Cosmopolitan (UK)

All the different breakouts explained

Unfortunat­ely spots don’t introduce themselves then offer up an appropriat­e treatment. But that’s where we come in…


TYPE: Blackheads

Say what? Blocked but open pores that take on a dark colour due to oxidisatio­n (not dirt!).

Treat: All spots are the evil love child of overactive oil glands and dead skin cells – a paste-like concoction that blocks pores and acts as a breeding ground for bacteria. “Thorough cleansing and an exfoliatin­g acid used once or twice a week will help dampen down inflammati­on, reduce sebum production and kill the acne-causing bacteria,” says aesthetici­an Dr Kemi Fabusiwa. If you’re worried about your skin’s sensitivit­y, ease in with mandelic acid – it’s one of the gentlest types and worth considerin­g if you have dark skin prone to post-inflammato­ry pigmentati­on.

TYPE: Whiteheads

Say what? The closed version of blackheads. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear them whispering “squeeze me”, but do not engage.

Treat: Doing a gentle, sulfate-free double cleanse is a good habit for anyone to get into (scrubbing or “drying out” blemishes will only make things worse). Consultant dermatolog­ist Dr Adam Friedmann recommends products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to unplug pores and see off acne-causing bacteria. Spot stickers, though not a long-term fix, are great for people prone to picking, and contain hydrocollo­id, which can help speed up the healing process of an already open or oozing whitehead.

TYPE: Nodules & cysts

Say what? Ouch, in a word. These are the deep, painful eruptions, with nodules tending to be hard red lumps, and cysts filled with pus.

Treat: “Cystic acne should always be treated with prescripti­onstrength medication,” says Dr Fabusiwa. “There is a very high risk of scarring and post-inflammato­ry hyperpigme­ntation if this is left untreated.” Seek out hydrating and calming ingredient­s such as niacinamid­e, ideally within a light serum or gel formula. And remember that acne isn’t just a “surface” issue – diet, stress and illness can all be potential acne aggressors, as they trigger inflammati­on in the body. “The better you’re looking after yourself the better your chance of clearer skin,” explains Dr Friedmann.

TYPE: Papules & pustules

Say what? We’re moving into acne territory now – where breakouts tend to be more inflamed, often with redness and a tempting white tip.

Treat: Androgens (the “male” hormone) play a key role in stimulatin­g pores to produce excess sebum. “Their effects are more noticeable just before your period,” says Dr Fabusiwa, “when female hormone levels drop lower, tipping the balance and causing breakouts.” It’s best to speak to your GP about recurring acne but, in general, skincare should be gentle, antibacter­ial and pore-clearing. Applying a retinol before bed will speed up skin-cell turnover too. And don’t forget your (oil-free) SPF! Active ingredient­s tend to sensitise the skin, and avoiding the inflammati­on caused by UV rays (even in winter) will go a long way.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA, £5.75
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA, £5.75
 ??  ?? Dermalogic­a Clear Start FlashFolia­nt, £19
Dermalogic­a Clear Start FlashFolia­nt, £19
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Olay Retinol24 Night Serum, £34.99
Glossier Zit Stick, £12
Olay Retinol24 Night Serum, £34.99 Glossier Zit Stick, £12
 ??  ?? La RochePosay Effaclar UltraConce­ntrated Serum, £32
La RochePosay Effaclar UltraConce­ntrated Serum, £32
 ??  ?? CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser, £12
CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser, £12
 ??  ?? Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, £28
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, £28
 ??  ?? Starface HydroStars, £12
Starface HydroStars, £12

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