The Best Tips for Clear Skin
Top dermatologists weigh in on what really works to get a flawless complexion.
- Courtesy of Elle
I confess: I have canceled plans because of acne—occasionally even because of one lone pimple (usually a vexing shade of eye-catching scarlet and raised enough to cast its own shadow, but still). And I am not alone in my overreaction. Something about acne manages to drive the sanest among us to extreme measures. Even with a universe of products available nowadays to address it, we still turn to a cocktail of homegrown remedies and self-surgery to try to eradicate it—such as the fashion editor friend of mine who uses Monistat cream (yes, the yeast-infection treatment) as a weekly face mask, or the street-style darling I know who admits she spot-treats with Pepto-Bismol. But why raid other drugstore aisles when there's a whole row specifically dedicated to acne?
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Because we're desperate. "The conventional acne treatment for teenagers is to dry them out and get rid of the oil," says New York dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD. Although we have less sebum as we age, the oil we do have turns into a pore-clogging glue. "With adult acne, it's a problem with the oil chemistry. As hormones change, oil does too—becoming more viscous. And as it flows through the gland and out through the pore, it gets stuck." Sometimes, products designed to strip away oil just exacerbate acne by increasing inflammation. "Plus, when skin is dry, dead cells flake off, further blocking pores that already have a problem, leading to more acne."