You might think we have all the answers (or you might think we have space-cadet cereal for breakfast), but the truth is even we get stumped in the beauty department. Quite often, actually. Take Saturday for instance, when Emily’s 25 year-old brother texted her out of the blue:
What’s your go-to zit remedy? Be it product, or process.
Now, nothing—short of a zit—makes you feel as icky as letting your family down, but she simply did not have the answer. She had an answer, in her head (Squuueeeze!!! Squeeze until your eyes flood with tears!!!) but she knew it was the wrong one, and to Google anything with the word “zit” in it is opening a disgusting can of worms (believe us; we just did). Calling a dermatologist—a medical professional—surely yields some good, sound advice (see below), but that’s only one person’s advice, and there’s just no way that could be where the buck stops when it comes to blemish-blasting. So we did what anyone can do nowadays and took to social media, Instagram to be precise. The outcome? 259 comments: cures, tips, tricks from our friends who follow @IntoTheGloss, ranging from homeopathic (tea tree oil), to classic (Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion), to weird (blue toothpaste!). Here’s what we discovered:
#1 Cult Classic
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion: With a whopping 16 mentions, this salicylic acid, calamine, and camphor potion not only allows you to be your very own mixologist (grabbing hold of the pink sediment with the tip of a cotton swab while being instructed “DO NOT shake the bottle” is as close you’ll come to playing Operation in your bathroom), it promises to banish a whitehead by sunrise.
#1 Natural Remedy
Tea Tree Oil: It’s (almost) a tie!!! Apparently many a beauty aficionado (14 people, to be exact) swear by a dab of good ol’ tingly tea tree oil.
#1 Bizarre But Oddly Appealing Option
Crushed Aspirin: While three people recommended breaking open an Advil Liqui-Gel, seven suggested turning traditional aspirin into a paste with a few drops of water, applying to blemish, and leaving on for a few hours. It makes sense that the aspirin might take down the swelling. (?)
What You’ve Learned From Your Mother
Toothpaste: The famous, albeit incredibly weird, alternative is dabbing some toothpaste on your zit. No word yet on whether classic minty fresh vs. whitening makes any difference.
The Most Witch Doctor-esque Choice
Witch Hazel: Only three suggested this cure, one even noting that it may not work as quick as some of the other options but could be the answer for those with more sensitive skin.
Honorable Product Mentions: Hydrocortisone, Umbrian clay, glycolic acid, EndZit Drying Lotion, apple cider vinegar, benzoyl peroxide (2.5% or 5%), Mario Badescu Healing Powder, Neosporin, coconut oil, a Clarisonic, Therapeutic Sulfur Mask, Murad Clarifying Mask, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, Kate Somerville EradiKate.
The Doctor’s Orders
Dr. David Colbert (founder of ColbertMD Skincare) had some suggestions of his own and, after all, he did go to medical school for this, so he's probably someone to trust when it comes to matters of skin care. Not to mention that his NYC practice counts several Victoria's Secret Angels as clients. His advice to us:
For a small surface pimple with a pustule: “Dip a Q-Tip in alcohol, then firmly roll over the surface. Then apply some bacitracin.”
For multiple deep cystic-acne lesions: “Wash with benzoyl peroxide wash and consider calling your derm doc for a small course of antibiotics.”
For superficial blackheads: “Use two Q-Tips to gently try once to push them out. Then apply a dab of alcohol or toner. Or a light home fruit-acid peel.”
...And of course, tell us if we're missing any zit-zapping solutions. TELL US!
Image: Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years.