Cosmopolitan (UK)

breakout right now


Pre-stick your spot stickers

Zit stickers are a godsend when you’re breaking out, but the adhesives they’re made with can be irritating. Before you pop one on, lightly tap it on the back of your clean hand. This lessens its sticky powers just enough to minimise the risk of redness without making it fall off your face.

Sing your ABCs (twice) while you wash your face

This ensures your acne cleanser stays in contact with your skin long enough for the active ingredient­s (like sulphur or salicylic acid) to work their blemish-clearing magic.

Area-treat with your retinoid

Most directions will tell you to apply a pea-size amount all over your face, but you can also just area-treat to avoid a full face of dryness. So if you tend to get hormonal acne on your chin and jawline, use your retinoid there only. Seeing whiteheads on just your forehead? Stick to retinoid in that area.

Spot-treat like a pro

Do your skincare routine as normal first, then take a wet cotton bud and gently clean the skin on and around your spot. Then – and only then – may you dab on your spot treatment. Wiping the area guarantees that (1) the ingredient­s in your spot treatment can penetrate your skin, and (2) said ingredient­s don’t react badly with your other products.

“Bake” your spot with concealer

Some people bake their under-eyes (hi, Kardashian­s). At Cosmopolit­an, we bake our spots. To disguise a breakout, apply a thick layer of your favourite cream or liquid concealer (try NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, £24) on your blemish, then make a coffee, check your emails, etc. Ten minutes later, use a dampened make-up sponge to blend it all in.

Target body breakouts

If you’re dealing with stubborn body acne (see page 52), treat it in the same way as the spots on your face – with targeted actives. Ditch the heavy lotions and switch to a fragrance-free shower gel, then apply a salicylic acid treatment to clean skin to help de-clog pores (try Murad’s Clarifying Body Spray, £38).

Make an appointmen­t

Struggling with adult acne long-term? It’s worth booking an appointmen­t with your GP or a dermatolog­ist. They might be able to recommend a prescripti­on acne treatment to target stubborn breakouts and help clear up the skin for good.

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