I was lucky to have never suffered from spots as a teen. In my twenties my skin glowed to the extent that not a day went by without someone commenting on how clear it was. Along came the “Dirty Thirties” and with them the onset of regular outbreaks of angry, red cysts along my jawline and on my cheeks. Each one lasting for weeks at a time and leaving behind it a delightful dark spot as a permanent, or at the very least, a very long lasting memento of what had passed on my poor face.
Whilst my case is by no means full-on adult acne, it’s exceptionally annoying to have to deal with painful spots and lumps on a regular basis. My go-to remedy was always a dab of Clinique Anti- Blemish Solution once the spot had taken root and made a very confident appearance on my face. Whilst it did a good enough job of drying out the spot, and the surrounding skin, it never addressed the issue of the impending dark patch.
However, I recently had a major a-ha moment as I was writing a feature for a magazine where I received information from Dr. Adam Geyer, Kiehl’s Consulting Dermatologist on the subject of spots and scarring. “To reduce active acne and hyper-pigmentation, you need to target inflammation quickly, because the less time you allow the pimple to remain inflamed, the less likely it is to turn in to a brown spot. So when you first start to feel a little spot coming through, go right ahead and start applying your spot treatment and that will help to diminish the dark spot that follows.”
This is where I had been going wrong. I’d leave the spot to appear and then blast it with an alcohol-laden product which would no doubt exacerbate the inflammation before drying the spot- hence the inevitable dark spot.
I quickly changed my spot-fighting strategy and introduced Avène TriAcnéal treatment in to my regime. It contains a trio of acne-fighting, anti-inflammatory ingredients in a light cream texture that doesn’t make skin feel tight or dry: efectiose to reduce inflammation, retinaldehyde to target the pimple and glycolic acid to exfoliate and smooth skin’s surface. Whilst it is recommended for all-over use, I use it as a targeted spot treatment. Upon feeling that first tingle I quickly apply a little of this yellow cream directly on the spot and the surrounding area after cleansing. By morning, the tingling has either subsided and I’ve avoided a full-on zit, or the resulting spot is so minor that it usually clears up completely within a couple of days with no hint of a brown mark in sight.