No one tells you when you’re 12 that you’ll still be getting zits at 40. And if it’s possible, they get even bigger with age. Yay hormones!
Our skin can experience a number of reactions this time of year from dietary changes, weather, more sugar intake, holiday stress… or just because it knows you have a big event and wants to fuck with you.
The good news is that we’ve got options. According to Dr. Manish Shah, M.D., there are safe (quick!) ways to treat common skin problems at home – or in the doctor’s office.
Hopefully you won’t need to use any of these, but just in case you’re human…
PROBLEM: Cold Sore
In-Office: A very diluted cortisone injection can bring cold sore inflammation down quickly. If you prefer a pill to a shot, ask your doctor for a Valtrex, Famvir, or Acylovir prescription.
At-Home: Try not to touch it. Obvs.Pick up an OTC medication like Abreva. Or try old-school remedies like using Visine or cold compress to minimize redness.
PROBLEM: Allergic Reaction
In-Office: If you’ve never experienced this kind of allergic reaction, contact your allergist or dermatologist immediately.
- If you’ve had this reaction before, know what caused it and know it won’t affect you any other way – use a topical hydrocortisone cream twice a day, plus take Allegra, Claritin or Zyrtec. All are longer acting and less sedating than Benadryl.
- Try a whole-milk compress for 10 minutes twice a day. I’ve also found that dabbing milk-soaked cotton on areas after waxing minimizes redness and irritation.
- If the allergic reaction occurs on the same day as your event, cover it up by color balancing the redness. The opposite of red is green, so apply green tinted concealer on the red area. The combination will create a flesh-toned hue.
PROBLEM: Cystic Acne Breakout
In-Office: Cystic acne can be treated with cortisone or “steroid” shots by gently injecting a very diluted quantity of a “glucocorticoid” steroid into an inflamed cyst. “Within one or two days of injection into a cyst, the steroid will shrink the inflammation producing relief of pain and almost immediate cosmetic improvement,” says Dr. Shah
At-Home: Do not try to lance or cut into a cyst yourself. You don’t know where the root of the clog is or how deep it resides. You’ll only prolong healing and increase the chances of being left with a scar or dent. Here are a few safer options to try:
- Aspirin Mask. Crush up an aspirin tablet and mix it with water to make a paste. Apply it directly to a cystic pimple and leave on as long as convenient. Aspirin is a cousin to salicylic acid and can help calm inflammation and pain.
- Try Hydrocortisone Cream or High-Quality Retinoid. Find a triple-threat product containing hydrocortisone cream. Benzoyl peroxide lowers levels of acne-causing bacteria, hydrocortisone cream reduces inflammation, and salicylic acid removes excess oil to dry out a pimple.
- Put some ice on It. Applying ice can work wonders when it comes to decreasing swelling, redness, pain, or even itchiness associated with cystic acne.
PROBLEM: Puffy Eyes
At-Home: Eye puffiness can be improved by applying something cool, like a cold compress, chilled cucumber slices or tea bags for 5-10 minutes to help constrict blood and lymph vessels. I’ve had good results using a good refrigerated eye serum. Reducing salt intake and alcohol also helps.
- Take a cool bath or shower. Set the water to a cool temperature that’s just below lukewarm and relax for 10-20 minutes. The temperature will ease the pain, and the water will lessen irritation. Avoid using soap, bath oils, salts or other detergents because they might irritate your sunburn and possibly make it even worse.
- If you have blisters forming on your skin, take a bath instead of showering. The pressure from the shower might pop your blisters. When you get out, don’t rub your skin dry with a towel. Instead, let yourself air dry, or lightly pat dry with a towel. Apply cold compresses to your skin.
- Apply aloe vera. Using the pads of your fingers, gently apply the aloe to your sunburn. Don’t rub it in like you might with a regular lotion. Leave it a bit wet on top of the burn to help prevent the skin from drying out and becoming more irritated. Reapply as often as necessary. You can also opt to treat inflammation with cortisone cream. Cortisone creams contain a small dose of steroids that can work to reduce sunburn inflammation.
PROBLEM: Too much filler
In-Office: As a rule, you should get fillers no sooner than 1 month before a big event to allow time for healing and touch ups – and make sure you only go to a Board-Certified specialist. If results aren’t what you desired, Hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane are the easiest to reverse. An enzyme called Hyaluronidase can be injected to partially or completely dissolve initial Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane injections. Voila! Problems solved.
If you’ve got any good at-home remedies, please share them in the comments.