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Complexion Perfection: Fight Acne and Hide Pimples Like a Pro

Sweat and dirt can bring on breakouts, but that's no reason to bench your workout. Instead, try these skin-saving solutions from top dermatologists to zap zits for good.

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Blackhead treatments
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
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Pimple Problem: Blackheads That Won't Budge

Clear Fix: Those dark dots, often found on your T-zone, "can be precursors to pimples," says Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. The oil in the pore attracts bacteria. Dead skin can further clog the pore, causing a whitehead. At night, sop up sebum and exfoliate with a pad presoaked in glycolic or salicylic acid.

What to Use: Glotherapeutics GloClear Complexion Pads ($34, gloskincare.com). Or use a mask that contains both ingredients (we like Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner, $45, sephora.com).

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Pimple Problem: Exercise-Induced Acne

Clear Fix: Blame your habits, not your heart rate, for those post-gym pimples. "Bacteria in sweat gets trapped between your workout clothes and your skin. If you don't wash it off right away, it will clog pores," says Jeannette Graf, MD, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. Wearing makeup while exercising can also breed blemishes. Stash a packet of cleansing towelettes in your gym bag, and swipe them over your face, including your hairline and jawline, before and after your routine. While working out, be sure to blot sweat with a clean towel. And switch to noncomedogenic (anti-pore-clogging) or mineral-based makeups, which are less likely to cause acne.

What to Use: We like Maybelline New York Mineral Power Finishing Veil Powder ($8.99, drugstores) and Fresh Umbrian Clay Freshface Foundation SPF 20 ($42, sephora.com).

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Pimple Problem: Breakouts at That Time of the Month

Clear Fix: Estrogen, a natural oil suppressant, plummets just before the start of your period, explains Howard Murad, MD, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and a FITNESS advisory board member. Head off the oil overload with a scrub. "The week before your period, use one with salicylic acid every other day," says Jillian Wright, owner of Glow Skin Spa in New York City.

What to Use: Buff with Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Pore Refining Scrub ($9.99, burtsbees.com) or St. Ives Blemish & Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub ($3.99, drugstores).

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Pimple Problem: A Deep, Cystlike Blemish

Clear Fix: Woke up with a whopper? Apply a warm compress to help drain it, then follow with a spot treatment. For a two-pronged attack, use bacteria-killing benzoyl peroxide in the morning and oil-dissolving salicylic acid at night, Dr. Graf recommends. Your skin should be clearer in about three days.

What to Use: Fast-acting finds: Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. Serum Gel, $70, obagi.com, and DDF Acne Control Treatment, $42, sephora.com. DIY devices such as the Zeno Mini ($89, myzeno.com) may be even speedier. The heated tip, applied directly to the pimple, "kills the bacteria and attracts 'fighter cells' to destroy it," Dr. Fusco says. The product lived up to its promise in a FITNESS test: "It gets rid of any pimple -- especially cystic ones -- in one or two days," says Beauty Club member Carisa Tierney of Lincroft, New Jersey.

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Pimple Problem: Shiny Skin by Lunchtime

Clear Fix: Oil levels spike at 11 a.m. every day, explains Laura Goodman, a senior scientist for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. Shine may be worse if you're in your 30s, when "oil-pumping hormones peak," Goodman says. Premakeup, apply a clay mask or mix a dollop with your face wash, says Jessica Liebeskind, a New York City makeup artist. Clay clarifies pores and reduces oil production.

What to Use: Try Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, $22.50, kiehls.com, plus ANSR: PREP Exfoliating Cleanser, $22, ansr.com.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.

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What do you think? Review this slideshow!

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annewilliams8524 wrote:

I shamelessly spent a TON on the Monsia skincare kit, and I gotta say with skin products you get what you pay for. DON'T BE CHEAP ON YOUR FACE. The monsia creams were the best thing I ever put on my skin, cleared up all the acne scars and even some ddark spots I had for a while.

2/17/2014 04:01:26 PM Report Abuse
ladymuimui1 wrote:

I don't understand why they always list a bunch of products that cost a lot of money. Not all of us can afford paying $20 for a cleanser, $30 on cleaning pads, and $40 on foundation. I found a lot of products that are both affordable and effective for my skin. For example, I use Derma E's GLycolic face wash that's around $10 on Vitacost.com, where I also purchase Desert Essense's tea tree oil cleansing pads on sale for under $5. ABove all, they're eco-friendly.

8/1/2013 03:52:07 PM Report Abuse
jcaughey1981 wrote:

Here is a great makeup tip for people with acne. If you have acne problems you will want to look for makeup products that are labelled "non-comedogenic┐ and ┐hypoallergenic". You should apply a blemish/beauty balm cream, this will help moisturized, protect and correct you skin problems. I learned this tip from a makeup artist at Evergreen Beauty College in Everett, Washington.

2/13/2013 09:12:44 AM Report Abuse
mkmccormick21 wrote:

Chae Organics has a great acne kit and it's all non toxic products!

8/17/2010 11:41:33 AM Report Abuse
victoriaprisby wrote:

To be honest I use a Fells Naptha (soak for posion ivy and posin oak) only cost me $1.25.

5/31/2010 06:29:03 AM Report Abuse
Maria.E.Rodriguez1 wrote:

You can view all the slides by clicking on the print all slides bar.

3/12/2010 12:50:41 PM Report Abuse
chelseacold wrote:

Yeah I really hate the slideshows and how long it takes to flip through.

3/11/2010 11:21:03 PM Report Abuse
lilsexy1_55 wrote:

Something a little less expensive is the Neutrogena Blackhead Eraser. It comes with the little pads and it works wonders for blackheads AND pimples.

2/28/2010 02:40:42 PM Report Abuse
cdudeck wrote:

I Disagree as I used to use the clear pore strips and I didn't like them. The presoaked pads are much better for clearing the pimple.

2/10/2010 04:59:28 PM Report Abuse
stephenp1@myfairpoint.net wrote:

The slideshows take too long. Please just list what you have and let us ckick on what we want.

12/29/2009 12:41:49 PM Report Abuse
anonymous wrote:

clear pore strips work great

11/18/2009 09:58:20 PM Report Abuse

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