I’ve never been claustrophobic, but a few months ago I felt completely trapped in problematic skin that didn’t seem to be mine. It’s a frustrating issue for anyone, but especially for a beauty editor. My cystic, painful, and persistent breakouts erupted after a particularly stressful time, plus the seasons were changing — and it proved to be an especially deadly combo for my complexion. I loaded on the over-drying acne products and ended up with a pimply, peeling face.
After frantically calling my go-to dermatologist, I booked an Isolaz treatment and cortisone injections. These solutions worked great in the short-term, but I wanted a more permanent fix (that didn’t involve a prescription).
My next stop was Mario Badescu for a facial where my technician, Leah, scolded me for my quick-fix actions and sat me down to explain the facts about acne. First step, detox my diet and stop eating dairy. Next, use the same products consistently, and don’t jump around — it’ll only confuse your skin and make the problem worse! Finally, while your skin is healing use a green-tinted primer to counter redness, calm the skin and help makeup adhere to your face. Her favorite? Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer, Adjust.
After a facial that included extractions, a vitamin C mask, and major pore-clearing steam, the specialists at Mario Badescu sent me home with skin care regimen that would (gently) knock the stripes off a zebra. The lineup includes Cucumber Cream Soap, made with cucumber to soothe redness and irritation associate with acne; Special Cucumber Lotion, a toner I use as soon as I step out of the shower which helps dry out breakouts with 4 percent isopropyl alcohol; and Herbal Hydrating Serum, an oil-free secret weapon that contains ginseng extract, ginkgo extract, and ceramides to improve hydration and even skin tone.
After cleansing and toning, I mix a potent cocktail of the hydrating serum with an editor favorite,SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense and let the mixture soak into my skin for about five minutes before applying makeup.
I didn’t wake up with clear skin the next day but the initial improvements — fewer, and flatter acne spots — were encouraging. Now, a month later I can confidently say that my skin has changed — or, returned to normal. It’s been a month since I’ve awoken to volcano eruptions on my face and the desire to run and hide under a rock has waned.
The bottom line is this: Don’t call code red when you start to notice major breakouts — take a deep breath, and talk to a professional about an acne-fighting strategy that will work for you.
How do you deal with out-of-control acne that seems immune to treatment?