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I’m a little obsessive about skin care and always on the lookout for something to brighten, plump, moisturize and generally fix up my face without a lot of makeup. The one thing I usually don’t worry about is pimples.

I hesitate to say that because it sounds braggy, and I believe in jinxes, karma and all kinds of superstitions.

But, I am telling you this because I have seen the other side. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had something called perioral dermatitis, which is a fancy way of saying whitehead pimples all around my mouth and chin. It’s one of the more disgusting things that can happen to a person’s face.

It didn’t respond to normal acne treatments — that just made things worse — and my dermatologist at the time said she couldn’t really treat it because I was pregnant, and then breastfeeding. I suffered through this eruption for months and months while also having a difficult pregnancy and generally feeling like a giant, misshapen and spotted gourd.

The No. 1 thing I did for my skin was find a better dermatologist. After giving me a topical antibiotic, she followed with a prescription retinoid and prescription sulfur face wash that together cleared up 99 percent of my problems. (Try this Differin gel, which used to be prescription only. Sephora reviewers also love this Sunday Riley sulfur mask.)

For that other 1 percent, I have this Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. If I see a pimple start to surface I put this on and watch it disappear overnight.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $12 (normally $17), Amazon

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Mario Badescu Drying Lotion


There is a thick, pink goo made of calamine, zinc oxide and sulfur at the bottom of the bottle that you reach with a Q-tip through a clear liquid of salicylic acid and alcohol on top. (Don’t shake it.) It’s been Mario Badescu’s best-selling product for 50 years, and a single bottle lasts forever.

These products also come highly recommended by TODAY editors with glowing skin:

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel


“Absolute best product I’ve ever used!” one editor says. The $88 price tag includes 35 peel packs.

Tata Harper Clarifying Spot Solution


Another editor described this with a series of flower emojis.

Nexcare Acne Cover


An editor called these little pads the BEST thing she had ever used. (All caps hers.)

Differin Adapalene Gel Prescription-Strength Retinoid


This retinoid, which used to be prescription only, was recommended by an editor’s dermatologist sister-in-law.

Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment Gel


This spot treatment is another favorite.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare All-in-One Cleanser with Toner


Pair this with the daily peel above.

Looking for more skin solutions? Check out the serum that makes dark spots disappear and these fixes for acne, dandruff and other trouble spots. Or try the best drugstore beauty products under $5.

This article was originally published on October 23, 2017 on