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Let’s not beat around the bush here: acne is the worst! Hormones and congestion aside, there has to be some sort of iOS programming that syncs up to our calendars, prompting breakouts to rise to the occasion on the morning of a job interview, date, or party. There is no other possible explanation for its often immaculate (and almost humorous) timeliness.
A breakout—no matter how big or small—can have an instant effect on one’s self-esteem, so having the right remedies on hand to quash them as soon as possible is not only recommended, but essential. These are the MECCA community’s all-time favourite quick-fixes.
TO CLEANSE: KATE SOMERVILLE ERADIKATE DAILY CLEANSER
Managing acne is all about balance—it can be caused by too much oil, or not enough. If you do veer on the oilier side, an exfoliating cleanser with sulphur—like Kate Somerville’s bestselling EradiKate Daily Cleanser—will clear lingering sebum away from the surface of the skin, penetrating that little bit deeper into the pores to avoid blockages. As sulphur can be drying, the gentle formula is enriched with honey and rice bran, both of which are famous for calming red, stressed-out skin. While this cleanser will help to visibly clear existing breakouts, it’ll do an even better job of ensuring future breakouts are less aggressive.
TO CLARIFY: GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD CLEARING TREATMENT OR SUNDAY RILEY UFO ULTRA-CLARIFYING FACE OIL
You’ve got two options here. If your acne flare-ups are somewhat spontaneous, give them the Hollywood-loved GlamGlow experience with a 20-minute detox of exfoliating and pore-clearing AHAs and BHAs, detoxifying charcoal and oil-absorbing kaolin clay. This will suck the build-up right out of your skin—especially pesky blackheads and whiteheads—when you need it most.
Your other option—especially if you find you have quite persistent congestion that eventually makes its way to the surface—is Sunday Riley’s overwhelmingly raved-about UFO Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil. Dubbed a ‘skin saviour’ by many, this Shrek-green potion of herbaceous tea tree and black cumin seed oils, liquorice root extract, and a generous 1.5% salicylic acid is unmatched in its ability to clear the skin from both surface level acne and deeply embedded congestion. The fact that this formula is an oil also negates the expected drying effects of salicylic acid, leaving your skin soft and nourished while still delivering all the acne-fighting benefits.
Editor’s note: After a brief period of purging, UFO cleared away congestion along my jaw line that I’ve had—no joke—since high school.
TO DRY OUT: MARIO BADESCU DRYING LOTION
A blemish sees this pink potion on your shelf, and it starts to shake. Mario Badescu’s world-famous Drying Lotion sucks the life out of spots overnight—even those big, painful ones that feel like they have their own heartbeat (not just me, right)? With a one-two-punch of oil and bacteria-fighting salicylic acid and sulphur, plus calming calamine, this high-powered spot treatment makes a visible difference by morning. Our tip for getting the most out of this product is to use it when and where you need it: it’s extremely (and intentionally) drying, so do not smooth the lotion all over your face. I personally find that my skin gets used to it, so I’ll give my skin a break in between uses to ensure it works at its best.
TO PROTECT: MECCA MAX Spot Dots Blemish Busting Patches or skyn ICELAND Blemish Dots
Sometimes, all a spot needs is a bit of protection from the outside world (and hey, don’t we all). Blemish dots and patches are designed to incubate spots (or the very beginnings of them) to avoid the spread of acnegenic bacteria, reduce irritation, and to stop you from picking and popping. MECCA MAX’s Spot Dots Blemish Busting Patches are super discreet, and work through the night (or day) to draw excess oil out of the skin. skyn ICELAND’s Blemish Dots are spiked with salicylic acid and anti-bacterial tea tree to exfoliate and purify the pore, delivering instant and prolonged treatment.
If you’re currently experiencing ‘maskne’ from wearing a protecting face mask (you can read more about it here), pop a few of these on underneath your mask, and no one will even know.
These blemish-busting favourites are all well-deserved finalists in this year’s MECCA Beauty Election. Who’s slated to win? Well, that’s up to you! If you haven’t yet voted for your favourite skin saviour, get your votes in here.
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