I recently woke up with a constellation of whiteheads and cysts on my cheeks so intense that I thought for a second I had time-traveled back to my own adolescence. Unfortunately for my face, I hadn't. It was real.
I wasn't really sure what caused my breakout, so to be safe, I took precautions to ensure I didn't accidentally make it worse: I changed my pillowcase, cleaned my cell-phone screen, and washed my makeup brushes. Then, I solemnly swore to the goddess of dermatology that I wouldn't pop my new crop of frenemies (even though I really, really wanted to).
Preventative measures thus taken, it was time for a game plan. I treated the problem areas with a strategic cocktail of products and, to my relief, woke up the next day with my breakout cleared up. There were pink marks where huge zits had been. I'd say it was a miracle — but it wasn't. It required a lot of effort.
I didn't consult a skin-care expert before developing this recipe for my face, but according to celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, I actually did the right thing — which explains the effectiveness. When I told her my method, she assured me, "This is a very proactive approach, and you used products that work well together. This combination of treatments is much better than just picking at a pimple and causing a mark."