Let’s be real: Nature can be a fickle lady. Your complexion will look gorgeous for weeks, but the day before a big event and bam! You’re hit with a blemish so unsightly you consider renting a masquerade mask or swear to yourself you’ll hide behind the tiki bar for the duration of your best friend’s wedding.
Rest assured there’s a way to rescue yourself from caking on concealer and contemplating your hat rack. Blemishes are a common nuisance and while that fact alone doesn’t make them any less annoying, their prevalence does mean that there’s a bunch of different ways to banish these exasperating spots:
Seriously. Most blemishes usually arise during times of stress. (There really is a reason why they have a tendency to pop up right before an interview or a hot date.) The more nervy you get, the more cortisol your body makes, leading to an increased production of oil in your skin (read: the ideal environment for pimples).
And Wash On
Use a gentle cleanser that’s free of parabens and other skin-irritating ingredients and follow your rinse with a toner: it’ll remove whatever residue might remain on your face and give you a good dose of skin-salvaging nutrients.
Soak It In
When your skin is oily, you might think that you should forego moisturizer—after all, applying cream so seems to have as much logic as dousing a slice of pizza with extra oil. But the opposite holds true: the more chaos your skin is in, the more pampering it needs. Nourish it with an all-natural moisturizer that contains ingredients like Kukui nut and coconut oil, pure Zen in a jar.
The more hydrated you are, the faster your skin will bounce back. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day, particularly before a big event. Bonus tip: add a slice of lemon, as the acidity lends itself to quicker detoxification.
Don’t Be Picky
Wear mittens and hide the tweezers if you must—the last thing you want to do is pick at your spot. It may worsen the appearance of the blemish, place you at risk for infection, and create more spots than a Dalmatian. As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler puts it, “When you are squashing a pimple, you’re often pushing stuff back down into your skin when you squeeze. So even if you get that one out, you might be irritating another one right next to it.”
Applying ice to an icky spot will not only deter you from messing with it, it’ll also reduce the side effects of inflammation. Wrap an ice cube in a clean washcloth and apply it directly to the spot for five minutes—just enough time to let your party-ready nail polish dry.
Is your spot still redder than a cherry? Try this clever trick from dermatologist Dr. Michael Lin: apply eye drops to the blemish. The hydrochloride in the solution constricts blood vessels, diminishing the appearance of pimples.
You might say that it’s a bit too late, but killing bacteria even after a blemish has emerged will reduce its appearance—and prevent more from spreading. Wash your pillowcases, makeup brushes, and hands. Even if they look clean, they’re often swarming with skin-clogging bacteria.
You might be tempted to hit the patio or pool, hoping a dose of sunlight will dry out your skin and give you enough of a tawny glow to camouflage your spots. In a word: Don’t. Sunlight will only aggravate your acne, deepen your dark spots, and provoke inflammation.
Conceal and Set
If all else fails, turn to every woman’s most trustworthy friend: makeup. Use a yellow-based concealer to tone down redness and blend it into the skin surrounding the blemish to make the cover-up appear more natural. Finish off with translucent powder to keep your concealer intact.