Zap That Zit: How to Treat Stress Breakouts

We've all been there: your typically clear skin is suddenly broken out with an angry, red pimple and of course, it's right before a big event. Here's why it happens and what you can do about it. 

What It's From:
Stress

Why It Happens: 
Breakouts always seem to surface at the worst times (read: right before a big event) and, usually, with little to no time to get them under control. But, what most people don’t know is that pimples manifest over the course of weeks, if not months, and slowly show on the skin. When stress levels are heightened, there is an increase in oil production. “When the excess oil mixes with clogged pores it compounds everything and the result is a big acne bump,” says Manhattan Beach, CA, dermatologist Ashley Magovern, MD.

How To Fix It: 
Whenever a pimple arises, the best thing you can do is not pick at it. New York dermatologist Gerviase Gerstner, MD advises, “Stay out of the sun so it doesn’t scar.” The key to keeping acne at bay, especially if you are acne-prone, is to use a retinol or prescription-strength retinoid on a regular basis to keep your pores clean and the rate of cell turnover normalized.

At-Home Remedies:

  • Apply ice to the pimple for about 10 minutes every hour throughout the day to reduce inflammation underneath the skin.
  •  Use an anti-acne spot treatment or cortisone cream (cortisone cream isn’t as strong as an injection, but it acts similarly).

Doctor's Orders:  
Local shot of cortisone that is administered by your dermatologist works over 24 to 48 hours. “It drains the pimple and decreases inflammation that’s present so that it dwindles in size and severity much faster,” says Dr. Magovern.

Product Pick: 
Despite the fact that it’s a clay mask, DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask doubles as a spot treatment to quickly clear up unsightly blemishes on the skin. $45, ddfskincare.com