Recently I’ve lost a bit of my wordsmith mojo. For weeks I’ve felt uninspired, unable to draw up the excited dialogue that usually comes out my fingertips when writing about beauty products. I’ve spent a lot of time starting drafts, realizing they were shit, deleting them, and then returning to my couch for more ice cream and Hulu Plus.
I would like to think that my recent disinterest in cosmetics is the result of a deeper intellectual awakening and realization of the larger themes at play in my life, but it’s realistically because of my infuriating forehead pimples. I may or may not have thrown a disconsolate tantrum or two... Imagine me screaming “NOTHING MATTERS, EVERYTHING IS A LIE!!!!” while angrily chucking serums against the wall.
Seriously, I don’t know what happened to my skin. For the entire course of my adolescent life, my epidermis was my one defining quality, my only perfect attribute. Only plagued with an occasional clogged pore, my skin never took a break from its smooth, flawless, radiant existence. Internalizing the stress that comes with being an adult is no fucking joke -- it’s like every personal trauma blossomed into its own inexorable volcano on my face. Ugh. Breakouts make me want to get sucked into the sky.
The phrase “adult acne” makes me cringe almost as much as “adult braces,” yet here I am proclaiming to all of ye Internet-ers that I have it. Sometimes I feel like I’ve contracted some type of teenage disease (enough with the commercials featuring pimply youths in high school hallways, OK?), but 20% of all adults have active acne. So, it’s actually kind of normal. Even if adult acne is normal, I don’t want it.
Fortunately, I was blessed with a couple beacons of hope that can cure me (and hopefully you too, if you’re also under siege by untimely zits).
Arithmetic Acne Control Complex, $30.00
I was planning on waiting at least a month before writing a review of this treatment, BUT I CAN’T WAIT THAT LONG BECAUSE THIS SHIT IS SO GOOD!!!
The Arithmetic Acne Control Complex includes tea tree oil (which y’all already know I LuUuUuUv) and witch hazel, as well as shea butter and jojoba seed oil to counteract the drying effects of benzoyl peroxide. Weee! If I were a witch, my first potion would be a skin potion.
The texture resembles a thick oil based cream to replenish and sooth drier skin types while simultaneously medicating, so I don’t use an additional moisturizer afterward. I find the consistency to be nearly identical to the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF actually.
I know the pamphlet that comes with this product says you’ll see results in 2-3 months, but if your breakouts are minimal, you will notice results in a week or two. This isn’t the only game-changer that delivers.
illuMask Anti-Acne Mask, $29.95
If we’re being honest with each other (aren’t we always?) I was beyond skeptical of a lighted mask which promises to clear acne, reduce redness, and prevent breakouts without a single chemical, just by being worn for 15 minutes. Corny infomercials make me suspicious unless they’re advertising cooking gadgets or cleaning supplies.
The illuMask sits on your face like a shield supported by glasses, shining a combination of blue and red LED lights on your skin for fifteen minutes. Blue lights kill bacteria, while red lights reduce inflammation. After 15 minutes, the lights automatically turn off. (A small remote is attached to the mask with a long cord.) The tinted glasses inside keep your eyes from burning out of your face or going blind while you watch TV/read/stalk your ex-boyfriend on Instagram.
Light therapy is a legitimate process used by dermatologists and aestheticians, and this is the best option for skin too sensitive for benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
Shockingly enough, I love this gimmicky product. The FDA even approved it. The illuMask’s greatest attribute is being mess free, the greatest con being the annoying amount of space it takes up. I store the plastic mask in the original box to prevent it from bending or cracking while stuffed in a drawer somewhere.
Watch this dumb video to see exactly what the mask looks like during use, and to hear a plastic surgeon talk about it. If you want to, that is.
Adult acne can be caused by stress, fluctuating hormone levels, your ex-boyfriend making his Instagram account private, medication side effects, and bad juju. These are the easily accessible acne and breakout solutions that I use on my own face. I am not (I repeat: I AM NOT) a dermatologist – a professional you should definitely consult if your acne is severe, and worthy of Accutane or a blowtorch or something.
Soooooo, let’s talk about grown-ass woman (or man) pimples! Maybe I’ll have more ambition to write and play with makeup now that my skin is no longer the texture of a cobblestone road...
Follow Courtney on Twitter and Instagram @courtneypizza