The Spot

6 Ways to Ghost Zits & Maskne and Never Call Them Back

By Vivian Markel

POV: You’re playing a volleyball game. The ball is an incoming zit. You’re the zit blocking player. The opposing team (a.k.a. hormones, election/general life stress, bacteria, excess oil production, etc.) is going in for the kill. The ball hovers just over the net on your side. You gracefully use your tiny power moves to spike and block that volleyball zit from your face, sending it to the opponent’s floor and winning the match against breakouts. 

Apologies for the dramatized POV. You get the idea. Keep scrolling for some tiny but mighty power moves to incite a zit blocking smackdown and clearer, more radiant skin.

Don’t trip—just use acids

A highly effective way to keep the zits at bay is to regularly use a face mask like PRESS REFRESH, packed with deep-diving acids. Not everyone may need exfoliating acids, but if you lean acne-prone, acids are your church of worship. The three most effective acids for breakout-prone skin are salicylic acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid.

These three powerhouse components melt zit-causing debris/impurities, unclog pores and exfoliate the dead skin cell layer leaving a fresh layer of new skin with a more even color/tone.The acids will usually result in a tingling sensation—this is good as you know they're literally just vibing and doing their thing. PRESS REFRESH is known to elicit such satisfying sensations.

The two AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) of the trio are the sensational lactic and glycolic acid. This dynamic duo essentially eats away the dead skin cells (hence the tingling sensation) sitting on the surface of your skin. Even though lactic and glycolic acid are both AHAs and both exfoliate the surface, they each have separate special talents as well. Glycolic acid has been shown to lighten and brighten the skin while simultaneously stimulating collagen production for anti-aging benefits. Lactic acid has been found to increase ceramide production, having a moisturizing effect while evening skin tone.

Our favorite BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid), salicylic acid, is famous in the Zitty Committee for a reason. A variety of topicals—including PRESS REFRESH—contain salicylic because it has proven time and time again to alleviate both inflammatory and noninflammatory blemishes...sometimes even overnight. It works its magic by exfoliating inside your pores to remove dead skin cells, excess oil and sebum. 

Did we mention salicylic and its other ingredient friends are the perfect mask for maskne? Which brings us to our next point... 

Wash your mask 
Unfortunately, we’re in the era of ‘rona, so maintaining a hygienic face mask has become a part of our strange new daily tasks. Not only do we want to protect ourselves and others from this virus, but we also want to create a healthy environment for our skin. While the fall season is rapidly creeping up on us, the summer heat is still holding on for dear life. Zit-inducing bacteria thrives in wet, warm climates, which is essentially the condition within our masks. Not only are we getting that heated moisture from just breathing, but we’re also perspiring due to the outside heat. Whether you’re blemish-prone or not, this can be !problematic!. Letting the bacteria build up from the heat and not washing your mask is, in essence, an INVITATION for blemishes. A cordial invitation! We recommend washing your mask daily by simply soaking it with hot water and a little detergent—or throwing it in your washing machine if you’re feeling fancy. And if any of those unwanted guests show up, we suggest calling on that mask for maskne we mentioned. *ahem* PRESS REFFRESH

Change that pillowcase  
Why spend pretty pennies on skincare if you’re going to sleep on a filthy pillow every night? The average person spends about 26 years of their life sleeping. On that note, do not—and we cannot stress this enough—do not underestimate the buildup on your pillowcase. Even if you’re (hopefully) going to sleep with a clean face, you may not be able to avoid hair product residue, oil, makeup you missed, dead skin cells, etc. Now that we’ve probably scared the living zits out of you, let’s talk about cleaning frequency. We recommend changing or washing your pillowcase at least once a week. If you’re oily or breakout-prone, we recommend washing or changing your pillowcase every few days. 

Give yourself a mental break
Hi hello hey. Just popping in to *gently* remind you, yet again, to give yourself a break. This is a message we’re hearing constantly (especially during the age of COVID). But! Are we really absorbing it? When we don't prioritize our mental health, it can reveal itself on our face. Stress-ne is a real thing. A study was performed in 2017 to learn about the correlation between stress and breakouts among female medical students. The study looked at 144 female medical students aged between 22-24 years of age, and found that stress acuteness heavily correlated with an increase in breakouts. 

Even during *precedented times*, we still need to listen to our bodies and learn how to acknowledge when it’s time to stop what we’re doing, and do something that rejuvenates ourselves. Ask yourself, what makes you feel like you again? Is it taking a soothing bath? Going on a walk? (Safely) Hanging out with a couple of your best mates? Painting? Do what you need to do to manage your stress and recharge your mental battery.

Eat healthy fats
Research has shown that consuming higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to decrease inflammatory factors. Basically, eating more foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help minimize breakouts! They can reduce the risk of breakouts by diminishing insulin-like growth factor levels and also preventing rapid shedding of the skin cells which can lead to the creation of zit lesions.

So what’s high in covetable omega-3 fatty acids?! Here’s just a quick list to help you on your next grocery run:

  • Fish: Salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna
  • Nuts/seeds: Sunflower seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds
  • Plants: Avocado, brussel sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower
  • Oils: Flaxseed oil
  • ZitSticka's acne-specific supplement, SKIN DISCIPLINE, contains sustainably sourced, triple-distilled fish oil obtained from the Southern Pacific oceans. This guardian angel helps to block pro-inflammatory molecules and aid skin cell recovery. 

Wash your face thoroughly
We have great faith that you know how vital it is to wash your face. But are you washing it thoroughly; optimally?! First of all, what is your skin type. If you have dry skin, you’ll want to avoid cleansers that strip the skin or are meant for oily skin types and vice versa. Now, to begin the actual washing—wet your face with lukewarm water. Do not entertain the idea of hot water, please, as it can dry out and irritate the skin. Next, apply your face cleanser and wash your face long enough to actually remove all the makeup, dirt and oil from the day. Washing your face for 10-15 seconds will not cut it, friends. Try to stick to the 60-second rule when cleansing to ensure you’ve removed all the nasty gunk from the day off your face. 

PSA: If you’re double cleansing, we recommend splitting the 60 seconds into 30 seconds per cleanser to avoid drying out the skin.

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