October’s issue of Tatler magazine looked at the problem of spots, interviewing Medicetics’ Dr Mullan and reviewing our Emergency Zit Zapper, which scored top marks.
It’s an issue we’re asked about all the time, so we’ve decided to expand on the piece, with the best course of action to take, while revealing the fact and fiction behind some common old wives tales.
1. Is it best to squeeze a spot?
Definitely not. Squeezing spots is a big ‘no’. It traumatises already inflamed skin and can easily worsen the infection. If there is a comedone (white head) gently cleanse it with a pad and acne cleanser like Cetaphil. A small dab of Retin A will help to dry the area out. Apply it twice a day.
If you have a deeper cystic type of spot we can treat these by inserting a sterile needle to release any pus and then “cyst blasting” any infection with a weak steroid and antibiotic solution.
2. Is it true that applying honey, lemon juice or toothpaste dries out blemishes?
Surprisingly, these old wives tales do have some basis in reality. Honey is anti-bacterial so may well help to reduce the bacterial infection. Lemon juice is a weak acid, so acts like a weak peel and often this will unblock pores by breaking down the comedone chemically. Toothpaste has anit-bacterial properties and again this may well help.
3. Is it true that chocolate causes spots?
We say ‘rubbish’. Spots certainly can be hormonal, so maybe women eat more chocolate when they are coming up to menstruation? That is the only real link I can think off. But that doesn’t mean the chocolate caused the spots.
4. Does wearing make-up make acne worse?
Heavy make-up that helps to block pores, reduce natural exfoliation and allows a build up of comedones on the skin certainly can make acne worse, but not all make-up is bad. Mineral make up can normally be worn without problem by many acne sufferers.
5. Will the sun help dry out spots?
It’s a BIG myth that sun is good for spots. If you have acne you should definitely wear a sunscreen. Acne is an inflammatory reaction and sun makes that inflammation even worse.
6. What sunscreen is best for acne sufferers for both daily use and more extreme sun on holiday?
Every day use we recommend chemical sunscreens that tend to be less heavy on the skin and there are a number of non comedogenic sunscreens, Agera daily moisturising SPF 25 is very good. Also, ROC aerosol with Minesol (the cream tends to be heavy). For strong sun La Roche Posay Anthelios is excellent.
7. Can the pill improve the appearance of acne?
Yes definitely. Dianette and Diane are the two specifically designed to help acne but you need to see your GP to get these.
8. What is the best way to disguise a spot?
We use Lycogel which is a medical camouflage. It has an anti inflammatory, very strong sunscreen and is silicon based so allows the skin to breathe. Otherwise, mineral make up.