Even the most radiant of us is not immune from the fluctuating hormones, accidentally clogged pores, and genetic predispositions that set the stage for occasional acne breakouts. Whether you have a single pimple or are looking at a constellation, topical treatments can help — delivering powerful cleansing ingredients directly to the area of ​​skin in question.

“The goal of acne treatment is to reduce damage by shortening the duration of the lesion and reducing the risk of long-term effects, such as discoloration or scarring,” says dermatologists. Terrence Keaney, MD, based in Alexandria, Virginia. The precise approach means that the rest of your skin avoids contact with the strategic ingredient mix, thus avoiding unnecessary irritation.

Getting the best results from your topical treatments can be a matter of time — namely, the sooner you start using, the better. “If you can apply topical treatments at the first sign of breakouts, ingredients can sometimes penetrate deep enough to minimize blemish growth,” says the Los Angeles esthetician. there. Cynthia Franco, who counts? Salma Hayek and Weekend among her clients.

Salicylic acid is often (though not always) the headline in these formulations; It is a unique oil-soluble ingredient with the ability to penetrate clogged pores while gently exfoliating the surface. “However, it needs to be combined with a moisturizer so as not to dry out the skin,” adds Keaney. He recommends looking for ingredients that can also calm post-acne inflammation, such as niacinamide.

While liquid topical treatments are the most common, you can also find patches and patches that are often made from hydrocolloid dressings — the same material used to promote wound healing. love. It does double duty to both protect the breakout in question and to block acne-fighting ingredients inside the skin. In fact, says Keaney, “hydrocolloid enhances penetration of active ingredients into the skin.”

Whichever format you choose, your acne treatment should come last. “I always think it’s best to continue with a full skin care regimen that includes cleansing, toning, and moisturizing before a topical treatment,” says Franco. Sticking to your usual routine, including moisturizer, prevents the affected area from becoming too dry or potentially irritated — this only adds to the inflammation.

For your next false breakout, these treatments can help you reach sanity more quickly.

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