Whatâs possibly even more annoyingÂ than a really bad zit? The red, dry spot thatâs leftover afterÂ the blemish has subsided. Brie Larson knows the struggle.
In aÂ recent postÂ on Instagram, the actress pointed out such a spot on her face with a big fat arrow: âWhen youâre stressing/obsessing over a zit so you put on too much zit cream before bed and wake up to [a] giant dry spot but you gotta get your photo taken anyway,â she wrote in the caption.
We know sheâs not alone, so we got the scoop from a derm on how to get rid ofÂ a pimple without ending up in Larsonâs position. Here are a few tips from Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Less is more
Loading up on your spot treatment wonât necessarily make your pimple go away faster, no matter how satisfying it may feel to slather on the medicine. âHigher concentrations of acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide may not be any more effective than lower concentrations, but can certainly end up being more irritating. Plus, any medication not fully rubbed into the skin is just excess and can lead to irritation,â explains Dr.Â Zeichner. To minimize the risk of that telltale red patch, choose a product with a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide (like 2.5%), such asÂ Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment ($8; amazon.com). And don't apply the medication more than twice daily, says Dr. Zeichner.
Tap the acne-fighting trio
If you want toÂ hit fast forward on the life of your pimple, Dr. Zeichner suggests combining a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide product with a 2% salicylic acid treatment and aÂ 1% hydrocortisone cream. We likeÂ Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment ($8; drugstore.com) andÂ Cortaid Maximum Strength Cream ($7; drugstore.com). âThis trifecta of ingredients will help calm an inflamed zit, kill acne-causing bacteria, and remove dead cells on the skin's surface," Dr. ZeichnerÂ explains. But whatever you do, don't pick at your pimple, he warns, because that can cause more inflammation and possibly scarring.
Be sure to moisturize
To prevent that flakiness from cropping up post-pimple, âmoisturize the skin to keep the skin barrier in good shape and maintain hydration,â says Dr. Zeichner. Even though it sounds counteractive to put anything other than a spotÂ treatment on your blemish, an oil-free moisturizer could be your best friend andÂ keepÂ irritation at bay.
If you do end up withÂ a dryÂ spotâ¦
âContinue to apply the 1% hydrocortisone cream, like Cortaid Maximum Strength Cream, to reduce skin inflammation. An occlusive ointment will seal in cracks between skin cells and improve hydration,â says Dr. Zeichner. GotÂ that, Brie? This isÂ your next step!