ZITS: 5 Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency Tricks

As I sit here with a blemish so large that I may end up naming him (Thor? Steve? Brutus?), about to get my Kenalog Injection, it occurred to me that I may want to share a few of my emergency acne treatment ideas.

Yes, it’s true. Even the skincare-obsessed (and skincare professional) will get the occasional blemish. If you are like me, you might have a fabulous dermatologist in your back pocket.  A quick and almost-painless injection of a steroid and will have you like new in 24-48 hours. What I have is called Kenalog- it’s a glucocorticoid corticosteroid meant for intralesional, (meaning: in-the-zit-itself), injection.

This is one of the best ‘break glass in case of emergency’ treatments before weddings/prom/reunions. There’s risk of a scar when you have these injections, so talk it out with your doc. Sometimes the blemish itself threatens a scar, like when it’s big enough to have its own name. So depending on your situation, despite the risk you may still opt for the shot.

Don’t have a derm? No time for an appointment?

Here are 5 of my top at-home emergency blemish treatments:

Acne Arsenal: Here are a handful of my fave blemish-fighters

Acne Arsenal: Here are a handful of my fave blemish-fighters

Over-the-counter hydrocortisone: 

(I prefer the cream version, but it’s also available in an ointment form) you can apply hydrocortisone 1% a couple times a day for up to 7 days to help reduce inflammation and redness.

Ice, Ice, Baby (better yet, cool packs):

Reduce inflammation by holding a cool pack on for 15 minutes at a time, or as long as is comfortable. It’s good to do while you’re checking email or watching a movie.

Don't forget your 20% off coupon! Super Cutie Cool Packs at Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Don’t forget your 20% off coupon! Super Cutie Cool Packs at Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Tretinoin (aka Retin-a):

If you have some of this (generally for use all over the facial skin at night) I have found that if you use a dab during the day, it can help to flatten things out a bit faster. Tretinoin is typically for anti-aging and /or acne treatment and prevention- it’s a power house prescription. If you don’t happen to have any laying around, Salicylic Acid is always a good one to dry and flatten things out. I love Obagi’s Clenziderm MD Pore Therapy.

Anti-histamines:

Try taking Benedryl or Claritin, if its appropriate for you (i.e, your md says you’re good to go) … It’s all about reducing the inflammation!

Um, yuck. Murder those anaerobic bacteria jerks with BPO

Um, yuck. Murder those anaerobic bacteria jerks with BPO

BPO:

Benzoyl Peroxide products are awesome for prevention and treatment of the pustule-type of lesions… the yucky ones with the ‘head’ on them. This is because BPO works by bringing oxygen in to murder the anaerobic (O2-hating) bacteria in the follicles. A crazy awesome Rx version is called Acanya, otherwise my fave and most-recommended BPO is Obagi’s Therapeutic Lotion.

Of course, always follow the recommendations of your own skin care professional or physician- and may the force be with you!

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