Buy It! Peace Out Skincare Acne Healing Dots, $19; peaceoutskincare.com and Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%, $11.66; amazon.com
Then to spot-treat, Dr. Marchbein suggests hydrocolloid adhesive stickers, like Peace Out Skincare's Acne Dots, to minimize a blemish for people who have extra-sensitive skin. "They contain active ingredients like salicylic acid which are delivered to the pimple while it’s in place," she explains. "By occluding the pimple, the actives penetrate the skin even deeper, allowing them to potentially work better."
Just be sure that a cleanser, serum or spot treatment contains a lower dose of salicylic acid (anything around 2% is on the higher end). "The biggest mistake is over-drying your skin," Dr. Wexler says. "If lesions don't improve with a spot treatment in one or two days, consult your physician for another recommendation."
If salicylic acid doesn't work for your breakout, Dr. Marchbein says benzoyl peroxide is a good alternative ingredient to look for in products (like the PanOxyl Acne 10% Wash or La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Acne Treatment).
She adds: "Also, do not pop or squeeze a pimple! That is adding insult to injury by causing higher risk for scarring and hyperpigmentation."
Let Your Skin Breathe
As much as wearing makeup can be a fun way to express your personality, when you experience a flare-up it's best to skip complexion products like foundation and concealer. "It can really exacerbate maskne since cosmetics easily clog pores," Dr. Wexler says.
Draw attention to your eyes using makeup like mascara, eyeliner and shadow because ultimately, foundation will probably rub away.
"The mask is likely to remove makeup as it rubs against the skin, and that makeup can also cause further occlusion of oil glands and pores potentially making breakouts worse," says Dr. Marchbein.
Reconsider Your Diet
If all else fails, think about what you're eating because that can contribute to breakouts too. "Acne has been associated with high-glycemic index foods and drinks (which are high in sugar like iced teas and sodas)," says Dr. Marchbein. "Whey protein and certain milk products can also lead to flare-ups, so try avoiding these products right now to see if it makes a difference."
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