January 28th 2019
A ‘beauty first-aid kit basic’, you never know you need a potent and literal on-the-spot acne treatment until...well...you really do. Whether it’s pre work presentation, date, party or just to face the day knowing that you’re doing everything in your power to fight the sucker, a targeted spot treatment is a must in every woman’s bathroom cabinet, whether you’re 16 or 60 (adult acne is rife and even the post-menopausal among us don’t get an out). Here are our team’s most relied upon blemish extinguishers, some old, some new, some innovative and a few with textures and benefits you may not expect. Sometimes you just have to throw the kitchen sink at a spot situation.
When my boyfriend and I visit duty-free, we basically do a supermarket sweep of this stuff. We tag team to buy the shop of the whole lot, because we’re sad like that, but in my experience nothing beats good old clinical clearing for...clearing. It’s strong, salicylic stuff, and will make your eyes water if you get it too close to your lid (do not), but it’s never once aggravated my skin or cause an adverse reaction- it firefights even ferocious spots. Go easy as the alcohol content can be drying, but when quite literally spot-applied at desperate times, its works quickly to reduce the size and severity of blemishes.
The classic French pharmacy staple is Senior Feature Writer Ayesha’s spot pick (incidentally if you really must squeeze your spots, do it right). Containing skin barrier-boosting niacinamide, LHA, a derivative of salicylic acid, and the brand’s signature soothing thermal spring water, this SOS treatment is less abrasive than others on the market but by no means less effective. A ‘chill pill’ of sorts for angry blemishes that need to take a minute to calm themselves, it reduces redness and soreness to help take the sting out of your spots.
This spot treatment works, and it works fast. A clear gel that you can use over or under makeup, it tingles slightly on application but even Judy’s sensitive skin is comfortable with the 2% salicylic acid - it’s definitely one for all skin types. Its USP is that it promises to reduce spot size and redness within four hours and - hallelujah - it really does. According to our sensitive skin columnist, she now dabs this on any red spot which dares to appear and within a mere few hours it shrinks back to where it came from and looks a lot less angry; a couple of days of repeated application and it’s gone completely. She kind of wishes could go back in time to give it to her 13-year-old self.
This is Art Editor Sarah’s spot potion of choice- it’s a gentle blend of anti-inflammatory natural plant oils that packs a punch thanks to a lightly exfoliating 2% salicylic acid formula that aims to coax blemish causing bacteria from pores. The oil helps skin to heal itself without the flaking and irritation oft associated with strong spot treatments, and Sarah reports that prognosis for scarring and redness is much improved, plus you only need a dab to deflate a nasty eruption.
Another herby pustule fighter, this cooling gel is fragrance-free and and majors on oregano, eucalyptus and tea tree to evict bacteria, with salicylic acid to do its pore clearing thing and zinc and vitamin E to bring down inflammation. It doesn’t leave skin feeling too tight or dry either.
From one high end plant oil to another, this forest green formula smells calming and herby, and has the same tranquilising effect on pimples in our experience. With a slightly milder 1.5% salicylic acid concentration, this antibacterial oil can be massaged all over the face as well as applied in a more targeted manner, and soothing milk thistle and cucumber help to dial down irritation. If you’re a facial oil fan and find that many spot lotions leave your skin stripped, Sunday could be right up your street, but the fragrance aspect could throw a spanner in the works- patch test if you can, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
Apparently around 70 per cent of menopausal women suffer from breakouts, but what’s required for older skin isn’t always catered for by the skincare market- often spot treatments are excessively drying or aggressive (which isn't really good for any skin, but particularly not if yours is on the parched side in the first place). Editor Victoria rates this for generally dry, hormonal, sensitive skin, but actually labelling it ‘menopause’ perhaps doesn’t do it justice- it’s appropriate for anyone with combination or dry skin that’s been hit by a blemish bomb. Spot disposal wise, it’s a cocktail of salicylic acid, sulphur and zinc, and the clay-like texture purges impurities without leaving behind a warzone. Makeup applies nice and smoothly the next day, and you might even need a little less thanks to its zit hitting capacity.
January 28th 2019
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