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Zap Your Zits

Updated on November 30, 2015

An occasional post-teen pimple is a reality. This advice can help you break the blemish cycle.

Thought you’d kissed breakouts goodbye along with your high-school sweetheart? You’re not alone: Almost 50 percent of American women suffer from adult acne. This article helps you banish these annoying bumps for good.


The Basic Facts

Acne is triggered simply by hormonal fluctuations (think: ovulation and menstruation). These daily fluctuations cause otherwise clear skin to revolt. The cycle begins when oil and dirt plug up one or more pores (tiny hair follicles that serve as the opening of oil glands), which triggers a buildup of sebum (the skin’s natural oil). Bacteria, which feed on oil, stick to this sebum buildup. The body’s response: inflammation (an attempt by the immune system to get rid of the bacteria), characterized by redness, swelling and, finally, a pimple.

What To Look For

Indications that it’s time for intervention:

  • Chin, jawline and neck breakouts Pimples tend to creep downward as we age. (Think of it as the hormonal hub).
  • Large, painful pimples. Adult acne typically appears as cystic pustules (bumps beneath the skin’s surface).
  • A change in medicine or diet Certain birth-control pills (those that are progesterone-dominant), medications (including lithium and prednisone) and iodine (in seafood and certain supplements ) may trigger breakouts.

Simple Solutions

To keep skin blemish-free you should:

  • Avoid picking or rubbing acne. This can slow healing, spread bacteria and lead to potential scarring. Instead, dab the pimple with a gel or lotion containing at least 2 percent benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, to help clear the clogged pore.

  • Cleanse before and after exercise. Sweat, as well as oil, can clog your pores; when the duo combines with dirt, it may increase your odds of facing a future breakout.

  • Wear oil-free, lightweight cosmetics. Two winners: Neutrogena SkinClearing Clean Tint and Rimmel London Lasting Finish Powder.

What Works

If you have ongoing flare-ups that aren’t remedied by an over-the-counter regiment, see a dermatologist, who may recommend medication, a new cleansing routine or antibiotics.

The bottom line For that single cyst that won’t go away, head to your dermatologist for a cortisone injection, which instantly reduces redness, shrinks the zit and speeds healing.



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