This page has everything you need to know about how to get rid of acne.
Like most things in skin care, the best acne treatment differs from person to person.
Why? Because the causes of acne are individual based on your body (genetics, allergies/intolerances, environment, lifestyle, etc.)…
However – this can be a good thing!
Just because one person’s acne cleared with a particular product and yours didn’t does notmean you won’t get success with something else.
HERE IS HOW TO GET RID OF ACNE:
1) Understand the different “types” of acne and the fundamental causes – this clues you in to what may be the contributing factors to your condition. This takes away the mystery and puts you in control.
2) Follow the steps on this page to find your best acne treatment – there is a step by step guide, best products, home remedies, quick tips and more!
The Types of Acne
– Important to Know –
The “common” type of acne that is related to the bacteria on the surface of skin (Propionibacterium acnes), sebaceous activity, inflammation and skin cell turnover (ref: Medscape).
This is the condition antibiotics are normally prescribed for – which can be successful at treating it. No luck with antibiotics may be due to the underlying cause of your acne not being the bacteria.
Cystic acne is a form of acne vulgaris that has a large amount of inflammation. This manifests in deep, painful pus filled cysts.
Severe cystic acne should be treated by a dermatologist/doctor. Please see yours if you are concerned.
Adult Acne / Hormonal Acne
Deeper cysts are common along the jawline – especially around the menstrual cycle in women.
This can be really frustrating as your skin may be clear one week then erupt the next!
What Causes Acne
It is what causes this (the imbalance in sebum, dead skin cells, and inflammation) that we need to deal with.
- If you have deep, blind pimples or cysts that only appear around the chin area – and that get worse on “schedule” about once a month, it usually caused by hormones
- If you have breakouts that just don’t go away, this can often be caused by external factors especially your skin care products! (This is an overlooked and very simple cause, details below)
- Blackheads are usually to do with skin “type” – an oily skin will have larger pores and more likely blackheads. These aren’t limited to adult acne but are usually worse in this condition
HORMONES: “Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes.“ – Medline
The above quote highlights the direct relationship hormones have with our largest organ, our skin.
Some factors that disrupt our body’s natural equilibrium (hormonal balance):
- Sleep – inadequate sleep increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol which increases inflammation. And because with adult acne we are usually dealing with aging concerns simultaneously, lack of sleep can affect these too.
- Lack of exercise – exercise is one of the best ways to control stress by burning off extra energy, promoting better sleep, and creating endorphins in the brain which just make you feel better. The increase in circulation also ensures all your body systems are working optimally.
- An unnatural diet – either a lack of whole foods, good fats and vitamins. Or it could be too much dairy, sugar, refined carbs or bad fats.
- Normal changes and fluctuations – simple aging and body changes, pregnancy, menopause, changes in contraception etc. No wonder acne can be hard to deal with!
The Wrong Skin Care Products
- Skin care products – if a product is too rich for your skin, or has an ingredient that your skin reacts to, it can cause acne. Not just the odd breakouts, but deep pimples that never seem to go away.
If you’ve tried everything to treat your acne, this could be it.
For example, Estee Lauder has some great moisturizers – however for a lot of people they are too rich and cause some serious breakouts.
Simply switching to a different product can clear up your acne in a week or two!
This is a sneaky and very important cause, as it will override everything else! You can have the best exfoliation, cleansing, diet, etc… and STILL suffer from breakouts if they are caused by a moisturizer, serum, or foundation.
So think about what you are using and if you have a suspect – stop using it for at least a week and see if there is a difference.
See how to avoid the acne cycle below.
Other Common Causes of Acne
- Not cleansing before exercising – do you work out straight after work without washing your face beforehand? A quick wipe with witch hazel before and after very workout can prevent this
- Pollution/smog/humidity – smog, grime and dirt can settle on skin and mix with sunscreen, sweat and make up. Humidity can cause sweating that dries on skin and opens pores which are then susceptible to clogging.
- Shampoo and hair products – if you mainly breakout out around the side of your face or forehead, it may be your hair products or even just your hair itself touching your face and distributing pore clogging oils
- Change in environment – if you’ve moved from a city with high humidity to one with dry air, for example, your skin may react in the form of acne. This will usually clear on its own once it settles down.
Step by Step Acne Treatment
STEP 1: KEEP A SKIN JOURNAL/DIARY
1) Your daily diet (this can be surprising once it’s on paper!)
2) Sleep patterns, tiredness, energy levels
3) Your skin – new breakouts you notice and how long they last. Excess oiliness or dryness etc.
4) Anything you think is significant (alcohol, a stressful time, change in environment etc)
After a month you will definitely see patterns and these become invaluable clues of your adult acne causes.
1. Daily products and acne skin care routine
2. Weekly Acne Treatments
3. Internal – sleep, water, diet, supplements
4. Other factors and tips
5. Call in the doctor
How to Get Rid of Acne
STEP 2: The Clear Skin Kick Start
Loading up on fruit and vegetables is great, but to really see the difference can take a long time and it tends be gradual.
IMPORTANT – Just increasing vegetables and improving your diet may not be enough if your digestive system isn’t working optimally.
A sluggish system can’t eliminate waste or absorb nutrients effectively, so any healthy changes to your diet won’t affect you as well as they should.
It’s kinda of like putting new, high performance oil in your car without changing the old oil out first.
A 3 day juice cleanse will serve as a ‘kick start’ that will clear out your system and give you a good boost.
- Try a 3 day juice fast
After doing a cleanse/detox, notice any changes to your skin once you start eating certain foods again. If you can, it’s a good idea to introduce them one at a time.
For example, the first couple of days you might reintroduce dairy. If you notice your breakouts suddenly becoming worse, that’s a good indication dairy is affecting your skin, and you may need to look at limiting your intake.
Best Acne Products
Here are the popular acne skin care products and ingredients.
Some definitely work better than others. The reasons why are detailed below along with specific product recommendations.
Getting this step right can go a long way to improving your skin!
Salicylic acid is a star acne product.
It can penetrate right into pores where it dissolves the oil and any blockages. It also has a slight antiseptic and drying effect on skin which makes it an excellent pimple and acne treatment.
Further – the exfoliation this BHA provides also helps brighten and smooth skin. It doesn’t just treat acne, it actually helps improve your skin.
Benzoyl peroxide helps by drying up the oil on your skin.
It can help temporarily, however a lot of people find after several weeks of use their skin becomes worse.
This is likely due to the over-drying that occurs. Your skin becomes more unbalanced, and the acne condition can actually become worse.
Zinc oxide is an excellent skin protectant – that’s why it’s used for diaper rash!
It has the power to calm inflammation and redness, making it great for acne and inflamed skin.
Best Moisturizer for Acne
– Avoid the “Acne Cycle!”
- Properly hydrated skin is properly balanced – it produces a healthy amount of oil which keeps skin supple and firm, but doesn’t cause shine, pimples or blackheads. Fine lines and sensitivity are less of a concern, it just looks healthier and younger!
- In order for skin to be properly hydrated, it has to be protected – the protective acid mantle of your skin is already compromised which contributes to the acne condition in the first place. A lot of treatments and medications continue to destroy this, which is why acne can get worse over the long term
Plus it needs to be soothing, easily absorbed and non greasy.
Phew! Is this asking too much?! Not at all. Read on for the best moisturizer for acne – one that can deliver all these benefits and more.
- The innovative, oil free gel formula is refreshing to apply, and a little goes a long way!
- Formulated with Hyaluronic Acid it restores and locks in moisture without greasiness, and helps stimulate new cell growth improving the natural repair and healing process
- Seaweed Extract helps to tighten, hydrate and smooth skin
- Soothing, anti inflammatory and protective – it creates a barrier on your skin allowing it to heal and strengthen
- Easily absorbed, controls oil all day and is the perfect make up base
- If you need an extra moisture boost at night it can be used as a hydrating serum, just layer a basic heavier cream over top
- All these benefits make the Oil Free Moisturizing Gel great for adult acne, when you’re battling breakouts and aging concerns!
Best Acne Mask
A mask provides an intense, strong, active treatment to give your skin a “boost”.
While your day-to-day skin care should consist of exfoliation, the right moisturizer, and good protection, a mask can act as an important kick in your treatment regime.
Can be used as a spot treatment.