I Haven't Broken Out in Months—Here's What I Use When I Feel a Pimple Brewing
I'm not going to lie—I have pretty unproblematic skin. With my comprehensive skincare routine, it stays relatively soft, even, and bright. That being said, I am someone who used to break out more than I'd like. Usually, around my period, hormonal breakouts would flare up, of the painful, super-red cystic variety. That, and I'd have a pretty consistent congestion problem along my nose and chin. It wasn't earth-shattering, but it was annoying enough that I sought help with a treatment and prevention plan.
That plan, of course, came from Renée Rouleau, a celebrity esthetician who has become more like my skincare fairy godmother. She diagnosed my specific skin type (you can get a virtual consult on her website) and suggested ingredients and formulas that would help clear my skin and prevent those same breakouts from happening again.
"You have combination skin that requires a careful blend of non-drying, pore-clearing exfoliants with hydrating antioxidants, and skin-brightening botanicals," she said of my skin. "This will bring a perfect balance to your skin. Ingredients like natural elderberry, stable vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and salicylic acid will reveal clearer skin."
The thing is, prescribed skincare plans oftentimes don't always work for me. Or I get bored using the same products over and over. But this time, it was different. I followed her advice, incorporating the offerings she suggested into my routine whenever I felt a breakout brewing—and it worked. I can confidently tell you I haven't broken out in months. Below, find the products I use to keep pimples from happening and why they're particularly special.
My Go-To Products
When I feel a breakout coming on (or I've been particularly sweaty all day), I'll cleanse with Tata Harper's first-ever foaming face wash. It's all-natural and features 17 ingredients, including foaming sugars to remove buildup from the skin, broccoli extract for eliminating toxins and impurities, and fennel to flush away dead skin cells and pollution. It feels super tingly (there's some ginger in there), and the "refreshed, clean" feeling lasts all day.
This tool is for when I want to bring out the big guns. If a breakout is big, long-lasting, and doesn't look like it'll just heal on its own with a few lotions and potions, I zap it with this pink number. Espada It features blue light and T-Sonic pulsations to target bacteria. The pulsations begin when you put the device to your skin and gradually increases in speed for 30 seconds. I do a few rounds and pray.
"I don't break out often, but when I do, it's always a pesky lone zit somewhere really obvious like my forehead, cheek, or chin. In times like these, I reach for Medik8 Betagel. I discovered this under-the-radar product on a deskside years ago, and ever since it got rid of an annoying forehead breakout I was grappling with overnight, it's been my zit-zapping go-to. I also love that it's made with azelaic acid, which brightens any scarring your breakout might leave behind—so you're zapping and preventing at the same time. You can read my full review here." — Faith Xue, editorial director
"I'm a huge fan of straight-up tea tree oil for blemishes. I have very dry skin that is prone to a little sensitivity as well, so most blemish treatments either dry me out too much, cause redness, or both. (I've also found that the acne-specific formulas from my favourite natural brands don't really do enough.) But I am slightly prone to hormonal breakouts on my chin, and tea tree oil is the only thing that does the trick for me. I just dab a bit on with a Q-tip before I go to bed, and by morning, the zits have dried up. Then it's a little vitamin C serum to tackle any discolouration and I'm good to go." — Victoria Hoff, wellness editor
For more, read about the specific skincare routine that helped our assistant editor clear up her acne-prone skin.