Zits: One of those helpful daily reminders that life tends toward chaos and pain. Even better? They come in all different varieties, each requiring their own special treatment. That’s where this acne chart comes in handy:
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These illustrations cover everything from those deep, inflamed pimples you get around your chin to the dreaded Rudolf, a nose pimple. And while we’re impressed by the generally good instincts of the Reddit user who created it, we reached out to Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, for his take on this advice. Most of it checked out, but he did have a few recommendations. First, the acne you get around your mouth and chin tends to be caused by hormonal spikes. “Women tend to break out here before their period,” says Zeichner. “They develop red, angry bumps that are best treated with a product that contains benzoyl peroxide. This kills the acne-causing bacteria, and it can help open up some of the clogged pores.” Tea tree oil can also help inflamed pimples, but Zeichner says that if it doesn’t seem to be working for you, stop using it. “Since tea tree oil is antimicrobial, it can help kill bacteria, and it’s good for someone who wants a natural option,” says Zeichner. “I just caution people that if it’s not working, you need to go the pharmacy and get a more traditional product or go to your dermatologist and have him or her advise a better treatment option.”
Zeichner advises that when it comes to allover acne, look for cleansers and moisturizers that contain salicylic acid. If you’re looking for a natural approach, using coconut oil as a moisturizer and baking soda as an acne treatment are decent options. “Coconut oil is noncomedogenic and can be used as a natural alternative to traditional moisturizers in acne-prone patients,” says Zeichner. “While baking soda may offer some degree of mild exfoliation and can help absorb excess oil on the skin, I wouldn’t recommend baking soda above traditional treatments like salicylic acid.”
Oh and that old chestnut about putting toothpaste on a pimple? Here’s what Zeichner had to say about that: “Toothpaste contains an ingredient called tricolosan, which help stop the acne causing bacteria. I would say if you’re on vacation and you don’t have your regular acne treatment then that certainly is worth a shot. But it isn’t a traditional acne therapy.” Stick with the benzoyl peroxide instead.
What to look for in a primer if you have acne: