To pop or conceal?
Q: Which is worse, popping a zit or suffocating it with concealer?
A: Concealer (plus benzoyl peroxide).
Popping is tempting, but the risks of scarring and making it worse are not worth the instant gratification. When you puncture a pimple, you break the skin, which causes swelling, inflammation, and infection if bacteria creeps into it. Picking or even rubbing it can make it look redder, explains dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett: “Once you have an acne papule, there are multiple inflammatory mediators circulating the area, that’s what makes it red. When something is red on the skin, the last thing you want to do is increase blow flow to the area.
BETTER BET Apply a drop of an over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone cream to shrink the bump an hour before you have to be seen in public. Then, before heading out, use a clean cotton swab to apply a topical benzoyl peroxide cream on the zit. To counteract flaking skin, which is typical with benzoyl peroxide products, Dr. Kellett recommends using a 5% concentration in a gel-base formula. Wait one minute before applying a concealer that contains gentle acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic or sulfur. TRY Kellett Skincare Acne Clarifying Treatment ($75, at KellettSkincare.com) and Clinique’s Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer, ($19, at Sears.ca).