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3 Ways to Prevent an Acne Breakout (and 3 Ways to Cover One Up)

Have you ever wondered how you can prevent a breakout before it happens?

How about how to cover one up after it happens?

I know that I often have little annoying blemishes that just won’t go away!

I've found 3 great tips that can help us from keeping these pesky annoyances from occurring and what we can do once we have them.

Simply stated, acne is caused by overactive oil glands, bacteria, and dead skin cells which lead to inflammation in pores.

Furthermore, oil glands become stimulated by our hormones which results in enlargement of the oil glands.

Acne, Pimple, and Breakout Prevention

Let's start with the simple tips.

When you're washing your face, be sure to use a washcloth or towel that you save only for your face.

You don't want to spread germs around.

Also, wash your hands before you use them to scrub your face!

Be careful not to over-scrub your face, for too much pressure can also cause irritation and breakouts.

If you have a blemish, be sure not to poke or squeeze at it.

That can cause swelling, redness, and even scarring - ouch!

Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH, director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, states that:

“This is especially true for patients with darker skin, who often end up with dark spots at the sites of pimples-it’s actually called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH generally improves over time, but very slowly.”

How Can I Prevent and Treat Acne?

Salicylic acid has been a longtime favorite in the anti-acne game, and with good reason!

This ingredient helps to exfoliate the skin and fade dark spots, meaning faster healing (and disappearing) of your acne scars.

You can find many products that spotlight this ingredient on its own, or that combine it with other skin brightening ingredients for targeted results.

I am a huge fan of SkinCeuticals' Advanced Pigment Corrector that combines salicylic acid with hydroxyphenoxy proprionic acid and elegiac acid, which work to prevent future hyperpigmentation and discoloration of the skin.

The two main ingredients that can help prevent and treat acne are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

Salicylic acid helps to lightly remove dead skin cells while benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria.

For example, I use Epicuren's Medicated Acne Cleanser.

This cleanser has salicylic acid in it and also contains aloe vera - which is very calming.

A lot of companies make benzoyl peroxide scrubs which can also be an excellent tool to help prevent and treat acne.

There are, indeed, cleansers that work beautifully to also help lighten acne scars, while preventing future breakouts - another one of my favorites being Eminence Organics Bright Skin Cleanser.

Why?

Because this fabulous product deeply cleanses the skin and uses innovative ingredients to brighten and even your skin tone, meaning you can lighten your dark spots and remove pigmentation issues while you cleanse.

Another tip to help keep skin healthy is by having a well-balanced diet.

When you eat healthily, your skin benefits from getting ample amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Help! I Need a Doctor!

Sorry, there are just some people that Jessica Simpson cannot save with her “miracle” Proactive products (which usually work well, but only temporarily).

Depending on how bad your acne is, seeking a dermatologist may be necessary.

There several oral drugs, prescription topical medications, and therapies.

Make sure you check with your dermatologist as soon as possible with severe acne - because waiting may cause permanent scarring.

How Can I Cover These Blemishes Up?

Valerie Monroe, magazine beauty director for O, the Oprah Magazine, says:

"Some people recommend a green concealer to counteract the red, but I find that unless I blend it so hard it disappears, it looks...green."

She suggests using a yellow-based undereye-type concealer.

Try not to go lighter in color than your skin, a common mistake.

And, avoid heaping on the translucent powder.

She states:

"If you're broken out, the worst thing you can do is to look like you've tried to cover it up."

The undereye concealer that I love to use is Youngblood's Ultimate Concealer which offers heavier coverage, eliminating the need to cake it on.

Tip #1: Don't Go Too Heavy - I know it can be tempting to layer on the skin-brightening product, but the truth is: patience is your friend.

Even the most natural skin brighteners can cause skin irritation when used in excess.

So, what is an impatient soul to do?

If your treatment isn't working as quickly as you'd like it to, you have two options:

  • Option 1: Talk to your esthetician or dermatologist! It's very likely that they'll be able to recommend a product or treatment to help speed up results. If you're given a product or prescription to help achieve results sooner, be sure to follow your skincare professional's instructions. Always contact your skin care professional if you notice any negative reactions on your skin.
  • Option 2: Find a makeup routine that'll help to conceal your acne scars. They may still be there (though healing over time), but you won't be fixating on how they look once they are properly covered up.

Tip #2: Primer is Your Friend - Are you one of the thousands of people who write primer off as a luxury?

Well, think again!

Primer is fantastic, not only for filling in fine lines and wrinkles and smoothing out the skin - but also for filling in acne scars, creating a smoother canvas for your foundation or concealer.

I've been loving Dermalogica's Hydrablur Primer, which minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and mattifies against oily shine and imparts a silky, luminous finish to the skin.

This formula can even be worn alone on those days when you just don't feel like wearing foundation.

Tip #3: Find the Right Concealer - There are millions of concealers out there, so I totally understand if finding "the one" can seem daunting.

My tip?

Look for formulas that are geared towards covering scars and blemishes (yes, these totally do exist).

Glo Skin Beauty Camouflage Oil Free is a fantastic option.

It's recommended for all skin types, tones, and conditions, but is particularly beneficial for hyperpigmentation, acne, blemishes, and yes, scars!

How can I suppress my red pigmentation from my blemish? Here's a secret tip I use: If you want to cover up your blemishes, try using a dab of Visine followed by a green color corrector to cancel the red.

Not many people know about this cover-up, but the ingredients are one of a kind.

What Makeup Should I Use to Help With Acne, Zits, and Pimples?

When finding a makeup line to use, try finding a line that is mineral-based.

Look for keywords such as “non-comedogenic,” “non-acne forming,” and “won’t clog pores.”

It's best to stay clear of cosmetics that contain cornstarch, shea butter, cocoa butter, and isopropyl myristate.

Mineral-based makeup lines don't absorb into the skin like other makeups would.

Because of this, there shouldn’t be any inflammation or clogged pores.

Makeup companies that focus on certain ingredients such as zinc oxide are better for you skin, and may cost a little more, but are worth it in the long run.

For example, Glo Skin Beauty, Youngblood, Colorescience, and La Bella Donna are great lines that I carry in my store that are mineral-based.

I use La Bella Donna and Glo Skin Beauty mostly because of their focus on ingredients.

A hugely frustrating part of concealing imperfections is finding that your makeup has moved during the day.

You can combat this by simply setting your makeup into place!

Thankfully, there are many different ways to do this. ;)

If you want to set your makeup while getting some SPF protection, reach for COOLA's Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30.

If you've already got your SPF on and would prefer not to layer on another round, Model in a Bottle (which is loved by many celebs, including the beautiful Oprah) is a definite go-to.

They offer two formulas, one original and one sensitive for those who need something a little more gentle!

If sprays are not in your comfort zone, opt for a setting powder!

One thing to consider when seeking out a powder is you want matte formulas.

Many will offer light-reflecting properties that, while beautiful, may emphasize acne scarring if the skin is dented or inflamed.

I love YoungBlood's Loose Mineral Rice Setting Powder for a soft, matte finish.

Final Thoughts

While acne breakouts can be frustrating, they're treatable and can be covered up with the right products.

Try adding the products I recommended to your beauty arsenal!

Do you have any makeup tips for covering pimples? Any questions about acne? Leave a comment!

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