Ugggh, this week is not off to a good start. One of a few reasons: I have an enormous, throbby new friend located on my chin--quite possibly the most painful and unattractive location for a blemish (although tip-of-the-nose would come in a close second).
And I’m not happy about it. Not one bit. God, it's like being in high school all over again--all of the angst, thankfully none of the term papers.
Can you believe it, Mount Vesuvius-like skin eruptions aren't serious enough to qualify as a sick day? Humpf. So, feeling like every zit was highlighted with a day-glo yellow Sharpie, I fled to my local CVS for every medicated potion, cream and tube I could get my hands on. After perusing my options to the point where I'm sure security thought I was casing the joint, here's what's been helping me through this difficult situation.
Every dermatologist I've ever been to says that the worst thing to do in these situations is to slather on products that strip the skin of moisture but the devil in the convertible with vanity plates on my shoulder was screaming, "girl, desperate times call for desperate measures!"
Needing something less toxic than the skin-stripping varnish of Clearasil yet more potent than Alba's botanical brew, I picked up several products from Neutrogena's Rapid Clear line which sets a pretty high skin-clearing bar, promising clearer skin in eight hours. I also cherry picked one item from their Acne Stress Control brand so that my emergency regimen would have all of the important steps: cleanse, tone and treat.
In the a.m., I started cleansing with the Oil-Eliminating Foaming Cleanser (for acne-prone skin) which has a slightly medicine-y scent and a tingely feeling that makes me nostalgic for the cool and comforting aroma of Noxema. Ah, memories . . . The feeling is pleasant though and nothing like the god awful flesh-eating feel of some AHA and benzoyl peroxide products.
The best part: this stuff builds a thick and creamy foam like whipped cream on the top of a frappuccino. My derm favors clear, non-foaming products but for my money, the lather "proves" that it's digging deep and cleaning out all the icky, pore-clogging crap. My skin was as soft as a baby's butt (and when did that become the barometer of softness anyway?), the redness was definitely less and my face didn't have that tight Botox look that sometimes happens when skin is sucked dry of all moisture like the Sahara.
And since we're on the subject, here's a great tip to try: Skip the drying mask, simply leave the zit busting cleanser on after sudsing for at least 60 seconds before washing it off. It's not only antibacterial, it's actually a great anti-inflammatory. Bonus!
I followed the cleanser with a liberal splash of the Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner which contains something called "microclear technology" to "speed treatment deep to the source." Sure, whatever. Call it goat placenta as long as it works, and this stuff does! Unlike most toners which are pretty much battery acid in a bottle, this formula is infused with green tea and cucumber to soothe and calm skin after its hormonal tantrum. My face felt so fresh and so clean! A definite must to throw in your bag to remove oils and refresh your face after a sweaty workout.
And finally, the Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel. My medicine cabinet will never be without this tiny tube of awesome pimple fighting power! I did a mirror check after about four hours and there was already a noticeable improvement--the size of the zit was definitely smaller, there was zero redness and no puffiness. Talk about truth in advertising! Salicylic acid can be really harsh but this product was very mild without the "burn" that you sometimes get when it gets applied to just cleansed skin, yet totally effective. Plus, it dries clear without stickiness so you can easily dab it on affected areas before putting on your makeup.
So for about $30 bucks, I skipped a derm appointment and can leave the house without wishing for a turtleneck and hat. Thanks to the zit zappers at your local pharmacy, the doctor is always in!