We’ve all experienced that horrific moment: You wake up on the day you’ve been anticipating for months (your wedding, a date with that special someone, a major job interview) only to discover a nasty blemish has taken shape smack in the middle of your face. While it might feel like the end of the world, all you need are a few quick tricks and the right products to bring down big red and regain your confidence. Here’s your go-to guide for emergency zit damage control:
Step 1: Don’t Panic
While you might be toying with wearing a paper bag over your head, now is not the time to panic. Stress can only aggravate inflamed skin, making your zit all the more menacing. Channel your inner zen, and take a few deep breaths before treating your breakout.
Step 2: Ice Ice Baby
Keep calm, and put ice on. Minimize swelling by applying an ice pack to the blemish for five to 10 minutes. The ice will reduce inflammation and decrease the size of your spot—and consequently its lifespan.
Step 3: Clean Scene
Clean your face thoroughly, and prep your pores for treatment. Wash your face with warm water to open pores, and opt for a gentle cleanser like Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator so as not to irritate your blemish. The mild cleanser includes gentle beads plus glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which works to wash away impurities and kill bacteria. After cleaning your face well, pat skin dry with a clean towel.
Step 4: Administer Treatment
One of the best ways to take down an untimely blemish is to kill acne-causing bacteria with a mega dose of benzoyl peroxide. Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment is the only acne treatment with patented Smart Target™ technology, which is designed to pull the medication into the pores faster and deeper than their original formula. Apply a couple pumps to your entire face, and allow the treatment to fully absorb into the skin.
Step 5: Stay Hydrated
Ensure your skin remains supple and even toned during treatment by applying a medicated moisturizer. Proactiv+ Complexion Perfecting Hydrator includes skin-clearing salicylic acid, and the nutrient-rich formula also helps improve overall radiance.
Step 6: Conceal While You Clear
Now that you’ve ensured your bump is receiving round-the-clock care, apply a small dab of concealer to the spot using clean fingers or a cotton swab. For expert coverage, apply thin layers of concealer and allow each layer to set into skin. For all-day coverage, set your look with translucent powder.
Step 7: An Ounce of Prevention
While there isn’t a cure for acne, blemishes (even the really annoying ones) are treatable and preventable. Avoid doing damage control in the future with a routine you can depend on daily. Proactiv+ 3-Step System has been shown to work 4 times faster† than the leading prescription. Plus, the breakthrough system not only treats and helps prevent breakouts, but it actually improves the overall look and feel of your skin. When you follow the 3-Step System daily, you’ll enjoy a more visibly hydrated, even toned, radiant complexion all while helping to ensure you stay in the clear. In fact, 93% of users said they saw fewer acne blemishes and 90% said their skin’s brightness had improved after using Proactiv+ for just seven weeks.
†Study participants suffering from mild to moderate acne using the most commonly prescribed generic acne treatment gel (as of April, 2014) took 4 weeks to achieve approximately the same reduction in total lesion count as achieved by study participants after just 1 week’s use of PA+. After 12 weeks use, total lesion count reduction data between the same 2 groups showed that PA+ was still twice as fast.