Confessions of a Skin-Picker: The Secret to Covering and Treating Life-Ruining Blemishes
My name is Marianne Mychaskiw, and I'm an obsessive skin-picker.
Perhaps "obsessive" isn't exactly the right word anymore—my talent of turning a mole hill into a mountain has plagued me for over a decade, but I've gotten much better about my habit since my high school years. Back then, I stuck to a "my skin is bad and must be punished" mindset that prompted me to extract every single blocked pore I could see. I would spend over an hour poking and prodding in front of the mirror. These days, I'm far less-aggressive and can probably claim I'm in recovery, though thanks to my annoying habit going hard on particularly stubborn blemishes once in a while, I still have to pull out my old tricks.
THE ART OF THE COVER-UP
Depending on the type of activity, your cover-up technique will vary, but the tools are the same: A multi-toned concealer palette, and powder in a shade that matches your complexion. Those obnoxious, under-the-skin bumps that seem to dominate your entire face can usually be masked with a little color-correcting. With MAC's Conceal and Correct Palette in Medium ($48; maccosmetics.com), I'll pick up the darkest color to mute out the redness. You can use a concealer brush, but I found that dabbing it on in layers using my finger worked better to mimic the texture of the skin surrounding the bump. Once the color-corrective layer is in place, you can apply the concealer that matches your skin tone on top. Dab powder onto the area to set it first before the rest of the face, but avoid sweeping your brush or sponge directly over the spot so you don't disturb your handiwork.
If you're working with an open blemish—a.k.a. one of those soul-destroying pimples that will not stop oozing—things get a little trickier, but concealing it is still possible once you can get it to stop weeping. Right after washing your face, but before your skin care, tear off a corner from a tissue and press it in place over the top to dry things up as you apply moisturizer everywhere else. Remove the tissue, then pat a loose powder like NARS' ($36; narscosmetics.com) directly over the spot to form a matte, dry base. If you want to mute out redness, dab the color-correcting shade from the concealer palette on, or top off with one the same hue as your complexion. Use the aforementioned setting method to lock it into place—it's all about careful layering, and blending the spot in with the rest of your face.
TREAT IT RIGHT
An even more important move than covering the unsightly pimple is making sure it heals quickly once the makeup comes off. If you've just had a picking session (hey, no judgment), you'll want to kill any bacteria that may have transferred from your hands to your face, so start with a product that lists glycolic acid as an ingredient, like Drunk Elephant's Glycolic Night Serum ($90; sephora.com). For a spot treatment, I have sang the praises of Renee Rouleau's Anti-Cyst Treatment ($42; reneerouleau.com) before, and I will continue to sing its praises to the tune of Rihanna's "Diamonds" if I have to. It is the only thing that works to fix painful, under-the-skin pimples, especially since the method of using a warm towel to bring it to the surface kind of enables my destructive behavior. Retinol-based products like Philosophy's Help Me ($49; sephora.com) can simultaneously remove the spot and fade the mark left behind if hyperpigmentation is a concern. Hydrated skin heals quicker than dry skin, so I like to top everything off with SK-II's Facial Treatment Repair C ($170; sk-ii.com).