Let’s face it: Like no one has an Insta-ready complexion all the time. And if it’s not a pimple foiling your selfie game, it’s dull skin, or dark spots. Whether you have one or multiple skin issues, here’s your master list for the most common ones — and how to treat them so you can get back to your regularly scheduled snapping.

1. Skin bummer: Mega Zits

These are deep, red pimples that can’t be popped, last a long time, and may even hurt when you touch them. Ouch!

Expert fix: Wash daily with a salicylic acid face wash to keep pores clear. Then at night, apply a benzoyl peroxide treatment to banish bacteria. Dr. Bhanusali suggests placing a small dot of BP on the area, plus a dab of cortisone cream (which is an anti-inflammatory) and cover with a Band-Aid overnight. “The inflamed area will be 80 percent smaller by the morning,” he says. Try: Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub, which has a cocktail of anti-pimple ingredients including pore-cleaning salicylic acid, super gentle exfoliating beads, as well as vitamin C. For on-the-spot treatment, try:Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel. It contains benzoyl peroxide, which can banish bacteria and take down redness in difficult-to-treat acne in just two hours.

2. Skin bummer: Super oily skin

Because of genetics (thanks, Mom and Dad!), some people’s oil glands naturally produce excess sebum, which can cause them to look greasy 24/7. For some it may not cause breakouts, while others are more prone to PMS-related acne.
Expert fix: “Applying a clay mask is a great way to control oil,” says Dr. Bhanusali. That’s because clay absorbs excess oil on the skin’s surface and also may help slow down the production of it all day long. Try: Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask, a clay and benzoyl peroxide-based cleanser that also works as a pore-clarifying mask.

3. Skin bummer: Sunburn

Maybe you forgot to reapply or didn’t realize that cloudy day was going to scorch your skin. Regardless, UV light can heat up the upper layer and turn it red and blistery, making it painful to touch.

Expert fix: Though aloe has always been the go-to sunburn soother because of its ability to cool skin and take down redness, Dhaval G. Bhanusali, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City thinks hyaluronic acid is even more effective. “When your skin is sunburned, it’s losing water,” he says. “Hyaluronic acid attracts water and holds it in the skin so it instantly feels and looks better.” Try: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Water Gel, a weightless moisturizer that instantly calms skin with hyaluronic acid.

4. Skin bummer: Melasma

This hormonal imbalance (often caused by taking birth control pills) results in brown spots on your forehead, cheeks, or above your top lip. Unlike sunspots, it’s particularly difficult to treat because the excess melanin (skin’s pigment) is being overproduced.

Expert fix: Look for SPF 50 or higher to keep skin protected daily — rain or shine, beach or office. “Even one day in the sun unprotected can cause melasma to get worse and make it difficult to get rid of,” says Dr. Bhanusali. Try: Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield, a tinted sunscreen that has a high-tech complex of antioxidants and antipollution ingredients, plus sun-shielding micronized zinc and titanium oxide. To help control the condition, use a melanin-inhibitor daily that contains hydroquinone or natural pigment reducers like kojic acid, vitamin C, and niacinimide. Try:Meladerm, a mix of lemon juice, vitamin C, kojic acid, and mulberry extract to help minimize melasma.

5. Skin bummer: Ingrown Hairs

These are trapped hairs below the skin’s surface that can lead to inflamed bumps that kinda look like razor burn. They’re usually found in the bikini area, but could also show up on your thighs, too.

Expert fix: Because the goal is to get the hair follicle open and the hair out (sort of like when you want a pimple to disappear), Dr. Bhanusali says the same ingredients you use to treat a breakout work here, too. Dab a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment on an ingrown hair. (The BP helps unclog the follicle and fights bacteria). If you’re prone to ingrowns, treat the area daily with a salicylic acid spot treatment. “It provides light exfoliation and prevents clogs,” says Dr. Bhanusali. Try: Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Cleanser/Mask, an acne-fighting formula, which contains salicylic acid to gently exfoliate skin’s surface to prevent — and help heal — blackheads and ingrown hairs. You can also use it as a daily facial cleanser.

6. Skin bummer: Keratosis Polaris

These pesky, slightly raised bumps (usually super red or with a hint of white at the top) appear on the back of your triceps or on your thighs. Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes them (genetics are most likely to blame), but say that some people do notice a flare-up when they’re eating certain foods, under a lot of stress, or have a hormonal fluctuation (like around your period).

Expert fix: Daily exfoliation is key, says Dr. Bhanusali. Instead of picking up a basic body scrub, opt for chemical-based creams such as those with a beta hydroxy acid like glycolic, ammonium lactate, or salicylic acid. If your KP is severe, Dr. Bhanusali suggests trying a retinoid-based treatment typically used for wrinkles because of its stellar exfoliating ability. Try: IS Clinical Body Complex, a super hydrating body cream with hyaluronic acid, aloe, and glycerin that exfoliates thanks to skin-softening retinol.

7. Skin bummer: Dull, blah skin

When dead skin cells hang out on your face too long, your complexion doesn’t reflect light. Stress and lack of sleep can make cellular turnover go into slow-mo, or it can be a result of going to bed without washing off your makeup. “Even one night of sleeping with makeup on can do a number on your skin,” says Dr. Bhanusali. “Buildup on the skin won’t allow it to naturally turn over and can also lead to breakouts.”

Expert fix: “I have patients keep makeup wipes by their bed,” says Dr. Bhanusali. “Most people don’t make it to the bathroom to take off their makeup.” Look for a soft fabric wipe that contains hydrators like hyaluronic acid or glycol so you can get cleansing and moisture benefits in one. Try: Neutrogena Hydrating Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, which remove all traces of makeup (even your waterproof cat eye) in a few swipes — no rinsing required.

8. Skin bummer: Post-pimple dark spots

When you have a doozy of a zit, it can discolor the skin once it starts healing, and in its place a lingering dark spot is left in the area long after the pimple itself disappears (ugh).

Expert fix: Topical treatments that contain skin lighteners such as soy, licorice extract, or vitamin C have been shown to disperse excess melanin, making skin look more even-toned. An at-home LED mask with a combination of blue and red light may also help. “The blue light in the mask kills off bacteria, which prevents pimples from forming in the first place, while the red light can boost collagen production, so it’s a good anti-ager and improves the overall appearance of your skin,” explains Dr. Bhanusali. Try: Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask, a sci-fi-like face mask lined with red and blue lights to help keep pores gunk-free from the inside out.

Source: cosmopolitan.com