5 Acne Hacks That Actually Work, According to a Dermatologist
The skin care sphere is full of do’s and don’ts. Some of the tips you’re likely to come across have been vetted by industry professionals, and others…well…haven’t. When your skin is at stake—especially if you’re looking for ways to help combat a specific concern like acne—there’s no time to fall for myths or misinformation. That’s why we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali to set the record straight. When it comes to addressing pesky pimples, here are five acne hacks that have earned his seal of approval.
Hack #1: Apply Benzoyl Peroxide & Cover It
Benzoyl peroxide is one of the the most common over-the-counter ingredients to fight acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), benzoyl peroxide works by killing acne-causing bacteria. When used daily, it can help keep your acne under control as well as reduce the frequency of flares.
You can find benzoyl peroxide in a wide range of formulas—in strengths between 2 and 10 percent—including washes, creams, gels, and wipes. For this hack, reach for a benzoyl peroxide cream or spot treatment. Dab a bit of it on top of your blemish prior to going to bed. Before laying your head down, cover up the area where you applied the benzoyl peroxide cream with a small bandage. This second step can help ensure the formula stays put all night and doesn’t rub off on your pillow. According to Dr. Bhanusali, covering up the benzoyl peroxide with a bandage can also help with absorption.
Editor’s note: Benzoyl peroxide and other acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and sulfur are notorious for being drying. What’s more, studies show that products boasting a higher concentration of benzoyl peroxide may not equate to increased effectiveness, and may in fact irritate the skin, per the AAD. Keep your skin type in mind before picking an acne spot treatment and talk to your dermatologist about any of your concerns.
Hack #2: Use Over-the-Counter Hydrocortisone Cream
This may sound strange, but Dr. Bhanusali tells us that over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream may help reduce the appearance of acne-related redness. To try this hack, start by washing your face. Squeeze a small amount of cream onto a clean finger and gently dab it onto your pimple.
Hack #3: Calm the Look of Blemishes with Ice Cubes
There’s no denying that a big, red, swelled-up pimple can put a damper on your beauty look. Not to mention the fact that some pimples are downright painful to the touch. To help, Dr. Bhanusali urges you to head to your freezer’s ice box. “Ice cubes can help to slightly reduce pain and inflammation associated with acne,” Dr. Bhanusali says. The cooling effect of ice can help vaso-constrict the problem area and in turn reduce the appearance of acne-related redness and swelling, even if just slightly. To try this hack, start by wrapping an ice cube around a washcloth or paper towel. Hold it against your blemish for a few minutes. Repeat as necessary in short intervals, taking breaks in between to give your skin a chance to warm back up.
Hack #4: Try an LED Light Mask
According to Dr. Bhanusali, LED light therapy masks are becoming more and more common as a way to help reduce the appearance of acne. Interested in giving it a try? Head to your dermatologist to determine whether or not your skin is a good candidate for light therapy. Learn more about the skin care benefits of LED light therapy, here.
Hack #5: Camouflage & Target Blemishes at the Same Time
When it comes to addressing your acne, immediate results can be hard to come by. That’s why many people turn to concealer, which can help to instantly hide the blemishes you don’t want anyone to see. The best part about these formulas is that they can work in a pinch, meaning you can cover up a nasty zit ahead of a big presentation, event, or meeting, and your coworkers and friends will be none the wiser. That said, concealer is only a temporary solution. When you remove it at the end of the day before going to bed, the blemish you painstakingly tried to cover up will be visible once again. But what if your concealer could do more than just temporarily cover up a pimple? That’s precisely where It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Concealer comes in.
Ideal for oily and acne-prone skin types, Bye Bye Breakout Concealer is a full-coverage, treatment concealer formulated with skin-loving ingredients like sulfur, tea tree, peptides, witch hazel, kaolin clay and more. In addition to covering up the look of blemishes and acne-related redness immediately without creasing or cracking, the formula targets blemishes to deliver more transformative skin results over time. Think of it as an acne-fighting drying lotion and concealer all in one. To learn more, find out what happened after our editor took the formula for a test-run in our review of Bye Bye Breakout Concealer, here.