How to manage an untimely spot the day of a big event

Florence Pugh went through everyone’s worst beauty nightmare on the day of the Oscars: she woke up with a new large spot.

We love her honesty for sharing this unglamorous, yet very common skin woe.

Reader, even A-listers with their lavish beauty routines and skin products aren’t exempt from a breakout.

So what should you do when a spot strikes at the worst time?

To pop, or not to pop

Dr Ana Mansouri, consultant dermatologist and SkinCeuticals expert, says: ‘The first note for an emergency breakout is to keep calm as of course stress can worsen the situation.

‘It’s key to try to stay away from picking or causing any further trauma to the area.’

You need to resist the temptation to squeeze it, as that will make the area more red and inflamed.

It may even cause the area to scab over, which will be harder to conceal with makeup if you choose to, given the area now has an uneven surface.

However, Heather Wish, education manager at the skincare company Paula’s Choice, says there is one specific circumstance in which you can pop your spot.

She says: ‘The general rule is if you don’t see a white head, don’t pop it, especially if it’s a big hard pimple lurking under the skin’s surface. Popping a breakout before it’s ready will only make matters worse. 

‘However, if the white head has already come to the surface and the blemish is swollen, extracting the contents via careful popping can help make the pimple go away faster and kickstart the recovery process.’

The right ingredients

There’s one magic ingredient every skin expert will tell you to use: salicylic acid.

Heather explains: ‘This superhero ingredient not only keeps blemishes at bay, but it also works incredibly fast on active breakouts. 

‘Salicylic acid’s acne-fighting power firstly penetrates pores to dissolve oil and other breakout-causing substances. Secondly, its soothing properties help to minimise the redness that accompanies a blemish.’

Dr Ana also recommends trying anti-inflammatory active ingredients.

‘I recommend using a hydrocolloid patch on any active lesions as this gives a quick acting anti-inflammatory effect which can reduce the appearance of the spot within hours,’ she says.

Prepping for makeup

If you choose to conceal your spot using makeup, the tried and tested MUA technique is to apply powder first, then concealer on top, as the power helps it grip the skin and last longer.

You can then sandwich it in with another layer of powder for high cover.

But what prepping the skin about beforehand?

While lots of anti-spot products work to withdraw oil from the skin, Dr Ana says we shouldn’t forget to hydrate the skin – this is especially important before makeup.

She recommends using a face mist, hyaluronic acid serum, and a lightweight moisturiser.

‘It’s important not to neglect the hydration and moisture of the skin even in acne as dry and dehydrated skin leading to a compromised skin barrier often exacerbates the breakouts,’ she says.

Shop these heroes to help handle last minute spots.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

The hero ingredient you need, in a non-drying formula.

SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque

Apply a clay face mask to absorb excess sebum and draw out any oil around the spot.

Dots for Spots Patches

Apply one of these first thing and leave it for a number of hours before the event, then gently peel off.

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