Everyone has a different plan of action to zap a zit. Me? I freak out a little bit, sigh and whine for a few minutes, and then talk myself out of popping it. But I also have friends who immediately cleanse the area, apply a spot treatment, and let it be. What angels, right? So when I was chatting with Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson about her partnership with Differin Gel ($13; target.com), the first over-the-counter retinoid-based acne treatment, I had to know her own strategy.
"It didn’t really start until I was working that I would get little breakouts here and there," says the actress of her own acne journey. Her teen years were relatively in the clear, but stress and wearing makeup for long hours on set took a toll. Benson says that as the day ticks on on-set, makeup is continuously touched up, which means you're wearing piles of it by the time shooting wraps.
So what's she do when she notices a pimple? Like all of us, she attempts to stop herself from picking it, for starters.
"As much as you want to like get rid of it, it makes it worse. Mind you, I do that all the time, but it’s just not good," says Benson. "I just try to not wear makeup. I don’t wear makeup anymore. I kind of like the no makeup thing. Just let your skin breathe and make sure you wash your face day and night. Just moisturize and let it go on its own."
She also swears by Differin, which is kind of a game changer in the acne world because it used to only be available by prescription and it's affordable.
"You can put it on spots, but they suggest you to put it all over your face on every area and you do it once a day," she explains. "It obviously helps to prevent it and helps to treat the spots that you have."
If she needs to cover up a blemish, she says she'll moisturize and then lean on a trust concealer—Cle de Peau and Dior make two of her favorites.
As for the rest of Benson's routine, it's a minimalist's dream. She says she regularly cleanses, moisturizes, and tops off her look with some brow gel. But the staple she truly swears by? Coconut oil.
"It really saves everything. It makes your skin look clean and fresh and dewy. If you add the concealer, it adds a really healthy glow."
But really, could Benson's advice be any easier to follow?