Oh, the joys of adult acne. One day you have clear skin, the next, your face resembles a sizzling pizza with all the toppings. If you’re one of the many women dealing with breakouts, you’re probably familiar with some of the recommended treatments for them.
Depending on the severity of your acne, you might be using over-the-counter stalwarts like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide—or you may have a prescribed cream (or three) from your dermatologist.
No matter what you’re using, just make sure to avoid this one mistake: Only using your spot treatments on existing breakouts. You actually want to apply your acne products to the entire affected area, meaning your full forehead or chin, and not just the two spots that have popped up.
That’s because the average skin cycle takes about 28 days (a number, by the way, that slows as we age), which means that the spots you are seeing today actually started forming weeks ago beneath the skin’s surface.