From painful chemical peels to extreme facials, there’s no shortage of beauty treatments that claim to combat breakouts. And when you’re dealing with an unexpected blemishes it’s easy to contemplate drastic measures. But before you book an appointment with your dermatologist or take matters into your own hands (literally), try these at-home tricks to calm your complexion:
Once a week, Birchbox’s resident yoga and men’s product expert, Eric, will gives us girls some insight into his world in You’ve Got Male. Whether he’s giving his expertise on skincare (boys need advice, too!) or highlighting his new favorite grooming trend, this guy has got taste—so we’re lucky he’s on staff and willing to share.
Photo: On the Ground Looking Up
Nobody likes dealing with pimples. They are unsightly, can even be painful, and tend to pop up at precisely the worst moments (first dates, family photo ops and the like). This is another instance where women have an unfair advantage in that they are able to cover blemishes with makeup. For (most of) us men, this is not an option. If you are like me and have generally good skin and occasionally get a really bad pimple, here are some tips for preventing, and quickly getting rid of, those pesky zits.
Clogged pores are how it all begins, so be sure to keep yours free of dirt and oil. About once a week, I use the amazing multi-tasker Fresh Umbrian Clay Face Treatment on my T-zone and forehead. I let the clay dry for about ten minutes and rinse. Pores are immediately shrunken and clean. If I sense a blemish coming on, which is usually indicated by some redness and swelling in one of my typical “zit zones,” I immediately start using Kiehl’s Acne Blemish Control in the morning and at night. This is the best spot treatment I have ever tried – it won’t dry your skin out and usually takes care of any issues I have. The key is to be relentless with application.
When things do progress to full-fledged pimple status, the main issue for me tends to be the swollen, red appearance. At this stage, I use good old-fashioned hydrocortisone overnight and it really does the trick. To sum up, pimples are not fun, but we must be patient with them. At all costs, resist extracting (read “popping”) anything on your face. A zit might be ugly for a week or so, but a scar is ugly forever!
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Read all You’ve Got Male installments here.
Blemish fighter: Suki’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser.
All week, We Heart This founders Stef and Tyna have been sharing their Grown Up Girls Guide to Beauty. Today, Tyna tells us how she conquered adult acne.
Five Tips for Adult Acne
Many moons ago, I remember sitting with my girlfriends in high school dreaming of our adult lives. You know, when we would finally be done with school, live on our own, go out when and wherever we wanted…and finally outgrow pimples. I would nod along when the subject of acne came up, content and silently smug in my relatively zit-free existence. But right around my 25th birthday, when I could finally do all those things we dreamed about, karma struck back in the form of adult acne. For the next ten years I fought a war with pimples, blackheads, redness, and dark spots. And while I didn’t win every battle, I gathered valuable knowledge along the way. Today, I’m passing some of my most valuable ‘ammunition’ on to you to use in your fight against the dreaded adult acne.
1. We all know, no matter what I say, you’re still going to pick. At least, get the right tools. Your adult skin deserves more than sharp nails (prone to leaving marks) and imprecise (and let’s face it, dirty) fingertips. Use a sterilized, stainless steel blemish extractor to pop whiteheads and to carefully extract blackheads. I have a double-ended loop from Sephora that’s been serving me well for over ten years.
2. You’re not a teen anymore, so stop treating your skin like one. You can still watch Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, but say goodbye to stinging astringents and drying soaps. Look for pimple fighters that also soothe skin and calm inflammation. For a wash I adore DDF’s Blemish Foaming Cleanser, and the best adult astringent on the market is Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. If you want a great scrub, you can’t do better then Suki’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser.
3. Even with the best skincare regimen, you may still get a couple of big ol’ zits. The key is to think of your skin like fine linen and spot treat as much as possible. I reach for the classic pink Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, and use a teeny-tiny dab. Bonus Spot Treatment Tip: Want to know the best and greenest (not to mention free) pimple fighter out there? ICE! Icing down pimples (two to three times a day for ten minutes) will drastically reduce the size, inflammation and pain associated with a big zit. This treatment also works wonders on Cystic Acne (which is a completely different beast then regular adult acne–you can read my tips for cystic sufferers here).
4. If you suffer from prolong and/or intense adult acne, it might be time to make a few lifestyle changes. This one’s a triple threat, ya’ll.
a) Stop smoking – as if you need another reason to quit. Research suggests kicking the habit can help clear skin.
b) Clean up your diet – You are what you eat. A diet that’s loaded with fruits and veggies, lots of water and low on alcohol can only help your skin. Others have success by cutting dairy, wheat or gluten from their diets.
c) Stay out of the sun - An unprotected day frolicking in the sun may temporarily dry out skin and pimples – but you’ll most likely pay for it with a fresh skin eruption a few days after your time in the sun. Limit your time in direct sunlight, wear a hat (or carry a parasol!) and always wear sunscreen. These lifestyle changes just may make a drastic change in your skin, and as adults we know it’s time to start treating our bodies with a bit more respect – start here.
5. If all else fails, see a doctor. A trusted dermatologist may be able to get to the root of the problem and can be a valuable ally for life, while a trip to your gynecologist may find a low dose birth control pill can calm hormonal acne problems.
Read all We Heart This’ posts here.