If you’ve ever had surgery, or saw it in action as a spectator, then you’re familiar with that brown liquid applied to cleanse the skin pre-incision. Well, that ‘brown stuff’ is called Povidone-iodine—brand name, Betadine—and it just might be the miracle pimple solution you’ve been looking for.
Povidone-iodine is a non-irritating antiseptic solution that works by slowly releasing iodine into the skin to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause or perpetuate infections and wounds. The mere bacteria that cause pimples wouldn’t stand a chance.
But don’t go rubbing this stuff all over your face as a just-in-case measure. According to researchers at UCLA, we all possess acne-causing bacteria, but there are good and bad strains, which explains why some of us suffer horrific breakouts and some of us don’t. “We learned that not all acne bacteria trigger pimples,” explains Dr. Huiying Li, assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA. “One strain may actually help keep skin healthy.”
The best way to use Povidone-iodine to effectively wipe out a breakout without harming the friendly bacteria: apply it as an overnight spot treatment. Dab it on pimples you can actually see as well as the ones that you can feel festering under the surface of your skin. The Povidone-iodine will heal the infection on the surface and even blast the bacteria in a burgeoning blemish before it peaks, allowing for prompt healing without leaving a scar.
To avoid defeating the purpose, use a sterile cotton swab. Our pick: Betadine Swab Aid Antiseptic Pads, $13. And no popping or picking! Sit on your hands if you have to.
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