Anyone who went to high school remembers the horror of waking up the day before a major event only to discover a breakout of acne. Even as adults, it can still happen – especially when you’re stressed. Not only does planning a wedding raise stress levels, but it also increases the amount of events where you want to be looking your best. We asked Dr. David Lortscher, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of personalized skincare company Curology, for his tips on how to quickly get rid of blemishes. While he notes the importance of preventive care, the advice below will help clear your skin in a flash.
Photo by Vue Photography
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and also acts as an antifungal, antibacterial, and astringent agent. Tea tree oil can also be helpful in treating acne. However, be aware that 100% tea tree oil solution is very irritating and should be diluted. As a spot treatment, dilute one part tea tree oil with three parts of the oil of your choice, such as sunflower, castor, jojoba, or hemp oil – just not coconut oil, as coconut oil can clog pores.
No Crushed Aspirin
Don’t go there! If you are trying to heal a pimple ASAP, I do not recommend use of topical NSAIDs, such as a crushed aspirin tablet or Advil liquid gel from capsules as a spot treatment. The concentration could be very irritating to the skin, and make your blemish more obvious. If you tolerate NSAIDs by mouth, a little ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or Aspirin (Bayer) for several days can help decrease the swelling and tenderness somewhat. Do not take over the recommended doses, and do not use more than occasionally.
Topical steroids (also called corticosteroids) can help acne… in the short term. Over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone, which is a low-potency topical steroid, can reduce inflammation, thus reducing the redness and size of active acne blemishes. However, using topical steroids can backfire! Your skin can become “addicted” to the steroids, and a “withdrawal” reaction of red, burning skin or worse acne breakouts can result. Using topical steroids can feed the acne cycle, in which case going cold turkey off the topical steroid may be necessary because acne will never completely clear up while topical steroids are used.
Hydrocolloid bandages are a miracle worker for large acne lesions to help them heal faster. You can cover the lesions with a hydrocolloid dressing overnight (or for 24-48 hours!) to help draw out the contents and speed healing. The hydrocolloid bandages can be tough to find in the store, but they are there! They are not always labeled "hydrocolloid," and are often sold as blister bandages. I would just make sure that it also says "hydrocolloid" at least somewhere on the box. You should be able to find them at your average drug store.
For more health and beauty tips, see 10 beauty products for brides, discover beauty products to help you get through the winter and learn how to have radiant skin for your wedding day.