Editor’s note: The following is a guest post written by dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, founders of Proactiv.
When it comes to acne, there are many myths and confusion, and we cannot stress this enough — though acne is not curable, it is treatable and controllable. In today’s world there are lots of different options from topical treatments to low-dose oral contraceptives, all of which will treat, control and prevent future acne breakouts. But keep in mind that there are no quick fixes. Once you get your acne under control, it may take several years of ongoing preventative treatment to keep your breakouts from resurfacing.
This is exactly why spot treating acne makes about as much sense as only brushing the one tooth with the cavity while ignoring the rest of your mouth. However, occasionally, when you have a really bad pimple, spot treating is necessary to try to bring down the breakout quickly.
The basic principles of treatment are: unclog the pores, kill the bacteria, and calm the inflammation.
Step one: Wash your hands and face. If your hands and face aren’t clean, you’ll just spread more bacteria around and risk infection (and even more breakouts!).
Step two: Apply ice buffered by a napkin for 10 minutes to reduce redness and telltale swelling.
Step three: Apply a treatment lotion containing antibacterial sulfur. Sulfur helps reduce skin oiliness and prevents pore blockages from forming. Proactiv Refining Mask contains a six percent concentration and can be used as either a full facial mask or a spot treatment.
Step four: Apply a thin layer of medicated concealer to hide the discoloration.
Step five: If time permits, get a cortisone shot from your dermatologist. The results from these shots are miraculous, fast, and effective.