If you’ve browsed the beauty and skincare aisles at your local CVS, you’ve probably spotted (or even picked up) the Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots. The Korean beauty brand’s blemish treatment is the top-selling acne product in CVS, with over 30 million patches sold so far. Founded by celebrity esthetician Alicia Yoon, Peach Slices enlists natural ingredients and K-beauty innovations to create skincare treatments that are clean and effective.
Now, the brand has created the perfect acne-fighting trifecta with its new Deep Blemish Microdarts ($9) and Dark Spot Microdarts ($9). The magic of the microdarts? It's all in the technology. Peach Slices’ Microdart Melt-Tech boasts 176 microdarts— more than any other brand—that self-dissolve deep into the skin to treat underground blemishes, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.
“The Deep Blemish Microdarts are best for early-stage, underground, or harder-to-reach blemishes," Yoon says. "If your blemish has not yet come to a head and you can’t see an opening, these Deep Blemish Microdarts are your solution." These patches contain a potent blend of 0.4% salicylic acid, willow bark extract, tea tree oil, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and cica. Together, these products work to de-gunk blemishes and soothe skin. The Dark Spot Microdarts are filled with a slightly different formula to rapidly improve hyperpigmentation. “The formula’s base is hyaluronic acid because a hydrated skin environment is best for improving the look of dark spots and then there’s 4% niacinamide combined with licorice and ascorbic acid," Yoon says. "Together, this powerhouse brightening complex with soothing cica ensures fast and visible results." The transparent patches can be worn overnight or under makeup and can be applied every eight hours, as needed.
On the heels of Peach Slices’ latest launch, we wanted to know more of Yoon’s expert tips on banishing blemishes. Below, Yoon breaks down the different types of breakouts and how to treat each one.
What are the main types of breakouts and how are they different? How can someone tell them apart?
Breakouts can actually range dramatically in how they look and feel. On top of that, the cause of breakouts can also be very different. This can make it all the more frustrating when tackling breakouts because there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution. Before we dive into solutions, let’s breakdown the different kinds of breakouts:
- Whiteheads are tiny pockets of buildup made up of dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria that are trapped within pores. Even though there aren’t the telltale signs of inflammation and redness, whiteheads are still considered pimples.
- Blackheads are like whiteheads except there’s an opening of the pore at the skin’s surface. This opening allows oxygen to mix with the excess oil, which then oxidizes it and turns it black.
- Papules look most like what we would imagine when we think of a pimple. They’re smaller than larger cystic breakouts, but unlike whiteheads or blackheads, there are signs of inflammation—there's some redness, some swelling and some pain.
- Pustules are similar to papules, except there’s also a yellow or white visible center on the top of the breakout from the liquid pus that’s gathered inside the breakout.
- Cysts are more intensive and severe than papules or pustules, are deeper within the skin, show clear signs of infection and inflammation, can be larger in size, and are typically much more painful and slower to heal. They are pus-filled so when you touch them, they’re softer to the touch than nodules, which are similar to cysts but much firmer to the touch with no / less pus inside them.
- Fungal acne is not really like acne at all. Unlike all the other types of acne that are a result of clogged and infected pores, fungal acne is caused by an overgrowth of yeast (yes, we have yeast on our skin!). Fungal acne can often be confused with whiteheads or papules.
How do you recommend each type of breakout gets treated?
Ultimately, other than with fungal acne, all other forms of acne can be triggered by underlying inflammation. Even if the actual breakout is not inflamed, if there’s an inflammatory response triggered by stress, hormonal imbalances or disruptions, or dehydrated skin, for example, a specific hormone called CRH can be released. This hormone can actually trigger an overproduction of sebum and retention hyperkeratosis (dead skin cells don’t slough off the skin as easily). This combination can ultimately lead to more clogged pores and more breakouts. So, the key is to keep inflammation away. For managing acne-prone skin—from whiteheads to much more intensive breakouts—there are a few universally beneficial skincare routine elements to keep in mind:
- Double cleanse: The overproduced sebum (which is different from healthy lipids on skin composed of cholesterol, ceramides, and fatty acids) is more heavy on wax esters. This sebum in our pores can act as a greasy, sticky trap for impurities, which can lead to eventual breakouts. Dissolve those oil-based impurities with an oil-based cleanser that washes off without any residue, like the Peach Slices Peach Pudding Makeup Cleanser ($10). Then, follow up with a water-based cleanser. The key here is to use gentle, hydrating, low pH, sulfate-free cleansers. Why? Because a stripping cleanser disrupts out skin barrier, which plays a critical role in keeping bacteria out helping to prevent breakouts.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Dehydrated skin can trigger an inflammatory response, which can lead to breakouts. It’s not easy to keep skin hydrated because daily stressors can lead to a weakened skin barrier, which can in turn lead to transepidermal water loss. So, don’t worry about over-hydrating skin. Indulge in absorbent, humectant-rich formulas, like the Peach & Lily Wild Dew Treatment Essence ($39), to keep hydration levels up.
- Use anti-inflammatory ingredients: Again, going to the theme of inflammation as one of the underlying root causes of acne, turning to ingredients known for their anti-inflammatory properties is a great idea. The Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum ($39) includes 2% niacinamide, which can help with inflammation (and make dark spots look brighter!), and madecassoside, which can also help with inflammation.
- Exfoliate, but just the right amount: It’s key to keep cell turnover boosted and dead skin cells off the skin, but be sure not to overdo it as agitating the skin barrier can exacerbate breakouts. The Peach & Lily Good Acids Pore Toner ($39) is a great daily exfoliating toner that keeps it super gentle and hydrating, so you don’t overdo it. Try incorporating every other day, and work your way up to daily. And if your skin loves it, even twice a day is okay.
Are there any specific solutions you recommend to build onto an acne-curbing skincare routine?
- Whiteheads: The key here is to first exfoliate to help loosen the dead skin cells covering the opening of the pore with a powerhouse mask, like the Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask ($43). 10% AHA + 0.5% BHA both loosen up the dead skin cells and penetrate the oil to help degunk the lining of pores. Now with more exfoliated skin, it’s great to go in with a pore mask that will help suction out impurities. [Look for one with] kaolin clay and bentonite to act like a “pore vacuum” without drying out skin, thanks to nourishing hydrators.
- Blackheads: As the pore is already open, typically for blackheads, I like using a clay mask and don’t always find the need to exfoliate first. I try to stay away from pore strips, since they can weaken and enlarge your pores.
- Papules: For these active blemishes, I love using spot treatments like the Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots or the Deep Blemish Microdarts for more underground blemishes.
- Pustules: These blemishes have already come to a head so the Acne Spot Dots are perfect for helping to suction out and flatten blemishes fast without drying your skin out.
- Cysts and nodules: Typically, this requires a more comprehensive solution and these types of acne are best managed with your dermatologist. You can still use patches and spot treat, but you may want more intensive prescription solutions -- and importantly, address the underlying issue of the cysts and nodules with your doctor.
- Fungal acne: A surprising solution is using a dab of anti-dandruff shampoo, like Nizoral ($10), which can help curb back fungal acne.