Skin-Care Tips

This Cleanser Zapped the Biggest Zit of My Life in 24 Hours Flat

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Getty Images/ Scott Kleinman
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The past year has created a perfect storm for pimples to appear on any type of skin. Between stress, masks, and longterm exposure to indoor air, even people who rarely break out have suddenly had to deal with surprise zits popping up around their chin—and I am one of those people. As someone with a generally dry, dehydrated complexion, I hadn’t seen a pimple in over a year (though flaking and redness are a different story…) until last month, when a huge, red, inflamed little friend showed up on my chin. But with the help of Three Ships’ Refresh Papaya + Salicylic Acid Cleanser, it was gone in 24 hours flat.

As the name infers, the cleanser’s star ingredient is salicylic acid, which is lauded by derms for its acne-fighting abilities. It’s a betahydroxy acid, which means that it’s derived from lipid-soluble oils, and can get way deep down into your pores to target your zits from every level. “BHAs encourage exfoliation, helping to prevent and treat blocked pores,” says David Lortscher, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Curology. “Salicylic acid works by penetrating and dislodging the gunk (sebum) in your pores, so that it’s no longer trapped—resulting in a lower chance of triggering an acne breakout.”

The ingredient acts as a kerolytic—which means that it opens up your pores and cleans them from the inside out while also melting away dead skin—which is why face wash with salicylic acid has become a go-to for treating all kinds of acne. In addition to salicylic acid, the cleanser’s also got papaya, which helps to naturally brighten and balance your skin.

Three Ships Refresh Papaya + Salicylic Acid Cleanser

During my morning skin-care routine, I treated myself to a minute-long massage with the face wash, paying special attention to the areas around my pimple. Though it’s a foaming formula (which, considering I have dry skin, is something I’ve long been told to stay far, far away from), it didn’t give my complexion the dreaded “squeaky clean” feeling that indicates it’s been stripped of its natural oils. This is thanks to the fact that its packed with 10 different amino acids, which help to fortify the skin barrier and allow it to retain moisture. Though the brand suggests using the product once a day, I repeated the process at night (and followed up with my usual CeraVe Moisturizing Cream), and when I woke up the next morning, my pimple was completely gone.

In the month since this miraculous event, I’ve been using the cleanser a few times a week to stave off any impending breakouts, and despite all of my mask wearing (and stress, and the fact that I rarely leave the house), I haven’t seen even an inkling of a new pimple brewing. While I can’t promise that this face wash with salicylic acid can work this type of magic on all types of skin, I do know that it’s become as much a part of my personal permanent routine as wearing a mask and staying home.

For more tips on how to treat acne at home, check out the video below. 

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