If there’s one thing I want to help you with, it's solving spots. And I know it can be really hard sometimes to know what goes where in your routine. Especially when it comes to tackling unpredictable things like blemishes. It's definitely one of the things I see done wrongly - whether it’s using the wrong type of ingredient or whether it’s integrating a blemish solution into your routine. So let me talk you through the way I approach it so you maximize your chances of success.
When Should I Use An Acne Spot Treatment In My Routine?
I recommend using yours in the morning, given that most people who are blemish-prone are likely to be using a retinoid for prevention at night.
The one exception: if something red and swollen appears during the course of your day, tackle it at night. In that case, you’ll want to avoid double-treating the area with both your anti-inflammatory and retinoid so treat the blemish first and then leave a big physical gap between that and your retinoid.
What Is The Most Effective Spot Treatment?
My first choice is Benzoyl Peroxide at a strength of 2.5 - 5% (find it in prescription only Duac 3% or over-the-counter Acnecide 5%). Alternatives include Salicylic Acid (1-2%) and in sensitive skin you can use Azelaic Acid 5-20% and Niacinamide 5-10% (both ingredients are found in Flawless Brightly Serum).
Things I don’t recommend as spot treatments: retinoids - they aren’t helpful with a new spot, and should be used all over for prevention, rather than as a targeted solution. And I don’t find AHAs like glycolic acid especially helpful, as they aren’t oil soluble or anti-inflammatory like their BHA cousins.
And whilst Vitamin C can be useful in the aftermath, after the acne breakouts have cleared and pigmentation is being tackled, I don’t use it in any regime for active breakouts.
How Should I Use An Acne Spot Treatment?
A single layer is key - I don’t recommend double layering with other actives.
And use in either a targeted way or to treat the ‘zone’ depending on where your blemishes are.
They desired quantity is more sparing than you'd expect, especially when using prescription products.
Do You Rub In An Acne Spot Treatment?
For a single lesion, massage in and if you’ve gone over the edges onto normal skin, use a Q-tip to remove excess and avoid excessive irritation.
Buffer with moisturiser beforehand if skin is dry. And once fully absorbed (be patient!!), use a moisturiser duvet over the top, followed by SPF, and then make-up. This really helps ensure that layers build up smoothly and that concealer can be applied successfully.
How Long Do You Use An Acne Spot Treatment?
I’d recommend repeating daily until the blemish is flat; then swap for Azelaic Acid to continue the work of resolving the redness and prevention.
If you’re working on a ‘zone’, continue until the comedones are clear. This might be 2 weeks, 6 weeks or even an ongoing thing. Or perhaps it’s something you do the week before your period when you’re prone to breaking out.
Hopefully you’re now feeling ready for tackling breakouts. You know what not to do and have a step-by-step guide of what to do - I want you to feel confident that you’ve got this! I’d love it if you could share this with someone who needs this help and I’ll see you again soon!