Spot Stoppers

When I wrote back in February that I wanted you to e-mail me to ask me anything I never expected to be so inundated with questions. Thank you to every single person that wrote, and continues to write, in. It has given me such a clear idea of what you want me to write about. And so this is a post on spots, and how to zap zits and stop them in their tracks.

I know that adult acne is increasingly common and the dermatologists in the know think that it is stress that is to blame. Stress causes our adrenal glands to go in to overdrive which in turn makes our bodies produce more testosterone, the hormone that is known to cause the sebaceous glands to produce too much sebum causing blocked pores and spots. But why some people get acne and others don’t with the same levels of testosterone is a mystery. The latest thinking is that the receptor cells on some people’s sebaceous glands are simply oversensitive and that this may be inherited.

What is known that is an outbreak usually has a hormonal trigger and in adults that can be pregnancy and even the menopause, but most commonly its stress. And as we can’t really stop the stress of modern living, what can we do about the spots that it causes?

Well there are three new spot ranges about to hit stores. Aveda have discovered a natural way to extract salicylic acid from wintergreen plants and have based their range around this. Salicylic acid works to unplug pores and speed up skin cell turnover and is proven to stop spots and blackheads from developing and to clear up old ones more quickly.

Leaf and Rusher, two of LA’s leading skin experts (Dr Leaf is a cosmetic surgeon and Rand Rusher is an aesthetic nurse, in other words a master of fillers, lasers and Botox) have also included salicylic acid in their range, but also have jam packed them with anti inflammatory ingredients because they believe that it is the inflammation that causes the redness and swelling in spots. Stop this they say and the excess sebum is not such a problem.

And finally Clinique – the original masters of all things salicylic acid with their Clarifying Toners has extended their Blemish Solutions range with new products due on counter in June.

Although I don’t get too many spots, I think the key products to use are a rinse off face wash for spot prone skin, and an on the spot gel that contains salicylic acid. But you might also like to try Zeno £129, an incredibly simple to use, but really clever gadget that has a heated tip that you put on your spots and hold in place. It is designed to heat up the spot to exactly the right temperature to kill the bacteria with minimal damage to the surrounding skin.

Of course it isn’t getting at the cause of the acne, but it is FDA (The US Food and Drugs Administration, the US governing body for food, drugs and medical gadgets) to lessen the life of spots. And it works on the never-come-to-a-head-but-are-oh-so-painful lumps that we can all get when we are run down.

If you have ever tried Zeno or an acne range that worked for you will you write and let me know, as this kind of information can seriously change someone’s confidence if it can work for them too?

  • Leaf and Rusher TX Acne 123 Foaming Cleanser £20, Serum £30 and Spot TX £20, all from Space Nk tel: 020 8740 2085.
  • Clinique Anti Blemish Solutions 3 Step Starter Kit £30, available from June 1st.
  • Aveda Outer Peace Blemish Relief Lotion £19, Blemish Relief Pads £19, Foaming Cleanser £15 and Relief Spot Relief £14.50, on counter in May.


I've had Zeno for about a month and it's great! Salicylic acid products always seem to dry my skin, without getting to the actual source of the infection. Zeno apparently causes the bacteria to retreat, and you can feel it working right away.A couple of downsides, though:1. You have to catch the spot early in order to make it disappear. It must be treated at the first sign of redness or swelling. If you get to it later, Zeno will still reduce the size of the spot and the length of the blemish to only a few days, but you will still have a spot.2. The heat -- it stings when you put the applicator on the spot. [This can be good, as it helps you to 'find' the right place, but there's no doubt you will feel the sting, whether it's a mild tingling or the more painful sensation of being snapped with a rubber band!]3. The cost. In addition to the price of the gadget, you need to buy refill applicator tips (30 quid each). Each tip lasts 90 treatments, and a large spot may require 2 or more treatments. So if you use it for 3 treatments or spots, daily, then that's 30 quid a month.4. The time. Each spot takes 2 and half minutes to treat. So it could take a while if you have more than a few!The upside, of course, is that it really does work and, used regularly at the first sign of a spot, you will definitely have much better skin!! Perfect for those terrible situations when you get a huge pimple the night before a big event... Anyway, hope that helps other people, if they were thinking about it. Zeno has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so maybe it's worth a try!

Dear PPIf you have tried both topical and oral antibiotics, the next step is roaccutane, the topical and then oral vitamin A derivative ... but be sure to be checked for Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) when you go the the hospital as this could be a cause; your hormone levels should be checked anyway as routine during your hospital visit.I have two friends who swear by roaccutane as it cleared their long term acne during the course of six months. If that fails then you could try some of the recent laser and IPL therapies that work to lessen the redness and inflammation as well as kill the bacteria. You don't mention if you have tried Dianette, the contraception pill also offered to clear up young skin ... if it is testosterone that is causing your skin to flare up, this can really help.I hope I have given you some more options, in the meantime I really like the Leaf and Rusher AAcne TX Cleanser and on the spot treatment gel as they contain ingredients to unblock pores and also soothe and calm inflammation. XNadine

If anyone is interested, I have an amazing solution for acne problem. I have had the worst ance. So bad, no one who knows me know would guess I have had such a miserable bout. I am 35, and spent my teens on anti-biotics and sulfer creams. I was finally put on acutane. It did wonders. The acne creeped up again, went to anti-biotics and then acutane. This went on another time. I eventually got sick of not having *perfect* skin. By now, I thought it was ridicious to have wrinkles AND acne. I did the rounds with retin-A and Tazarac (which I still use for wrinkles) and I finally found a dermo who solved it all!! As Nadine mentioned, it is a large amount of testosterone causing the acne. Drs. have found out that off label, Sprinactolne (blood pressure med) blocks a certain gland and reduces testosterone. It has changed my life, no side effects / weird meds/ or drying skin! After over 20 years of suffering, finally. Many people who have acne also have PCOC (do a search) and it could be hormonal. The med I mentioned helps it too! One of the reasons it is prescribed it to elimate water retention. (Heart/blood pressure) So, it helps with water weight. Another thing I never tried, but can't believe the cult following is proactive. Always seemed sort of sketchy since it is an infomercial...Anyway, know is not the traditional skin care route with products, but is has changed my life!My skin is perfect, except for the odd monthly pimple every six months or so.... Now If I can only permantly ZAP the wrinkles...

i've tried all types of antibiotics and also pills but they only work for the time you are taking it and if you stop it one day, all the acne comes back. at the moment i'm trying biotherm products but it does not prevent the pimples from comming out. i'm finally going to hospital for it to see if it can ever stop!..can anyone advise? (i'm 21)

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