How To Treat & Deal With Every Kind Of Spot |
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From whiteheads to blackheads and everything in between, we’ve all suffered with spots at one stage or another. And while it might be tempting to treat all manner of lumps and bumps in the same panicked way, targeting your treatment for different kinds of spots is the secret to a clearer complexion. To help you identify your spots and deal with them accordingly, we caught up with all-round skincare guru Charlotte Connoley for her insight...

Super Spot Remover Gel, £15.50 | Origins
Retinol 1% In Squalane, £5.80 | The Ordinary
Dermablend 3D Correction Foundation, £23 | Vichy


The best way to deal with discolouration – like acne scarring – is with retinol. The Ordinary’s Retinol 1% Solution is my go-to, but it’s also worth trying Origin’s Super Spot Remover Gel. Just be sure to go easy as these are strong products which can damage the skin if used excessively.

A full coverage foundation will be enough for the job – industry favourites include Vichy’s cult Dermablend and Clinique’s Anti Blemish Solutions Foundation.


Express Radiance Ice Cubes, £50 | Anne Semonin
SOS Primer, £26.50 | Clarins
Clear Extra Strength Exfoliant, £26 | Paula’s Choice Skincare


Always treat angry, red spots with kindness, and whatever you do, don’t pick at them. These spots can be super painful to the touch, so try to leave them alone and don’t touch them with your fingers. I recommend icing them to take down the swelling and reduce the redness; simply wrap an ice cube in a tissue and apply to the skin for as long as you can bear.

Light layers, and avoid anything  with heavy coverage. Angry spots often sit above the surface of the skin, so the bump will be visible, and using anything too thick or heavy will draw attention to it and make it look even bigger. Try a green primer or concealer to cancel out the redness, and use a light formula over the top to mask the angriness. Again, try and choose formulas that will be kind to irritated skin, and only ever use clean brushes.


Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, £24 | Kiehls
Effaclar BB Blur, £16.50 | La Roche-Posay
Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, £3.90 | The Ordinary


When it comes to blackheads, prevention is better than cure. Pay attention to your skin; blackheads are caused when dead skin cells and grime build up, building a plug in the skin which turns black when it comes into contact with the air. Always make sure you’re thoroughly removing your makeup each day – try and do this as soon as you get home. Clay masks work wonders to pull out excess dirt and impurities, which can help to prevent blackheads forming, as do serums containing AHAs and BHAs. Remember blackheads are notoriously difficult to remove – this job is best left to a professional otherwise you run the risk of pushing the infection deeper or causing damage to the skin.

Covering blackheads is easier than covering whiteheads – there’s often no physical bump or sore spot to contend with, but you should choose non-comodogenic products to make sure you’re not worsening the blackheads. La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar BB Blur is a good choice for a base product that will mask blackheads without exacerbating the problem.


Aqua Luminous Perfecting Concealer, £23 | BECCA 
Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturiser, £41 | NARS
Deep Repair Balm, £22.50 | Teoxane


If you’ve overdone it with the treatments, or it’s just one of those spots that just doesn’t seem to shift, the area can start to look dried out and flaky. The first step should be to hydrate the area, with a small amount of moisturiser to refresh and lessen the appearance of dryness – this should be enough to make sure you can pop on makeup and get on with your day. However, if it’s especially stubborn, try soaking a flannel in warm water, and pressing it against the area, very gently buffing in a circle to remove excess flakes, and then following up with an oil-free moisturiser.

Once the flakes are at bay, choose your most moisturising, hydrating products – I like to layer foundation and concealer with hydrating mists to keep the skin looking fresh and glowing. Avoid powder at all costs, instead opting for light formulas that won’t settle into dry patches, and apply in thin layers, building up as you need to.


Anti-Blemish Solutions Clearing Gel, £21 | Clinique
Overnight Clearing Gel, £45 | Dermalogica
Acne Control Foundation SPF 25, £54.95 | Oxygenetix


Using cleansers and toners that include salicylic acid will help to keep any oiliness at bay, but if a spot is already present, it’s best to try and dry it out. Sweep on a layer of a treatment like Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, which will eradicate excess oil – or for something more targeted, dot on Dermalogica’s Overnight Clearing Gel, which hones in on the spot and dries it out overnight, making it easy to cover and reducing the amount of time that it hangs around for.

An oil-free foundation is a must-have for oily skin types. Make sure you’re using an oil-free moisturiser and concealer, too. If an oily spot needs maintenance, press a tissue lightly against it, and cover again with a dry, thick concealer and a clean brush – and make sure that you clean the brush after every use to avoid adding further bacteria to the area.


Hydrance Optimale Light, £13.50 | Avene
Soft Matte Complete Concealer, £24 | NARS
Antiseptic Cream, £1.99 | Savlon


Picking spots is one of the biggest skincare no-no’s, but if the damage has been done, there are steps you can take to try and reduce the issue. Keep the area clean, and treat it with an antibiotic ointment to get rid of the bacteria and lessen the chance of further infection. Also be sure to keep it hydrated with a gentle moisturiser that will soothe without clogging up the area.

Much like an oily spot, if a picked spot is at the stage where it’s still secreting liquid, it can be tricky to cover and will need maintenance through the day. Keep tissues, clean brushes and plenty of concealer to hand. However, if it’s at the stage where it’s scabbed over and is looking dark, flaky and bumpy, you can try covering with a very light concealer first, then layering up with your usual concealer to add an extra layer of coverage.


AmazingConcealer, £31.99 | AmazingCosmetics
Effaclar A.I Breakout Corrector, £12 | La Roche-Posay
Rejuvenating Facial Elixir, £32 | MBotanicals


Whiteheads are a combination of sebum and dead skin which combine to form an unsightly plug on the skin’s surface – they can be both annoying and painful when they crop up. A whitehead may be the safest spot to pop at home but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful – popping a whitehead gives a risk of infection and spreading the bacteria further.

The best treatment is to leave it alone, treating it daily with a retinol cream. However, if you really can’t resist, apply a warm flannel to the area (this will bring the plug to the surface) before using a cotton bud to very gently apply pressure to one side of the whitehead. If it’s difficult or sore to pop, leave it alone. Always go gentle and if there’s any sign of blood or clear liquid coming from the area, stop immediately. Once you’ve managed to loosen some of the debris, treat the area with a salicylic acid-containing product, and consider using a serum such as MBotanicals’ Rejuvenating Facial Elixir, which will fight the spots before they surface.

While it’s best to let the skin breathe, realistically this isn’t always an option. To cover a whitehead, try using a small brush to apply a thick, creamy concealer to the redness around the spot, but nowhere else. After you’ve applied concealer, give the whitehead a little pat-down before setting with a matching powder and blend with the rest of your makeup.


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