Believe us, nothing can ruin your once-in-a-lifetime evening quicker than a big ol’ zit. But we have to acknowledge that good skin doesn’t come overnight, it takes work (or #werk). With just a few weeks out to prom season, there’s no better time to start than the present, especially if you want to look back on your photo with joy instead of dread. We spoke to the experts so you can confidently put your best face forward, far in advance of your big dance.
Make Some Ch-Ch-Changes
According to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer (who works with Michelle Williams, Margot Robbie, Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham), for best results, you should start at least six months in advance. Got a late start? Here are a few things he recommends you start doing ASAP.
“The first thing you should do is reduce sun exposure, the second thing you should do is monitor your exercise program, skin care routine and diet,” he explains. “[A minimum of] 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise and ensuring you are rested will hugely influence your skin. Reduce caffeine, refined sugar intake and dairy because they can all cause blemishes,” he adds.
Get on Your Derm’s Radar, Like Now
“For acne issues, I recommend [scheduling an appointment] at least six weeks [in advance],” suggests DHC Skincare editor Cynthia Popper (celeb fans of the brand include FKA twigs and Emma Watson). Remember, prescription skin care can have higher levels of active ingredients and can overcorrect if they’re aggressively used due to a short timeline. “You want to clear up your skin, but you don’t want to be red or peeling, either. Balance, consistency and planning are key!”
Edit Your Products Accordingly
Your faves actually may be causing your blemishes. “The majority of acne-prone people should watch the shampoo and conditioning products they are using as well as their daily color cosmetics,” cautions Lancer. “It’s always good to use some form of oil-reducing treatment with salicylic acid.” Try out his award-winning Cleanse Blemish Control Cleansing Gel, the second step in his popular skin care method.
Diet Is Only Half the Battle
There are tons of myths swirling around about certain foods causing breakouts, but avoiding overprocessed food is a good idea in general. “I think green juice and a whole food approach to eating can have remarkable results on health, which does, in turn, translate to healthy-looking, glowing skin — but that’s not enough,” shares Popper. “Topical treatment (like DHC’s Renewing AHA Cream) is incredibly important. A healthy diet teamed with a consistent skin care routine can yield pretty amazing results in just a few weeks.”
Skin Care Is Worth the Investment
“I am a firm believer in investing in the right skin care routine,” expresses Lancer. If you have budget restrictions, however, he mentions opting for a cleanser, toner and lightweight moisturizer (ideally with SPF) first. “The most important thing is to look at the ingredients, know what you are putting on your skin, don’t just purchase the brand name.”
Popper acknowledges DHC’s products can be too pricey for teens (especially considering they are made 100 percent in Japan), but has a pre-prom hack. “My favorite drugstore beauty buy is Dr. Teal’s rosemary mint Epsom salt. Stress can trigger breakouts more than diet or even hormones — salt baths are a fantastic and super cheap de-stressor.”
And Here’s How to Handle a Last-Minute Pimple
The most important rule? Keep those hands to yourself! “Do NOT pick or poke at the blemishes,” warns Lancer. Instead, use warm water compresses for a minute three or four times daily to allow the blemish to open and cleanse itself.
Popper (no pun intended) recommends gently double-cleansing your skin to remove any excess bacteria. Then follow with a hydrating toner. “No astringents — they really just throw skin out of whack and make matters worse!”
Afterward, apply an acne-fighting cream on just the pimple (not the surrounding skin). “I personally prefer 10 percent lactic acid because it gets the job done without causing barrier damage to the skin. The bandage keeps the product from drying out quickly and lets the lactic acid get to where it’s needed.” Finally, before applying makeup, ice the blemish for several minutes to further reduce inflammation.
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