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We’ve all been there: it's the day before a date, your first in-person meeting in months or the morning of your birthday celebration and boom: you look in the mirror, only to be confronted by a new spot living rent-free on your face. © Provided by Women's Health UK Try these zit-zapping formulas
Whether you suffer from hormonal flareups, cystic acne or pollution-trigged breakouts, the quest to find a soothing antidote for your blemishes can feel overwhelming. One trick you should get in your complexion-fixing toolbox, though? Blemish pastes.
What is a blemish paste?
Although the natural fluctuation of skin through the month and added environmental factors mean that no skin remains blemish free all the time, know that a new generation of topical blemish pastes – jars of pastes that are packed with spot-fighting hero ingredients and which banish bacteria, soothe irritation and help control sebum levels – might just be the answer to your complexion prayers.
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What makes blemish pastes different from other spot treatments?
According to Tiffany Salmon, founder of skincare brand Scientia: 'The stand-out factor in blemish pastes is that they are mostly formulated with a clay base – in our blemish paste we use naturally derived Bentonite Clay, which is incredible for drawing impurities to the surface of the skin, drying out the affected area and decongesting any clogged pores. Blemish pastes are the thing you grab when a spot is brewing and all else has failed.'
When looking for the best blemish paste, junior doctor and founder of skincare platform Joyful Skin, Dr Kemi Fabwusiwa, advises that a high concentration of powerful ingredients such as zinc oxide, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or succinic acid are best, thanks to their 'anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and astringent properties that will help to dry out the spot and dampen inflammation.'
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Can blemish pastes help to prevent spots?
'No one thing can prevent spots from appearing all together,' explains Salmon. 'There are so many factors that result in breakouts – from hormones to diet – that skincare alone, however good it is, can’t be a guarantee.
'However, what a blemish paste is perfect for is for helping to draw those under-skin spots to the surface before they’ve even appeared, soothing the area and reducing that redness. This means that their appearance is lessened and the breakout itself disappears quicker.'
Do blemish pastes work on cystic acne?
'No one product can help to manage cystic or nodular acne,' explains Dr Fabwusi. 'If you are worried about nodulo-cystic acne, it’s important to speak to your GP and get assistance with prescription grade treatments and combine that with an excellent skincare routine that includes topical, fast-acne treatments like blemish pastes in order to treat them or prevent them for good.'
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Do blemish pastes work on all skin types?
'Whatever your skin type, we all get breakouts,' says Dr Fabwusi. 'The ingredients found in most blemish pastes can be beneficial for almost any skin type.
However, it’s good to note that they work best on oily and combination skin, particularly if you have large open pores and blackheads.'
Where does a blemish paste fit within a skincare routine?
Blemish treatments work best at night. All skincare routines should comprise the following steps: cleanse, tone, treat and moisturise. Use your blemish as your ‘treat’ step, after cleansing and toning, so that your skin is in its optimal state to manage the blemish treatment.
Shop: the best blemish pastes for blemish-prone skin
So, put down the toothpaste and step away from the scrubs and look to WH’s curated list of eight blemish pastes formulated to treat acne and breakout-prone skin.
1. Sunday Riley, Saturn Sulfur Spot Treatment
If you’re tired of waking up with acne patches and stickers stuck to your pillowcase come morning, then Sunday Riley’s Saturn Sulfur Spot Mask might just be the game-changer you need.
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The sulfur-forward formula also boasts blemish-fighting zinc PCA and bentonite that helps to draw out impurities – and for its big finish, 4% niacinamide which helps to boost skin’s radiance.
© spacenk.com.uk Saturn Sulfur Spot Treatment
2. Scientia, Pure Clarity Targeted Blemish Paste
Scientia Pure Clarity Targeted Blemish Paste
The small but mighty paste pot, formulated with a careful balance of de-congesting, deep cleaning and rehydrating ingredients is the perfect spot stopper.
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With potent combinations of zinc oxide and ferric oxide which make-up calamine – alongside bentonite clay, white willow bark and fortifying humectant glycerin – it's what blemish pastes dreams are made of.
3. Kiehl's, Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment
To love Kiehl's is to love science-backed beauty solutions, and the preventative combination of 1.5% salicylic acid and niacinamide in their blemish spot treatment is no different.
Yes, blemish banishing sulfur features in the formulation of this paste, but thanks to the inclusion of vitamin B3, the non-drying paste can be used in a thin layer up to two to three times a day if needed.
© skincity.com Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment
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4. Vichy Normaderm, SOS Anti-Blemish Sulphur Paste
French pharmacy brands are notorious for their efficacy and Vichy’s Normaderm S.O.S Sulphur Paste – a targeted treatment designed to reduce the appearances of spots overnight – is no outlier.
This topical blemish paste is specifically formulated for oily and acne-prone skin and combines the powers of 10% sulfur, niacinamide and glycolic acid, which helps to minimise the appearance of blemishes whilst you sleep.
© boots.com Vichy Normaderm SOS Anti-Blemish Sulphur Paste 20ml
5. Carbon Theory, Tea Tree Oil & Vitamin A Breakout Control Spot Paste
© boots.com Carbon Theory Tea Tree Oil & Vitamin A Breakout Control Spot Paste
Carbon Theory’s no-nonsense ‘direct to blemish’ paste uses antimicrobial silver to help stave off acne-causing bacteria.
Packed with vitamin A, which stimulates the production of your skin’s natural proteins, alongside tea tree oil – a natural antiseptic that reduces inflammation and keeps skin clear and healthy – the paste is a no-brainer addition to your spot silencing arsenal… (plus, it can be used under makeup in the day!)
6. Clear Skin Days, Blemish Repair Paste
This thick paste creates a soothing blanket over the spot to stop excess bacteria getting in, whilst allowing your blemish to heal underneath. Combining salicylic acid and zinc alongside wunderkind ingredient bakuchiol, the paste works overnight to speed up the recovery process of blemishes, calm aggravated skin and reduce redness.
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© hollandandbarrett.com Clear Skin Days Blemish Repair Paste 30ml
7. Aurelia London, Probiotic Blemish Hero
If you find all your breakouts congregate in one area – t-zone, chin, jawline, you name it - then this probiotic blemish paste will make your life a whole lot easier. The skin-saving paste is infused with distilled witch hazel, white China clay and salicylic acid which helps to rejuvenate and exfoliate – without over-drying the area. Spots will shrink and your skin will thank you for it.
© lookfantastic.com Aurelia London Probiotic Blemish Hero 15g
8. MALIN+GOETZ, 10% Sulfur Paste
We may have come a long way from adages like ‘no beauty without pain’ however, thanks to the high-efficacy sulfur in this blemish paste, beauty might be a tad... smelly. Nonetheless, you’ll thank yourself for the smell sacrifice once you see that that this paste really does the trick.
This blemish paste helps to speed up the healing process whilst stopping breakouts from multiplying. 10% active sulfur and salicylic acid work to treat blemishes. Plus, the added camphor calms skin while fighting impurities. It’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, making it a perfect undercover spot busting weapon.
© libertylondon.com 10% Sulfur Paste 14ml
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