all over, you’ll return to all the dryness and irritation you have put behind you.
DO use a good spot treatment for the first couple days // i’ve tried a good few of the spot treatments on the market – acnomel (old school product my parents’ have used forever haha!), mario badescu drying lotion, and acne free terminator-10, and tea tree oil to name a few – but the one i’m loving at the moment is the indie lee blemish lotion. it looks and feels much like the mario badescu drying lotion, but with better, and less!, ingredients. it’s also far more gentle and easier to remove. i only use a spot treatment for the first few days, which is the optimum time to dry out the blemishes but not overdry them. if you use a spot treatment every single night you have a pimple, you are just going to dry out and irritate your poor little face. so don’t do that!!DO use a mask every few days // i love masks! while i don’t always see results with masks, i love the process and the pamper time. for acne (and redness and inflammation) i usually use one of the following: origins clear improvement charcoal mask, glossier mega greens galaxy pack, or freeman feeling beautiful mint & lemon clay mask. i only use these masks on the areas that need them, followed by a thick layer of glossier moisturizing moon mask all over. i also don’t leave detoxifying masks on for their entire prescribed time, usually 10 minutes max, because of my dry skin. be sure to use a moisturizing mask or thicker moisturizer after your detoxifying masks, because even if you are oily your skin is probably dehydrated. moisture is key!
a very exciting mention is the leader’s brightening recovery mask. i don’t really like sheet masks, but i saw this at ulta last week and thought it sounded like exactly what my skin needed. it toned down almost all the redness i had and helped to heal and relax my last couple active blemishes. my skin was in a completely different state the following morning. seriously impressed! one thing i do love about sheet masks is all the extra essence/serum they include, so i made sure to let that really soak into my face, neck, and chest before continuing with my nightly routine (even if it feels sticky at first, give it time).
DO use makeup to your advantage // you guys know i’m not much of a face makeup girl. i never wear foundation if i can help it, and if i do wear something it’s a skin tint, tinted moisturizer, or light powder foundation at most. that being said, i am always compelled to pile on the high coverage bases when i’m acned-up. i try my best to avoid this, however, and just be strategic about how i’m doing my makeup. i usually keep some kind of medium coverage foundation on hand for these instances, and right now i have the l’oreal pro-glow foundation. it’s actually quite nice and glowy, but still medium coverage and buildable, so i get all the results i want.
i apply foundation only on the areas i really need it – you’ll need a good color match! – with one finger. yes that’s right. one finger. i find that by patting the foundation into the skin with my middle finger i really push the product in and make it look extremely natural. plus, you are concentrating the coverage where you need it only. it’s a little time consuming, but i highly recommend this method. do the rest of your face as you normally would, and use lots of facial spray. i guarantee your acne will be undetectable (except to you of course, because it’s on your face!).
DO pamper yourself // acne sucks. and when it comes back to haunt you, that sucks even more. so take your time with your skincare, drink lots of water, and get some sleep. your flare-up will be over in a few days and now you have a few more tricks in your arsenal for the next time those assholes decide to pop up uninvited.
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