They hit it with chemical weapons
To tackle a flare-up at home, dermatologists don’t head to the corner drugstore. Instead, they use Rx-strength treatments (that you can order online). “I use our Vanish Spot Treatment, which contains a potent blend of salicylic acid and other pore-clearing ingredients,” says Eric Schweiger, MD, New York Dermatologist and founder of Schweiger Dermatology Group. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that’s FDA-approved to unclog pores. “It goes on clear so can be applied during the day.”
For really painful red pimples, Sandra Lee, MD, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, reaches for a topical corticosteroid and/or a topical acne spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide, like her SLMD Spot Treatment. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing P. acnes bacteria, which causes acne, and by preventing pores from becoming blocked over time. (Don’t miss Dr. Pimple Popper’s best acne-fighting advice.)
For daily prevention, Nicholas Perricone, MD, board-certified dermatologist, nutritionist and founder of PerriconeMD, recommends using a with a superstar blend of five acne-fighting ingredients: alpha lipoic acid, DMAE, glycolic acid, zinc, and salicylic acid. “This keeps skin fresh and clean and prevents build-up of excess oils,” he explains. You can find these ingredients in PerriconeMD’s Intensive Pore Treatment.
These are the sneaky reasons you could be breaking out.
They go under the needle
You’ve got a big date or an important presentation in two days and wham: A ginormous red pimple takes up residence in a not-so-obscure place on your face. Put down the DIY recipe and don’t even think about manhandling it. Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist STAT. “If a zit arises before I have an important event, and I need it to be GONE in 24 hours, I’ll reach for a cortisone injection which I inject directly into the culprit,” admits Dr. Lee, who is, after all, Dr. Pimple Popper. Dr. Schweiger is also a friend to the cortisone injection. It’s the quickest way to bring down inflammation from an oncoming blemish in about 24 hours.”
They shine a light
If their acne gets a bit more serious and they need some additional expert muscle to clear up a breakout, Dr. Schweiger will head into his office for photodynamic therapy. “I’m a big fan of this therapy, which uses a blue light to activate a medication called 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA),” he says. “It shrinks the sebaceous, or oil-producing glands of the skin, which in turn reduces acne by decreasing the amount of oil in each pore.”