Sometimes, no matter how lovely your skincare routine is — you can read my most recent one here — you get hit with a major breakout. First things first, everyone gets blemishes sometimes. It’s a fact of life. For me, I just got nailed with a terrible one during finals week. It’s no surprise either — not sleeping, barely eating, 20+ hours in the library at a time without washing my face, rubbing my temples to stave off headaches, high cortisol levels… A breakout is basically written in stone. Here are the ways I deal with a bad breakout!
- If you’re going to pick or mess with a spot, do it at night – I highly recommend just leaving them alone, but sometimes there is just no way to avoid the temptation. If you simply can’t resist, don’t pick them until you’re about to go to bed or are for sure home for the day. The spot will swell and get red and they will be 10x harder to cover. I also recommend taking a hot shower before hand to bring anything nasty to the surface and soften the skin so you can be more gentle.
- Stick to your routine – It’s so easy to have an awful breakout and then immediately want to bust out the Proactiv or something super intense in a perfect display of “going overboard”. More often than not, breakouts have an environmental or hormonal root. You’re better to stay the course with what was working for your skin (at least for a while) rather than changing it up and risking severe irritation.
- Be gentle – Your skin is angry and upset with you. You want to calm it down, not irritate it further. Harsh acne products aren’t going to do you any favors because they tend to just aggravate a problem. I say this as someone who has tried most of the market share of products to help clear up my skin. At the very least, gentle cleansers aren’t doing any damage and generally soothe the skin instead. I highly recommend Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple Cleanser or Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser.
- Use masks – Origins Out of Trouble face mask is honestly a godsend, and if I could only own one single product for fighting breakouts, it would be this one. I love it. Any mask that you find makes a difference in your skin will work. I would steer clear of anything that burns or stings (like some blemish-fighting masks). Pick masks that are both cleansing and calming.
- Spot treat – I stand by overnight spot treatments as the key to fighting bad breakouts. I often use the Origins Out of Trouble Mask as my spot treatment. However, if you have a partner staying over, it’s really not ideal to sleep with patches of white clay mask on your face. I also love the Clean & Clear Persagel 10, which is cheap as chips and an effective spot-fighter. If you only do a light layer, it’s not very noticeable, which is good for boyfriends, roommates, etc.
- Drink lots of water – It’s clichéd but effective! Water is the best way to detoxify your system.
- Don’t skip moisturizer – I cannot emphasize this enough! You still need to moisturize your skin. The last thing you want is a breakout surrounded by dry patches! Use your regular moisturizers, and just ensure that you’re tapping a bit of spot treatment where you need it.
- Don’t pile on heavy foundation – You can still use full coverage if you want to, but make it something lightweight and illuminating! Matte skin shows all the imperfections, but a glowing, luminous complexion is much more forgiving. I tend to stick to bb cream or tinted moisturizer (I’ve been enjoying NARS’s formula lately) and then go in carefully with concealer. I’d rather have heavy coverage only where I need it. That said, if you’re a person who is happy to wander around makeup free even with a breakout, good on you! But I’m usually not, so I try to be as reasonable about it as possible and avoid applying anything cakey or thick. I’ve been really liking the Hourglass Veil Stick Foundation buffed out with a flat-top kabuki brush if I need real coverage for something.
Remember that the spots will go away soon enough, but I hope these tips make that happen faster!