This popular spot treatment is being searched for tens of thousands of times every month. Right now someone in the world’s Googling ‘______ ______ spot treatment’ – maybe it was you 😉
The average star rating this acne care product gets is 4.5/5.
It has thousands of genuine, raving product reviews shouting things like – ‘This works!’, ‘Go to spot zapper when you want it virtually gone overnight!’, ‘A quick dab of this on a spot dries it right out. Next morning gone. Must have’.
Yet I do not scientifically recommend you use it.
I hate this pimple-zapping product.
It destroys your skin for quick fix results – so short term – when you don’t realise you’re destroying your skin barrier, you’re thinking wow this works! I love it and will never be without my new holy grail spot treatment – ever.
What you don’t realise is that long term you’re making it extra likely your skin will break out in future – maybe in the same recurring place, over and over again.
What you don’t realise is that long term it’s likely also making your spot scars and the dark marks pimples leave behind, way worse.
It’s not just my opinion, this is published science… so come find out how to avoid this number acne mistake and instead get healthy, clear, glowing skin that has you feeling calm, confident and in control 😀
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
First of all, I do not want you to feel bad if you’ve used this Mario Badescu spot treatment before. I made very similar mistakes when I had active acne. It’s human to make acne mistakes like these – so the only thing I want you to feel right now is – yay – congratulations for being human and a sense of peace and calm that you’re now going to be doing much better things for your skin.
Changes that could have you clear for good without the need for drying spot treatments. Wahoo.
The number one reason why I hate Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (and let me be clear, I don’t hate all Mario Badescu products) is because it has a super high alcohol content.
This is the ingreidents list of Mario Badescu Drying Lotion; Isopropyl Alcohol, Aqua (Water, Eau), Calamine, Camphor, Sulfur, Zinc Oxide, Talc, Glycerin, Salicylic Acid, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).
First on the list means there’s most of this ingredient in the bottle, well over 50% in the case of this spot drying lotion formula.
Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is what us scientists call a short-chain alcohol – it’s fantastic at penetrating your skin barrier. It swims through. In fact, it’s been used in medicine to deliver drugs like estrogen deeply through your skin and into your bloodstream.
It’s pretty awesome at doing this – and psst – not many skincare ingredients are good at penetrating your skin in this way. In fact, you can think of this ingredient like being a member of the Royal (skincare) family – there’s only a handful of them in the world compared to us ‘commoners’ ;).
Your big challenge is, this ability of isopropyl alcohol in your skincare comes at a cost;
IPA fluidizes and disrupts the bilayer structure of the intercellular lipids.Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2003 Nov-Dec;16(6):393-404
Pwoar eh – what science gook. Don’t worry my friend, this is why you have me by your side. Let’s get to the nitty gritty…
Why I Hate Spot Drying Lotions
Almost exclusively your skin’s top layers are made up of oils and fats. Even if your skin type isn’t oily. Even if you don’t have spots and acne.
And psst – lipids is just a sciencey way of saying oils and fats.
Your skin’s oils and fats are super important because they help make your skin barrier – they stick your old dead skin cells together so they form a shield to the world.
A super-shield that helps stop you from being a pile of mush on the floor right now.
Without our skin that’s literally what we’d be – a pot of therapy putty 😂
So that super techy-sounding science quote I shared with you just now, all it’s actually saying is that – isopropyl alcohol messes up the special structure of fats and oils in your skin that help to form your skin shield.
Boom – you’re now a science geek like me.
Why I Don’t Recommend You Use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Do you remember how the first ingredient in Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion is Isopropyl alcohol? So we know this product is disrupting your skin barrier to ‘dry out your spots’.
The big trouble with drying out your spots in this way is that…
As the lipid barrier… is depleted…, the attenuated skin barrier will exhibit increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and increased epidermal penetration of irritants and allergens, propagating an inflammatory response.J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Dec;83(6):1730-1737
Translation: as your skin shield gets taken down by isopropyl alcohol, your skin gets all vulnerable… to dehydration (hence ‘drying lotion’) plus because it also doesn’t have a shield anymore – everything from the atmosphere around you is getting in. That’s pollution particles, dust, pollen, bad bacteria and viruses.
All of these are sending your skin in a spiral and because of this your skin’s immune function is getting powered up. And as your skin’s immune function is on high alert, this causes inflammation which ultimately can increase your chance of breaking out in this exact same spot again and again.
It also can worsen the spot scarring you’re left with after.
Why Drying Lotions Can Worsen Spot Scarring
Psst – there are two main types of spot scarring;
- The pink angry looking ones – we scientifically call this post-inflammatory erythema (PIE)
- Dark marks which take forever to fade – we scientifically call this post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
Do you notice a big word featuring in both types of acne scars?
And guess what your skin has way more of when your skin barrier’s ‘dried’ away – inflammation. Boom.
Extra helpings of inflammation from drying lotions because yes – your spot dries up overnight – but booo – you may also be left with way more pink and dark marks that take forever to fade.
When you’re stuck in a cycle of constant breakouts it feels like sweet relief to be rid of an active breakout, but spot scarring can leave you feeling just as bad.
Heads up: if you’re using a drying lotion and it stings or makes your skin feel like it’s burning – this is a sure sign your skin barrier’s already disturbed and using this spot treatment will likely cause you worse scarring.
How to Heal From Spots & Acne the Healthy Way
Instead of treating the surface symptoms of a breakout, the best way to heal from spots and acne forever – is to get to the trigger cause of your breakouts.
Which yes for most women is hormonal. But what almost all of the women I work with and who take my online course, Acne Warrior, haven’t realised before is that you can help to change your hormone patterns every day with natural changes to factors like your diet and supplements. In fact, diet is huge.
This is why your next step is to download my free acne diet cheatsheet – it’s your one-page start to a clear skin diet which works and has you feeling calm, confident and in control of your skin health. Click here to download your free copy.
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist, skin health expert & award-winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. Through her 1-2-1 services and video courses she’s here helping you get healthier, happier skin you feel comfortable, confident and like the freakin’ awesomesauce you are in. Select the option which best describes your skin health here to see and hear the amazing transformations you could be getting.