Monday, 4 June 2012

BATTLING ACNE: Spot Treatments

MY TOP 5 ACNE SPOT TREATMENTS
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I suffer from annoying adult acne. It is very damaging to my self esteem: it makes me feel like a teenager again! When I have big breakouts, I always feel super self-conscious about them, like everyone is staring at *it* and nothing else. Acne is emotionally and physically painful, and sadly I have been battling it for over a year now. I had great clear skin when I was on hormonal birth control, but as soon as I went off it in Dec '10, my body went haywire and the result was cystic acne on my chin that came out in full force by May '11.
I have tried many acne-fighting products. This is a post dedicated to my favourite spot treatments!
Spot treatments are concentrated super-acne fighting gels and creams that you can use to target acne before it shows itself, and once it has appeared on your face. I am sure many of you can tell when and where you might be getting acne- it might start to swell a little bit or become sore. If you notice this, start treating your acne with a spot treatment RIGHT AWAY! Sometimes this early intervention will make the acne disappear completely, but not always.
I have 5 different spot treatment products that I use on a regular basis to fight acne:
DDF Acne Control Treatment is actually a sample that I got from Sephora with my 100 point redemption. It is small, but acne spot treatments last forever because you only need a dab! I like this product because it has a high % of salicylic acid (1.5%). This is a cream that goes on your skin white. It will absorb if you use it sparingly, and can be used during the day as such, or as a thicker cream for over-night treatment. This product will dry out the treated areas, but will reduce inflammation if used generously on spots over night.
SHISEIDO Pureness Blemish Clearing Gel is also salicylic acid based, but with only 0.5%. Pictured is a full-sized bottle which may look tiny, tiny but it usually lasts me a year. I get a new one every Christmas. I love this product because it is not overly drying. It also goes on completely clear and soaks right in, leaving behind no residue. It is perfect for using during the day to treat pimples because you can dab some on, leave it a minute and then apply your make up!
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil is a great natural way to combat acne! It smells quite strong, and it will dry out your skin. However, it is very cheap compared to the salicylic acid based spot treatments I use! I will lather this oil all over my shoulders if I am breaking out on my back-- since it is so cheap I do not feel bad being generous with it!  It diminishes inflammation very nicely.
Proactiv's Refining Mask is a godsend! I will wear this overnight on spots and when I wake up, they've either disappeared or shrunken drastically. This would be my #1 suggested spot treatment, although you cannot use it during the day with makeup. It is best used as a night treatment or as a facial mask. It smells like rotten eggs because it is sulfur based.
Retin-A can be used as a spot treatment, or an all-over treatment for problem zones as a preventative measure. It is very drying and could irritate sensitive skin. It is a prescription product that you cannot get unless a doctor prescribes it to you. I consider this a miracle product! It prevents acne, heals current spots much quicker, and helps fade acne scarring.
All of these products work. All of them are drying. I would say the Shiseido gel is the least drying, and probably the best one for sensitive skin. The refining mask and retin-A are the harshest on the skin as far as drying goes, but also the most effective. I use all five of these products continuously to combat my acne. 
I do not want to jinx it, but I've been cystic acne free for a month now. I attribute this to the following:
3. If I feel a pimple coming on, I treat it with proactiv's refining mask at night, and one of the other three spot treatments during the day. 
My vigilance is definitely helping me. When you are battling acne, you cannot be lazy in your routine- it has to be something you dedicate some time to. However, it is so worth it when you see results!!
Sadly I still cannot go makeup free because my chin has tons of scars from the last year of torturous acne I've endured. However, retin-A also helps skin regenerate faster so I am hoping it'll fade my scars quickly if I stop developing new acne!!! 

Tell me about your fave spot treatments- I know you have one? ;)
--S

P.S. don't forget to enter my 150 follower giveaway, featuring benefit, LUSH, Vasanti and Weleda!

33 comments:

  1. I think my favorite acne spot treatment is Origins. I don't get it so much on my face as I do my chest area, and it's great for helping it to heal!

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    1. yes I have a friend who uses the Origins spot treatment! I would definitely try it when my Shiseido one runs out IF it goes on clear and leaves behind no residue?

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  2. i have a few acne spot treatments but i find the one that i've been reaching most often for is the Neutrogena RapidClear Sore Pimple Gel. i usually use it before bedtime whenever i feel a throbbing pimple and by morning, the redness would be gone and it will look much smaller. it's drying and stings too though.

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    1. is that one salicylic acid based as well? what %? I really like the refining mask, I swear it has made some 'early' pimples I've felt coming on disappear!

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    2. it's 2% salicylic acid and goes on clear.

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  3. Your posts are always so informative and helpful! My favourite spot treatment is one by Simplicite Australia (an organic skincare company). It's their Rosemary Blemish Gel, and it is just amazing!

    Sharleena xx

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    1. ooh that sounds wonderful, Sharleena! I like the idea of using natural products but they HAVE to work .. or else! haha.

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  4. Thanks for the recommendations! Acne definitely is a bummer, but it's great that you've found so many products that do what they say they should. My usual go-to is the Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treatment when I have little bumps show up. Have you tried that one out? :)

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    1. ooh I like the sound of that one, it has a good name! I will check it out at Sephora when one of the ones here runs out- what is the base made of ? Is it a natural option like the tea tree oil?

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  5. I love these posts, so glad I read your review of Grease Lightening! One quick question for yea Steph, can you buy the Refining mask separately or does it come with the entire cleansing system? All the spot gel treatments I've tried all claim such wonderful things but they don't really work:( Just saying Clinique's (Acne Solutions SPot Gel Treatment) is no better! I really just want a miracle product to fade my scars!!

    Have an AWESOME day and many thanks for this <3

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    1. Yes, you can buy the refining mask by itself, that is how I got mine. I just went to a mall kiosk and asked for a tube of refining mask!
      Definitely try retin-A for fading your scars, that is the best thing I've found. I haven't had luck with other 'dark spot correctors' sadly.

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    2. Good to know - I was wondering the same thing about buying parts of the Proactive system individually. I've heard good things about the toner (because of the Glycolic Acid) and the mask.

      Have you used the queen Helene mint julep mask? I wonder how it compares to the proactive one (I got my my mint julep mask in the US, haven't really seen it here).

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    3. Ella, I have not tried the mint julep mask, although I have heard good things about it. I have used other mint based masks before, but they were meant for blackheads etc., not deeper pimples and acne.

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  6. I complete and utterly understand your problems. I am now battling adult acne too, but I'm winning the fight! I've been going to the dermatologist monthly, and finally went on accutane for a second round which has remarkably cleared up my acne but now I have TONS of scars all over my chin, jawline and cheeks :( I strongly suggest accutane, if you go to a dermatologist you should ask about it.

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    1. I am going to be honest: accutane is horrible for you. It should be used as an absolute LAST resort and only in the most severe circumstances. That is my opinion based on the research I have done. I like to try to stay away from drugs such as accutane (and prescription anti biotics for acne)- I would rather have acne than risk harming my body in the long term. I even feel guilty using retin-A, but it is a vitamin so I justify it.

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    2. Well it was the last resort for me, but you're right it is horrible. I'm like dry skin and lips city from this. But this is the only thing that works for me, and when my acne started to hurt me really bad that's when I said I'd go on it for a second time. I wish all the vitamin and the retin-A worked for me like it did you. I'm not sure if they sell this brand in Canada but Acne-free is a pretty good acne system. It work pretty well for me, well as well as it could.

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  7. FANTASTIC post! I have spots I would love to get rid of and have never thought to use the Proactive mask for it. I hate the smell and avoid using it because of it, but now I'll give it a try.

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    1. yes, I hate the smell too. it is SO yucky. but it works, so I deal with it haha.

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  8. Great post! I love that Refining Mask! I used to use it all the time when my skin was going crazy! It works wonders! :)

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    1. it is SUCH a great product. I am so glad I discovered it.

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  9. This is pretty damn conveniently timed by you - I have a huge spot that needs attending too! Thanks for your tips you reminded me I had a sample of the ProActiv face mask stashed away for such occassions!

    http://superficialsydney.blogspot.com.au/

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    1. hurray! use it as an over night spot treatment 'til the annoying spot goes away :)

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  10. Never tried anything from Proactive. Got a couple of full-size and a few samples of the Pureness range from Shiseido, and it's awesome! And the teeny tubes do last a really long while :D Thankfully, one benefit of getting older (for an oily skin girl) is that I get hardly any pesky breakouts..yayy :D

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  11. I have some annoying white pimples around my mouth. they are really really small, but I don't know how to get rid of them *bleak

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  12. Thanks to you, I use the Shiseido gel like my life depended on it! Like you, I went off the pill about six months ago and the acne is killing me! Though, I've been wanting to try the ProActive refining mask, but I'm not sure I could take the smell of rotten eggs, but from everything that I've been hearing about it, I might have to just suck it up!

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  13. Very helpful post. I love using tea tree oil on my blemishes. I dab a bit on them, then in a few hours the spot size is a lot smaller. Its deffinately a life saver!

    http://simplebeautybag.blogspot.co.uk/

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  16. If you are looking for an EXCLUSIVE Proactiv 60 day risk free trial check out proactivclear.ca. We will throw in two free gifts and free shipping! No obligation, the only thing you have to loose is acne!

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  17. The Grapefruit Acne Spot Treatment from Citrus Clear will shrink the size and redness of acne in one day. I first bought it to treat new spots, and it worked so well I now use it everyday as my regular acne treatment. I have always had moderate acne, but I haven't had a single breakout since I started using this product. I've tried everything, including Proactive, but all of the other products were too harsh. It did dry out my skin a little, but not nearly as much as other products I've tried. I know it's only supposed to be used to treat spots, but I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good acne medication.

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  18. The best skin inflammation treatment for your particular instance of pimple inflamation is to be picked consistent with your skin sort by giving careful consideration to all the Acne treatment delhi in the market.

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