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It’s not every day you and your favorite celebrity use the same skincare. But that’s what GlamGlow fans found out when Queen of Twitter Chrissy Teigen shared a selfie wearing her favorite GlamGlow mask. “Not an ad. I’m obsessed with every GlamGlow mask ever,” Teigen said in a video she posted to her Instagram Stories. “Not an ad. I just love them.” Over the post, she wrote, “@glamglow I love u.”

The face mask Teigen loves is GlamGlow’s GravityMud Firming Treatment Mask ($59 at Sephora), a favorite for the way it goes on silver and peels off for an Insta-friendly look. But that’s not all it does. The mask promises to lift, tighten and plump skin thanks to active ingredients such as Marine Algae plasma, Soy Isoflavone Liposome, hyaluronic acid and Glacial clay. It comes with a little brush to spread the mask all over the face, neck and chest as it turns from white to chrome.

Teigen is on a skincare kick and trying other cult-favorite products to clear up her breakouts. Last night, she popped on two ZitSticka Killa pimple patches ($29 at Amazon). These feature self-dissolving microdarts full of niacinamide to reduce redness and salicylic acid to smooth and exfoliate dead skin cells. They can help reduce the size and color of a cystic pimple overnight.

 

Image: Instagram.com/chrissyteigen.

We know Teigen started a website and YouTuber channel for her cooking but is she the next beauty blogger? Time will tell and we’ll be watching.

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

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Products

Flexible spending accounts have become even more flexible this year, which is good news for people who need to find ways to use up their account money before they lose it all at the end of the year.

People can now use the tax-free money in the accounts to pay for the health portion of 23andMe tests. The Internal Revenue Service determined 23andMe tests were eligible for purchase by flexible spending account money earlier this year. Certain food allergy sensors, high-tech baby monitors and devices to improve posture were also recently added to the list of items account-holders can buy.

The new choices join a growing pile of health-related products that people can already buy with flexible spending account (FSA) money.

First aid kits, thermometers and machines to clean sleep apnea-treating CPAP devices are popular purchases, said Sylvia Zori, chief operating officer of FSAstore, an online marketplace where buyers can buy items eligible for purchase with FSA money. December 31 is the site’s busiest day, she added.

People who work for employers offering the flexible spending accounts (FSAs) can contribute up to $2,750 annually, according to IRS rules. The money goes into the account pre-tax and can be put towards expenses that aren’t covered by the employee’s health insurance plan.

The major catch, however, is that people forfeit any unused money at the end of the plan year. That can be the end of the calendar year, but not necessarily.

Employers can let account holders rollover a maximum of $500 to the next year or allow a grace period that gives workers another two and a half months to spend the money, the IRS notes. But employers don’t have to include either benefit, the agency said.

FSAs are different from health savings accounts, which let account holders use pre-tax money to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and other expenses. In addition to health-related products, FSA money can go towards deductibles and copayments, but not insurance premiums.

Americans had 28.8 million FSA accounts last year and there will be an estimated 30.2 million accounts this year, said Inci Kaya, lead analyst, health insurance and payments, at Aite Group, a Boston-based advisory research and consulting firm for financial service and insurance companies. Americans will use a projected $33.6 billion from their accounts this year, up from $31.7 billion last year, Kaya said.

FSAstore has previously estimated Americans give up more than $400 million in tax free money when their plan year runs out.

23andMe lets consumers see their genetic lineage and certain health predispositions, all with a saliva sample. The company offers the service for $199 (though a half-off deal runs through Dec. 2).

Earlier this year, the IRS determined consumers could put their FSA dollars towards the health portion of the 23andMe’s services. That could be up to $117.74, the company has previously said. The IRS made its determination after a taxpayer asked for guidance on whether he or she could use FSA money for 23andMe’s services.

The 23andMe report can show the chances of having Type 2 Diabetes, late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, celiac disease and other conditions. “23andMe’s Health + Ancestry Service, the only direct-to-consumer genetic test that includes FDA-authorized health reports, provides information that can be used to better manage your health, lifestyle and identify potential genetic risks for certain health conditions,” said Jacquie Haggarty, 23andMe’s vice president, deputy general counsel.

Other genetic tests can be purchased with FSA money. For example, NVTA, -6.66%  Invitae has accepted FSA money since June and its tests cost between $250 and $350. Tests can screen for certain genes linked to cancer, heart disease and other conditions, according to the company’s website.

“Medical genetic testing is affordable and easy to order, “ an Invitae spokeswoman said. “It’s a great way to use remaining FSA/HSA funds available at the end of the year to invest in your health. With Invitae, the cost is $250-$350 to get the same high-quality testing genetics experts use, including guidance from a clinician and access to genetic counseling to discuss results.”

Some experts have previously cautioned that people shouldn’t put all their faith in direct-to-consumer tests, because genetic counseling is a much more comprehensive look at genetic predispositions and risks.

In addition to genetic testing, there are other new ways to use to use FSA money this year, including:

Peanut and gluten sensors, which are available on FSAstore.com for $289 apiece. People using the sensors can put a piece of food in the device to see if there are traces of peanuts or gluten. So far, the sensors have “done quite well” in terms of sales, said Zori, though she declined to give specifics.

“More and more, as we talk to people at work here and so forth, we realize food allergies are a very big topic and health concern,” she said.

(Some observers say the jury’s still out on how effective the sensors are, though sensor makers say the product is effective.)

posture pump that sells on FSAstore.com for $200, meant to relieve neck pain. The user lays down and the device wraps around their neck. The pump can increase or decrease the elevation to maximize comfort. The posture pump is one of the site’s top 20 best-selling items, Zori said.

Another item is the Miku Smart Baby monitor, which sells for $400. The monitor is one of the new breeds of high-tech baby monitors able to track a tot’s every twist and stir. The device can track sleep patterns and the temperature in your baby’s room, and it has the capacity to share and download video and picture.

Just as the IRS gave guidance on 23andMe’s FSA eligibility for its health-related genetic test, Zori said FSAstore asked the IRS to advise on the eligibility of these three products. “There’s only so many Band-Aids you want to buy with your funds after a while,” she joked.

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Food, Technology
When contemplating a skincare conundrum — Does collagen powder do anything? How much exfoliating is too much exfoliating? Is coffee bad for your skin? — I know exactly where to turn for clarity: science, of course. But in the case of that last question, science is sadly no help at all. There’s evidence that a morning cuppa can cause acne… but there’s also evidence it can soothe rosacea. It may constrict blood vessels and thus, impede the flow of nutrients to the skin… but it’s also packed with potent antioxidants. Confused? Yeah, experts are, too.

“There’s wide variation in terms of how people are affected by caffeine,” Dr. Aanand Geria, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Geria Dermatology, tells The Zoe Report. Besides the aforementioned downsides, coffee drinking has been linked to an increase in cortisol production — and cortisol, “the stress hormone,” is associated with a host of skin issues, from premature aging to dehydration. On the other hand: “A study last year showed that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a 23 percent lower chance of developing rosacea,” Dr. Geria says. (I mean… impressive, sure, but that’s a jitter-inducing amount of java.) “This benefit can be attributed to not only the caffeine, but also the high amount of polyphenols in coffee, which function as antioxidants,” the dermatologist explains. Antioxidants, as a refresher, help defend against premature aging and environmental aggressors. Most likely, these negatives and positives cancel each other out, and coffee has a net zero impact on skin health. “When caffeine is consumed in moderation there really should be no adverse effect to the skin,” Dr. Geria confirms. That being said, every body is different, and some may be more susceptible to the not-so-great side effects of a large soy latte than others.



Starting to suspect your cold brew’s been messing with your complexion? Ahead, five coffee alternatives that only have upsides.

Matcha Tea

“We’re definitely a very coffee-centric society, and people are right to start questioning the overall benefits and risks,” Sarah Koszyk, M.A., R.D.N., a registered dietitian and founder of MIJA Naturals, tells TZR. “Drinking too much coffee can result in increased anxiety and decreased sleep quality” — both of which impact your skin, by the way. Her suggestion? Say good morning to matcha.

“There is a rare class of amino acids in matcha, L-theanine, that works with the caffeine to release a ‘calm focus’ that aficionados describe as a high, that unwinds stress, enhances focus, and promotes creativity,” she says. Which is precisely why ceremonial-grade, organic matcha is the base of her daily supplement, the Superstar. “Beyond this, so many of our ingredients such as goldenberries, camu camu, lucuma, cacao, avocado, turmeric, hemp seeds, chlorella, and nutritional yeast also provide comprehensive, anti-aging, health-optimizing benefits — from fortifying the immune system to optimizing skin health for glowing beauty from within,” Koszyk says. Simply mix a tablespoon or two with hot water (it’s very tasty) and enjoy.

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Products

Most early-to-mid stage investment firms raise a new fund every three or four years. But most investment firms are not CAVU Venture Partners. The disruptive, better-for-you consumer goods venture firm started by “Hollywood Brandfather” and Shark Tank TV star Rohan Oza and private equity powerhouse Brett Thomas is doing things differently. 

Having already secured multiple large exits since the firm’s launch in 2016, they’ve been able to close three funds in rapid succession, spending only weeks on fundraising. In 2017, only 10 months after investing, they sold Bai antioxidant group to Dr. Pepper Snapple for $1.7 billion. Next up they invested in Beyond Meat, which is worth about $5 billion and had the best performing IPO in nearly two decades. Then, this September, the company sold ONE Brands to Hershey for $397 million. 

In fewer than four years, CAVU has invested in some of the hottest, fastest growing consumer brands in the food, beverage, beauty, personal care and pet markets. CAVU co-founders and managing partners Rohan Oza and Brett Thomas announced their third flagship investment fund, an oversubscribed capital pool of $250 million, up from $156 million and $209 million from their inaugural funds in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The powerhouse duo shared with me why they decided to launch a venture firm dedicated to better-for-you CPG brands, their strategy for raising a third fund in under four years and their plans for the next generation of CAVU-backed unicorns.

Yola Robert: Why did you start CAVU?

Brett Thomas: We started CAVU with a pretty lofty purpose in mind, one that’s core to who we are and how we operate. We exist to democratize healthy living for as many humans as possible. If we can play even a small role in helping people feel better about themselves by supporting brands that offer healthier, accessible choices, we all win. At the end of the day, we want to improve people’s lives—and that starts with what we eat and drink. 

Rohan Oza: Everybody in America is looking to feel better about themselves, and it all starts with what you put in and on your body. Tomorrow’s consumer is driving a seismic shift in our industry; we want to be a part of that story. By tapping the brands of tomorrow right now, the next generation of Americans can lead healthier lives.

Robert: Why did you decide to partner together?

Thomas: I’d long been a fan of Rohan’s work building some of the most iconic, better-for-you brands of the last few decades. He redefined an industry with his game-changing 50 cent/Vitaminwater partnership and has continued to disrupt the celebrity/brand partnership model with other A-Listers like Jennifer Aniston and Justin Timberlake. But it’s his amazing ability to forge lasting relationships with founders that sold me. He bonds with entrepreneurs like no one I’ve ever seen. With deep respect and trust, he helps founders craft a vision—and then realize it. 

Oza: I’ve helped build some incredible brands, and Brett has always been a fantastic hunter and investor. We complement each other perfectly. I admire his fierce, winning attitude and his uncanny ability to identify, seek out and ultimately partner with some of the most promising better-for-you brands in our space.

Robert: How are you different from other CPG venture firms?

Thomas: We take an active, hands-on approach to helping companies evolve from promising upstarts into iconic, household brands. Unlike other firms, our approach is much more hands-on. We have in-house experts in marketing, branding, e-commerce, and talent…people who have actually walked in the shoes of our brand partners and come from the CPG, start-up and agency worlds.

Oza: We provide an internal brand-building resource for our partners. We’ve invested in top talent on the value-add side of the business so that we can offer this kind of help. We’ve completed award-winning caliber packaging design, cutting-edge creative campaigns, comprehensive e-commerce overhauls, and critical, nationwide expansions into major retailers.

 Robert: Rohan, you have made a name for yourself with celebrity partnerships. Are there any recent partnerships with any of the CAVU that have been a success?

Oza: I think Kurt Seidensticker and the Vital Proteins team got it right with the Kourtney Kardashian partnership. She has been a fan of their collagen-based protein for years, so the collaboration was authentic. The much-loved kid nutrition brand Once Upon a Farm , co-founded by John Forakker and Jennifer Garner, is also doing incredibly well. Jen is highly engaged, a great mom and very vocal about the brand’s mission, as she was a driving force behind its creation.

Robert: Beyond the exits such as Bai, OneBar, and Beyond Meat, what are other investments successful investments in CAVU’s portfolio?

Thomas: We’re excited about all our brands, but a couple standouts include collagen-based protein market leader Vital Proteins, which has grown 500% since we invested, and HIPPEAS, the insanely delicious organic chickpea puffs, which has grown 800% since we invested.

Robert: What are your plans for fund 3?

Thomas: We will continue to seek out the most passionate entrepreneurs behind the most disruptive, innovative brands. We started out in food, beverage and pet care and are expanding more into personal care and beauty. Men’s personal care company Hims, valued at over $1.1 billion according to Forbes, marked our first major expansion into that category.

Robert: What are your future plans for the firm? 

Oza: We’ve grown a lot in our short history. We’ve expanded from only three employees to a team of nearly 20 spread across Los Angeles, Austin and New York. We’ve invested significantly in our team because they’re critical to the long-term success of our firm and brand partners. 

Thomas: We’ve never been more excited about the transformation of the consumer goods space, especially in food, beauty and personal care. The barriers to entry have never been lower for innovative entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas. We are more bullish than ever on partnering with incredible founders to ultimately help us all live healthier lives. 

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Food

Since its launch, ZitSticka has worked to dismantle stigma against acne and normalize the conversation surrounding it. And now, the cult pimple patch label is making the case for the acceptance of pimples with its new campaign, We Got You.

Shot by Ashley Armitage, the commercial shows women doing everyday things — eating a late night snack or drinking a glass of wine — that have been apparently known to cause breakouts. Highlighting the shame women feel around it, the campaign urges viewers to do what they want anyway and basically, not give a fuck.

“We wanted to develop scenes that felt familiar; little vignettes of everyday life that we can all laugh at because we’ve been there before,” ZitSticka Creative Director Ben Tan says of the 90-second campaign video. “We also wanted to avoid telling our audience how to live a perfect life to achieve better skin, because it’s a bit more complex than that. Who are we to chastise others for indulging in ice cream after a long day?”

 

 

Created in collaboration with make-up artist Shideh Kafei, Armitage made it a point to not try to conceal the blemishes on the models — something that was integral to the photographer in order to keep the message authentic.

 

“It would be too easy to make a shiny campaign video and cast models with flawless skin,” said Melissa Kenny, Director of Communications at Zitsticka. “As newcomers to the skincare space we want to explore breakouts in relevant and meaningful ways, while infusing our tone-of-voice and humor. A key part of the ZitSticka ethos is bringing transparency to the acne space—a space typically glossed over, sidestepped or approached in a clinical light.”

For more information visit zitsticka.com.

Photo courtesy of ZitSticka

 

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Food
An investment banker fueled by late-night ice cream binges, David Greenfeld set out to create his own plant-based ice cream after noticing a lack of real ingredient-driven options in the vegan section of the frozen aisle. With David Cohen in August 2016, he launched Dream Pops, a plant-based, dairy-free, superfood popsicle in flavors like vanilla matcha, mango rosemary and chocolate with lion’s mane mushrooms. Dream Pops are now in more than 400 stores, including Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Fairway Market and D’agostino. The company also partners with brands, such as Don Julio, Soho House and Starbucks, to offer limited edition flavors given out at events or pop-ups.
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Food

Extra, a New York-based emerging startup, is elevating the guest experience at hospitality spaces by attracting travelers with an array of brands that go beyond the traditional “pay as you consume” minibar. 

 

With an overall goal to shift the guest’s relationship with in-room product offerings, Extra marries product discovery and upscale hospitality through a distribution model that rewards guests for reviewing complimentary amenities and provides useful consumer data at low cost to properties and product makers. 

Launching in the United States, Extra partners with premium hospitality spaces, such as boutique hotels, luxury rental properties, co-living, aparthotels, wellness spaces and short-term vacation-rental properties to place curated selections of amenities in guestrooms. The company’s displays are designed to entice with products that appeal to a generation of travelers hungry for new experiences, such as Dirty Lemon, Ettitude, Vital Proteins, Native and more. 

 

Built on the growing need for data and a direct relationship with customers, Extra uses welcome cards that encourage guests to contribute product reviews and earn rewards on the Extra platform via smartphone QR scan or SMS messaging. Rewards range from discounts on products to discounts on future stays and experiences. Extra then provides this guest feedback to properties in order to improve future guest stays and help them make smarter purchasing decisions. The more products guests use and the more reviews they provide, the more rewards they receive, and the more data flows to properties and brands to personalize stays and drive operational efficiency.

“Our mission across the board is to help partners, hospitality and brand alike, to provide an elevated experience. That’s why it’s so important to us that we help them to really get to know their audience. Our review and reward platform is the perfect way to do that,” Extra founder/CEO Gen Liston said in a statement. “We’re putting highly desirable, disruptive products right in the hands of consumers, and delivering them in a way that helps hotels elevate their guest experiences and provides valuable feedback to product makers.” 

Extra’s twist on product placement has found broad interest in boutique hotel and short-term rental spheres around the world. Since launching its platform in Liston’s native Australia in 2018, the company has signed tens of thousands of lifestyle properties to feature Extra displays in guestrooms and has distributed more than 1 million products.

“We see a lot of opportunity to grow our partner base and heighten guest experiences across the U.S. by connecting with independent boutique hotels, midsize hotel collections and upscale Airbnb-style rentals to feature the most exciting products for their guests,” said Liston, who notes that each “powered by extra” offering typically features $70 worth of consumer products for guests to sample.

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There are few things as annoying as waking up to a brand-new blemish. There are definitely ways you can embrace the unexpected breakout — including some space-inspired stickers or colorful makeup — but that doesn’t make an overnight guest taking up space on your face any less ugh-inducing. Zitsticka wants to change all that, and has announced a temporary giveaway that celebrates surprise acne.

The brand behind a set of pimple stickers recently unveiled its We Got You ad campaign. The campaign features an adorable series of acne-positivity ads that highlight how sometimes pimples can just happen, and that acne is something everyone deals with. Whether it’s a pimple caused by a late-night craving for something sweet or a blemish induced by the stress of literally everything you have to do in a day, Zitsticka’s campaign sends an encouraging message that yes, acne happens, and it’s okay.

 

 




Along with the vintage-inspired social media clips, Zitsticka is taking the We Got You message one step further, and is promising to be there for New Yorkers. That’s right, NYC, the brand wants to give you free stickers, and in order to get some all you have to do is take a selfie and tag it with #ZSWeGotYou and @zitsticka. The giveaway ends on Friday, but you still have a few more days to cross your fingers for a pimple you can use a patch on.

If you don’t happen to live in NYC, the company does have an online store, and as the Teen Vogue Acne Awards demonstrated, there are plenty of products available, including patches, to possibly use in your skin-care routine.

 

Ultimately, as much as we try to prevent acne from happening, sometimes a pimple will just pop up, and whether you cover it with a sticker or choose to follow in the footsteps of your fave celebs and embrace the zit remains up to you. Skin care is all about finding the product and routine that makes you feel comfortable in your skin.

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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: You Can Now Cover Your Breakouts With Star Stickers, Thanks to This New Skin-Care Brand


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Body Buliding, Technology

In the past week alone, every single human in the U.S. has gotten a pimple, according to very scientific data I just made up. But seriously, if I’m basing this solely off a dozen frantic, late-night text messages from friends and coworkers, then yeah, virtually everyone I know—including yours truly—has been inducted into the Big-Ass Breakout Club this summer, and we’re all asking the same thing: What the f*ck is happening right now?? Are we under attack? Is this the second (puberty) coming? WILL WE EVER BE OKAY?!

So, with a ZitSticka patch covering the throbbing cystic zit on my jaw and salicylic acid globbed onto the mysterious little whiteheads sprinkling my nose, I begged for answers from dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale University and OG calmer of my skin anxieties. And according to Dr. Gohara, there very much is a reason why you’re breaking out right now. Actually, there are three:

REASON #1: 
It’s this g’damn stupid heat wave.

Right now, around the country (and even in Europe), record-high temperatures are basically signaling the apocalypse. I mean, the freaking Washington Post is calling it “the hottest month that humans have ever recorded,” and guess what? None of this bodes well for your skin (or for the planet, but more on civilization-ending global warming later).

“When it’s really hot, people tend to sweat significantly more,” says Dr. Gohara. “That sweat then sits on your face, mixing with all the sticky gunk and grime and pollution in the air to create the perfect environment for pores to clog and acne-causing bacteria to grow.” Yay! I love summer!

But the heat and humidity are only half of the problem. You’re the other half. “When we notice, Holy shit, my face is a Crisco pad, we tend to touch our skin more—blotting with shirts or towels or sheets, wiping or fixing makeup with fingers, dusting on more powder to mattify the shine, and feeling for new or growing zits,” says Dr. Gohara. “So not only are you introducing new bacteria and oils to your face, but you’re also irritating your skin barrier with all the wiping and touching.” And an irritated barrier is an angry barrier—one that’ll start breaking out even harder from the disruption.

THE FIX:

Hands. Off. Your. Face. Seriously—get your hands off your skin, stop rubbing at it, don’t triple-cleanse during the day, don’t pack on the makeup to cover the grease. Instead, gently soak up the shine once or twice a day with fragrance-free oil blotting sheets (my favorite: Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets), wash your face once or twice a day with a creamy, non-foaming cleanser (see below), and keep your makeup to a minimum on the areas where you tend to break out most. And maybe move to Alaska.

REASON #2: 
You’re blasting the A/C.

This goes hand in hand with the hellacious heat wave (is it fall yet?), but if you’ve been sitting in front of your air conditioner for three weeks or blasting your car’s A/C or existing only in frigid coffee shops, classrooms, planes, or offices, it could actually be breaking you out.

“Air-conditioning usually removes moisture from the air, making it incredibly drying, especially if it’s blasting you right in the face,” says Dr. Gohara. “So it ends up sucking the moisture from your face, which causes your skin to overproduce oil to compensate for the dryness.”

The result? Extra-oily skin (yup, even if your skin looks matte and dry; your pores produce oil from within, and too much too quickly can clog the pore before it reaches the surface). So while the A/C is kicking your oil production into overdrive, the heat wave is cranking out the sweat and the humidity is mixing it all together and sticking it to your skin.

THE FIX:

Adopt an electricity-free life—maybe move to a remote shack on the beaches of Bali? Just kidding. There’s not much you can do when A/C is virtually everywhere in the summer, except try to redirect the air from blowing on your face as much as possible. If you’re traveling, push the air vents in your car away from your face or twist the airplane’s vent above your seat closed. And try adding a portable humidifier (the Hey Dewy Portable Facial Humidifier is honestly great) to your life—keep it on your desk, in the cupholder in your car, wherever. That bit of moisture can help offset some of the A/C’s drying effects.

REASON #3: 
You’re going crazy trying to fix your zits.

So you got a few zits (and then a few more), and you went bat-shit nuclear on your skin, trying to fix it fast. I get it—the panic is realBut changing up your entire routine, or even adding one new acne-fighting formula, can break the space-time continuum/your face.

“When people break out, they start reaching for more heavy-duty, acid-filled formulas, over-exfoliating their face, loading on the retinol and spot treatments, and basically flip to the extremes in the course of a week or a few days,” says Dr. Gohara. “And all that change creates a disruption in your skin’s equilibrium, causing it to freak out, dry out, and break out.” Think of your skin like a temperamental toddler—change its nap schedule and, IDK, dump some salicylic acid on it, and it’s going to be very pissed.

Also, if you do what I did—which was slather an acne-fighting serum all over my T-zone in a ~genius~ attempt at preventing more breakouts—you could inadvertently be causing the worst freaking breakout of your life: purging. “Purging is definitely a real thing,” says Dr. Gohara. “It’s when skin-resurfacing products, like retinoids and acids, bring your future zits to the surface of your skin all at once.”

It isn’t a surefire thing (you’re more likely to purge if you’re already acne prone or if you’re using a way stronger formula than usual), but it’s something to be aware of and ideally avoid. I knew all these things and yet I, the local idiot, still forged ahead, slapping acids on my face and waking up to whiteheads 48 hours later.

THE FIX:

Just…wait. Do nothing. I know, this sounds absolutely insane, but trying to radically alter your routine will bring you nothing but skin sadness. “Resist the compulsion to do anything differently, and try to avoid disrupting your skin as much as possible,” says Dr. Gohara.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use a gentle spot treatment on the zits you already have (try a salicylic-based spot treatment—I’ve been using Murad Rapid Relief Spot Treatment—for red, inflamed bumps or a gentle benzoyl peroxide spot treatment, like Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Spot Treatment, for whiteheads), but make sure to apply sparingly just once a day.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, your skin is under Mother Nature’s cruel, cruel thumb, so know that there’s only so much you can do this summer. Just be cognizant of not deviating from what you normally do and also resist the compulsion to wipe, scrub, or touch your skin more than normal this summer,” says Dr. Gohara. Yeah, it sucks, but hey—fall is just a few weeks away, and if you’re really concerned (like you need that cystic zit gone now), you can head to your dermatologist for a cortisone injection or an extraction.

So next time (tonight) you’re staring at your new crop of zits in the mirror, take a few deep breaths, remember that breakouts are totally normal, and they’ll probs die a quick, painless death in a few weeks anyway.

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Products

Well, Actually is a column by Slate’s Shannon Palus. She tests health and wellness products to help readers figure out what they should try, what they should skip, and why.

A new company called ZitSticka is bringing the luxury of skin care to: the acne patch. The brand’s one and only product so far is the “Killa Kit.” The size of a large ring box, it contains supplies to help eight “up-and-coming” pimples become an “ex-zit.” It is millennial pink. The product’s Instagram inexplicably contains photos of a sun-dappled daybed and a white-tiled rain shower. At $30 per a box, or nearly $4 per a treatment, it would be easy to declare the patch just another overpriced addition to the skin care market. It is, kind of—as with so many potions, there’s at least one inexpensive and nearly identical option. But contained inside the cute box is actually some interesting technology.

Acne patches are not new. The first were little more than hydrocolloid bandages, hydrocolloid being a type of wound dressing that was introduced in the 1970s as part of “the moist wound care revolution.” As chemist and educator Michelle Wong explains on her beauty science blog Lab Muffin, hydrocolloid bandages are flexible, made from materials like cellulose and gelatin and then covered in a thin film of plastic. The flexible part sucks up fluid, in the case of a zit, deflating it. It’s essentially a way to pop the thing slowly. Hydrocolloid pimple patches (round versions of the wound bandages) have been used in Asia for over a decade. The first one, Wong estimates, was from a brand called 3M (the same parent company that makes Taylor Swift’s favorite kind of picture-hanging wall tape). You may have heard of the patches via the Korean brand Cosrx, which distributes them in a plain white-and-red envelope, all stuck to the same plastic sheet kind of like pre-cut moleskin or corn cushions.

And they sure work. In addition to glowing review after glowing review for these things, in 2006 a group of researchers in Taiwan ran a (very) small study confirming their utility. Researchers used acne patches from 3M, sold under the clinical and descriptive label “Acne Dressing” on 10 participants. They gave another 10 regular old medical tape. Everyone in the patch group reported that their acne improved at least moderately, while just a fifth of the treatment group said the same, which tracked with the researchers’ quantitative observations.

Some patches can be more sophisticated by including medication like salicylic acid with the hydrocolloid base, like Peace Out Dots and Clearasil spot patchesothers just have medication on a plain plastic dot. Recently, companies like ZitSticka have begun adding spikes or “microdarts” to a hydrocolloid base. A cousin of the microneedle that can allow ingredients to penetrate deeper into your skin (when used by a pro, at least), these microdarts shuttle salicylic acid in the dot beneath the surface. As Wong points out, in a post sponsored by another company that makes microdart zit patches, a similar dissolving needle technology has been explored for vaccines and insulin delivery. (Luxury makeup brand Dr. Jart has a whole line of, essentially, spikey tape designed to banish everything from zits to under-eye circles.) According to ZitSticka, these needles are ideal for early-stage cystic acne, while more straightforward pimples and whiteheads (anything pop-able) could more likely benefit from the cheaper, plainer hydrocolloidal patches.

I ordered a pack of the ZitStickas to see if they’d work for me. They are woefully expensive for an acne patch. (These similar ones, from a brand called Rael, are almost a quarter of the price, at just over a dollar a pop.) But the ZitSticka patches specifically make the process of treating an honest-to-god pimple kind of glamorous. The ring box–like packaging looks cute enough to display on a dresser. This is not an acne patch that you’d expect to find at a drugstore: In addition to the zit stickers, it comes with tiny cleaning wipes (each individual zit gets its own cleaning wipe!). “We got you covered,” an insert white lettering reads, alongside instructions on how to use each part and a stylized illustration of the microdarts dissolving into a pimple.

I wiped the zit area (I was thrilled to have a zit!) and stuck the patch to my face. I will be honest with you—I was so excited to try these that I didn’t even check what kind of zit I was popping them onto, nor am I confident enough in my zit taxonomy to tell you exactly what it was in hindsight. The patch did not hurt in the least, but it did feel very satisfying. To my surprise, the sticker was subtle enough that I then confidently left the house. After a couple hours, it flaked off, having lost its stickiness after the darts dissolved.

What was left in its wake was still definitely a pimple, but a noticeably smaller one. If I’ve ever tried a skin care product with such immediate results, I cannot remember it. Previously, the only instant acne treatment I’d heard of that worked right away was cortisone shots, which can cost$100 a (pimple) pop, which puts the $4 price tag into a little perspective.

In the future, I’ll probably pick a cheaper microdart acne patch—these ones from Rael look extremely similar if not identical to the ZitSticka offering, and are a third of the price. Whether a microdart patch works better than a non-microdart one is hard to say—there just hasn’t been that much scientific research into the acne-patch space. Dermatologists emphasize that acne patches alone aren’t a good strategy for keeping your face clean, and they probably aren’t economical for large breakouts. But acne patches are ideal product with which to do your own experimenting with: It’s fairly easy to see if a zit has gotten smaller within a few hours of wear. It’s also a relief. Even for all ZitSticka’s cute branding, zit stickers will probably never be relaxing or fun the way, say, a face mask is. But the straightforward results take a load off, nonetheless. That’s close to magic. 


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