Dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD (aka Dr. Pimple Popper), might be famous for getting rid of zits, but her advice can keep them from creeping up at all.
If you must pop, do it right
Leave the pimple popping to the pros. Doing it yourself could make the swelling worse or lead to scarring, says board-certified dermatologist Sandra “Dr. Pimple Popper” Lee, MD. If you can’t resist, follow Dr. Lee’s mantra: “Know when to pop and know when to stop.” Messing with the red zits deep under the skin will only leave them even more inflamed. Wait until your pimple has come to a head, with a white center, or apply a warm compress to speed the process along, says Dr. Lee. When you’re ready to attack that sucker, start by washing your face and hands, and sterilize the pin with rubbing alcohol. Squeeze the pimple from all directions. The white and a bit of red will start to come out, but try not to overdo it, warns Dr. Lee. “The more you push, the more swelling you have,” she says. “But if you can, get all the pustules out.”
Keep your hands off
Even if you aren’t trying to pop a pimple, absentmindedly picking at it can be just as bad. If you tend to touch your face or scratch at your blemishes, try putting a small circle bandage over the spot to block your itchy fingers, suggests Dr. Lee. You could also add a dollop of a thick or tacky spot treatment, she says. Not only will it fight the pimple, but it will also remind you to keep your hands off. This is the best face wash for acne for every stage in life.
Use a lower SPF
Some greasy sunscreens can clog pores, but you don’t want to leave your skin vulnerable to sun damage. Still, this is one time when you might actually want to dial the protection down a notch. The higher the SPF, the heavier and more likely to clog pores, says Dr. Lee. Even though the American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF 30 or higher, Dr. Lee suggests SPF 15, the minimum recommended from the FDA, for daily use. “SPF 15 is actually a very good amount of sunscreen protection,” she says. “When you get higher than 15 or 30—which are pretty similar—50 or 100 is silly because it doesn’t protect you much more.” Try the daily moisturizer from Dr. Lee’s product line, SLMD. If you’re spending the day in the sun, though, go higher with SPF 30 to stay safe, she says.