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Whether you're 13 or 33, acne just plain stinks. When zits attack, a girl will do anything to send those icky bumps packing. So stock your medicine cabinet with a savvy arsenal of blemish-banishing products, so you can clear your zits up fast and put your best face forward.
Your anti-acne routine starts with a gentle cleanser that you can use twice per day. Your best bet: a moisturizing cleanser that contains a little salicylic acid to keep pores clear of potential pimple-causing clogs, recommends Valori Treloar, the coauthor of "The Clear Skin Diet." A salicylic acid cleanser will also help soothe redness and inflammation in any zits that do develop, so that they are less noticeable and heal a little faster. Treloar recommends Murad Clarifying Cleanser as one good option.
For occasional breakouts, try a spot treatment that contains 2 to 10-percent salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, recommends dermatologist Heidi Waldorf in "Teen Vogue." The benzoyl peroxide works faster, but it will also dry out your skin more; you may need to experiment a little to get the results you want. Waldorf suggests Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment or Neutrogena Acne Eliminating Spot Gel as good salicylic acid-based spot treatments and Clean and Clear Persagel 10 as a benzoyl peroxide-based option.
Sulfur may be stinky, but it's one of the gentlest and most effective ways to dry up blemishes. When you pat on a sulfur face mask, the sulfur attracts oil from your pores, soaking it up and drying up your pimples, explains New York-based dermatologist Dennis Gross in "Real Simple." Any sulfur mask will work, but Gross recommends Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment as one good option.
If your breakouts just keep coming, using a nighttime retinoid cream may help speed up cell turnover and slow them down, says Gross. Creams. Scrubs with alpha hydroxy acids can also help exfoliate skin, to clear out pores so you break out less, according to MayoClinic.com. And if super oily skin is what's causing your breakouts, being prepared with blotting papers can help you soak up daytime oil slicks on your face, explains Waldorf.