Conquer Complexion Imperfections
Expert tips and targeted treatments to help clear up age spots, redness, and other skin saboteurs.
Thanks to stress and fluctuating hormones, pimples can surface even after
your kids have outgrown their teenage zits. More than a quarter of
40-something women and 15 percent of those 50 and older report having had adult
acne, according to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of
Hydrate first. Counter the drying effects of pimple medications by
rubbing on a noncomedogenic, oil-free lotion or an eye gel (which tends to be
non-oily) before concealing. "If you put cover-up on a dried-out blemish, it
looks like a frosted flake and attracts more attention," Arlt says. Give the
moisturizer about a minute to sink in, then apply concealer with a small brush
or clean finger. Those with salicylic acid, such as Physicians Formula Blemish
Rx ($9, drugstores), help fight inflammation and keep pores clear during
healing. Brush on a little at a time to get plenty of coverage without
Multitask. To form, acne requires a perfect storm of clogged pores,
bacteria, and inflammation. You'll get the best treatment results if you attack
it on all fronts, Dr. Kunin says. A regimen to consider: Twice a day, unblock
pores with a 2 percent salicylic acid cleanser such as Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne
Stress Control Power-Cream Wash ($8, drugstores). Kill bacteria and sop up oil
with a 10 percent benzoyl peroxide spot treatment like Clearasil Ultra Rapid
Action Treatment Cream ($10, drugstores). And apply a sulfur mask a few times a
week to draw out excess oil; try Proactiv Clear Purifying Mask ($20,
proactiv.com), an odor-free, sulfur-based face mask. Once skin calms down,
maintain results with easy-to-use salicylic acid pads such as Dr. Brandt
Blemishes No More Cleansing Pads ($25 for 60, Sephora).
See your M.D. Adult acne can be persistent — and resistant to
treatment. So if an at-home regimen doesn't clear up skin within a few months
(or you want to skip a few steps), talk to a dermatologist about Rx retinoids.
Along with building collagen to smooth wrinkles, these multitaskers exfoliate
skin to keep your complexion clear. Prescription retinoids can be irritating,
but you can tailor their use — applying the solution every other night instead
of nightly, for example. Expect to see results within a few months.
For breakouts seemingly immune to other therapies, oral antibiotics are
another option. So is prescription Aldactone, which is typically used as a
diuretic, but has anti-testosterone effects that prevent excess oil production.
Dr. Marmur calls this drug her "magic bullet" for squelching hormonal acne.