Everyone has experienced the grief of a surprise breakout. We’re all familiar with a pimple here, a painful zit there, waking up the day of your interview with a whitehead, or stopping into the bathroom just to see that the painful bump you discovered that morning has now turned into a white-capped mountain. With numerous types of acne issues, and only two major acne-combusting agents available, it’s good to know which product to use when a facial emergency makes itself known. Here is the low-down on the two major types of breakout-banishing over-the-counters: salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
Ideal for: large clogged pores and blackheads.
- Promotes skin cell regeneration. This sheds dead skin that would otherwise mix with oils and bacteria to form acne bumps, and introduces a new, bright layer of skin.
- Helps to pull bacteria out of pores, then keeps the pore size small and prohibits bacteria from getting in again.
Ideal for: inflamed red acne, deep and painful acne, and whiteheads.
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory by calming swelling, red acne.
- Dries inflamed acne and whiteheads until the bumps naturally dry up and flake off.
HOW TO APPLY
When using either acne product, it is important to first spot-test it to make sure that your skin does not react adversely. I suggest putting a dab behind your ear overnight to see how your skin reacts. Once tested, dab and lightly rub in an amount of acne product big enough to cover the spot itself. If the acne spot is deep and inflamed, rub a thin layer of the acne product over the spot and on the skin immediately around it.
What to do if your skin rashes from using an acne product:
If you find your skin rashes or welts after using either acne product, your skin is likely too sensitive to either the acidity of the salicylic acid or the basicity of the benzoyl peroxide, and is thus causing irritation. To fix this, stop using the product immediately and cover the irritation with a diaper rash ointment for a few days until the irritation is gone. I suggest using Aveeno Soothing Diaper Rash Cream.
Don’t let those surprise breakouts cause you any more panic! Knowing which product to use for different types of breakouts will decrease the time those white-caps get a chance to hang around.