Blemishes and breakouts can be frustrating, especially when you can’t tell when the next spot will pop up and ruin your day. Luckily there’s a whole host of products that can help with desperate breakout situations and I’ve compiled a list of my favourites that speed calm, clear, and speed up healing times.
I’m a big fan of the Witch Doctor Skin Treatment Gel (£3.05) for as soon as a spot strikes; this antiseptic 81.5% Witch Hazel gel has a cooling sensation and melts into the skin leaving an ‘invisible compress’ that doesn’t pill or rub off. Witch Hazel is an astringent that tones and temporarily tightens the pores as well as killing bacteria, so is equally useful when applied to active spots and spot-prone areas to fight emerging breakouts. This product reduces swelling and redness overnight, so I always keep it on hand for spot-related emergencies; it’s also great for breakouts or irritation after facial hair removal. Although the blue gel contains alcohol which can dry the skin, I find this much less drying than other spot treatments and I use it on new or healing blemishes without worry.
Similarly, as a spot treatment and preventative, I love the Superfacialist Tea Flower Clay Mask (£8.99) to soak up excess oils during a breakout; Dead Sea Mud (one of the main active ingredients) absorbs toxins and helps ward off congestion. The mask also contains Salicylic Acid which helps to exfoliate the pores and kill acne causing bacteria, as well as Avocado, Shea Butter and Acacia Honey to hydrate the skin. This product works wonders on both large and small areas of breakouts, and is brilliant when dabbed directly onto a deep painful spot overnight to bring it to the surface without irritation.
For keeping breakouts at bay and making them easier to cover, especially on larger areas such as the cheeks, I’m an advocate of the reasonably priced Neutrogena Spot Stress Control Hydrating Spot Treatment (£4.99), which is brilliantly affordable for its effectiveness. The thin gel sinks in leaving no residue so is perfect for small areas or all over on oily skin, or for drier skins underneath another moisturiser. This product contains Salicylic Acid along with green tea and cucumber extracts, and even though my skin can be sensitive to Salicylic Acid, I find it more moisturising than drying so it’s really helpful for clearing and hydrating breakouts which can linger. I’ve also found the Neutrogena Treatment Gel incredibly useful for clearing up unpleasant little bumps and pimples under the skin which weren’t helped by more expensive or complex products, so would recommend trying it even if you aren’t on a budget.
As blemishes start to heal it’s important to keep them hydrated and Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Treatment (£34) contains Rose of Jericho along with lychee and watermelon which are great at moisturising and softening the skin. This product is pricey, but perfect if your blemishes tend to turn flaky as it slashes spot healing time by almost completely eliminating the ‘dry’ stage. The light gel is perfect for combination and oily skins as only a tiny amount is needed for the whole face, or it can be used on spots as a targeted treatment to moisturise the area and heal roughness or cracks. This product sinks in easily and leaves no greasy residue, but for drier skins that need more hydration, the Origins Make A Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Moisturizer or Ultra-Thick Cream may be more suitable.
Finally, when my skin is going through a time of imbalance, such as around the time of the month, stress, or product overload, and nothing seems to be preventing new spots while current blemishes are healing, I find that powder becomes my new best friend. For those of us with oily skin that tend to wake up to new spots rather than find them appearing during the day, a light sweep of translucent powder at night can be enough to absorb the pore-clogging oils produced while we’re getting our eight hours of beauty sleep. I’m a fan of the finely milled Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (£29), but any loose translucent powder that sits happily on your face by day will also help to absorb oils by night. I wake up to find my skin has much less slip than usual, with oiliness controlled, and breakouts healing and on their way out.
What are your favourite spot and blemish busting products?
Written by Kirsty Paterson