Preventing and removing acne are the focus of any good routine for both teenage and adult acne. Generally, dermatologists recommend focusing more on prevention than removal, but it’s always best to use quality products on existing breakouts, too. That’s why we’ve created this guide to the best tips and tricks for pimple prevention and removal.
Before we launch into which products are best, we want to start with a basic explanation of what your skin really needs to be acne-free, and why your current skin care routine may not be meeting those needs ⚠️.
Acne Treatment Fundamentals
Generally, there are three steps to taking great care of your skin and finding the best acne solutions: be consistent, be gentle, and be smart. Our basic guidelines are all aligned with those of the American Academy of Dermatology 👩⚕️.
Be Consistent and Patient
Find a good skin care routine and stick with it twice a day for at least six weeks 🗓️. Few acne solutions provide immediate results, and jumping around from product to product is likely to result in more acne and more frustration. Similarly, using a skin care routine sporadically or missing multiple applications a week won’t give you the results you want 👍.
Facial skin tends to be especially sensitive to irritation, and this irritation is one of the main causes of acne. Many an acne-fighting ingredient 💪 in common pimple products is, in fact, irritating to the skin, which then tries to protect itself in ways that can actually cause acne. The skin can become inflamed and produce an extra burst of oil, both of which are major contributing factors to breakouts.
Before trying any new routine, check the label to see if it contains anything that might make acne worse. Also, before applying a new product to your face, test a small area on your arm to check for a reaction.
As the American Academy of Dermatology 👩⚕️ explains, acne is caused by substances that clog your pores. However, to understand the process, let’s look more closely at the causes.
Causes of Acne
The following cause acne:
- inflammation 🔥
- overactive oil glands
- bacteria that cause acne 🦠
A family history 👪 of this skin condition may play a role, too. If you have severe breakouts, you may need to see a dermatologist, because over-the-counter treatments might even worsen acne.
Inflammation causes the skin’s pores to constrict slightly, trapping excess oil, dead skin cells, and sometimes bacteria. This is how blackheads and whiteheads, and potentially pimples form.
Certain bacteria, called P. acnes 🦠, can cause acne when they get trapped in a pore where they create a minor infection.
Our skin is never completely oil free, neither should it be. Oil is needed for protection from irritation, but when too much builds up, it can clog the pores. Also, P. acnes feed on oil.
How To Remove Pimples
How do you address these issues? Again, first see a dermatologist for medical advice if you have severe acne, but we also advise that you immediately start with a good skin care routine 🧼. This definitely involves more than just “Wash your face twice a day.”
Here are our recommendations:
First, Improve Your Skin Care Routine
The best ways to clear clogged pores and remove pimples revolve around gently removing dead skin (exfoliation) and killing bacteria 🦠. For exfoliation, a simple rule of thumb is that if it stings or burns, it is too strong, and is probably stripping your skin of the thin layer of oil it needs. This can be damaging.
Let’s discuss a few compounds that can help clear acne breakouts without damaging your skin.
This is a great example of a potentially gentle exfoliation product. We say “potentially,” because acne products with salicylic acid concentrations between 0.5% and 2% are gentle, but anything stronger tends to irritate the skin on the face by removing its protective layer of oil. The skin should never be completely oil-free.
Using products with this compound daily helps prevent the buildup of oil and cells, which can cause a huge decrease in blackheads and whiteheads and some improvement in pimples as well.
Our Facial Cleanser here at Exposed Skin Care 🏆 contains only 0.5% salicylic acid, and it’s so gentle, you can use it to wash your face twice a day.
This acid is another gentle exfoliant that can help reduce blackheads and whiteheads.
Glycolic acid doesn’t cause irritation when used at concentrations below 10%. It removes dead skin cells by increasing the turnover of cells, and it can reduce hyperpigmentation in a way that’s safe for dark skin when applied correctly.
Exposed’s Clearing Tonic contains glycolic acid, and other scientific and natural acne-fighting 💪ingredients.
How To Remove Acne
Even though there are ways to remove various forms of acne, we recommend staying away from any products or remedies that promise a “cure” or super-fast removal. Acne is a condition caused by many different factors and it can’t be cured.
Acne Can Only Be Managed
Acne is simply managed, with prevention and removal, but it can’t be removed immediately, either. It can be made less visible or improved relatively quickly, but acne blemishes don’t disappear completely overnight.
To eliminate pimples, you need something that kills P. acnes and combats inflammation 🔥.
Benzoyl Peroxide for Pimples
This compound is very effective in eradicating p. acnes bacteria 🦠. It works by supplying extra oxygen underneath the epidermal layer of the skin. This kills P. acnes , which is an anaerobic microbe, meaning it can’t survive long in the presence of oxygen. They don’t become resistant to the chemical either, and, in this, benzoyl peroxide is even more effective than antibiotics.
The Drawback of Benzoyl Peroxide
The only drawback is that many people report stinging, itching, and peeling, which indicates irritation. So why do we still recommend it?
That’s simple. This acne treatment can be prescribed by a dermatologist 👩⚕️ or physician, but smaller doses are also available over the counter. These are safer for dry or sensitive skin. Also, when paired with a hydrating moisturizer, the chemical causes far less irritation.
Our recommendation? The Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit. It comes with several amazing skin care products that are guaranteed to reduce acne. This includes our Acne Treatment Serum, which contains 3.5% benzoyl peroxide, and our signature Moisture Complex, which contains green tea extract, vitamin E, and other moisturizing ingredients to help combat any potential irritation.
Reduce Acne with Honey
For those interested in more natural answers to the question of how to reduce acne, we recommend trying honey. Of all the natural remedies out there, honey 🍯 has the most research and practical use in modern medicine to back it up.
Honey is an anti-inflammatory agent that’s also antibacterial. It furthermore supports fast wound healing, making it ideal especially for cysts.
It’s an ideal spot treatment, too; just apply it directly to the face where needed.
How To Get Rid of Severe Acne
While some advice works better for non-cystic acne, it’s important to remember that all acne is the same condition and is treated primarily the same way.
To treat cysts, you’ll need products that can reach deep beneath the skin, but you can also help prevent them by using products that reduce inflammation 🔥.
One natural remedy we love is tea tree oil, which is an essential oil that is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and oil-reducing properties. It’s ideal, but tea tree oil can be very harsh.
Like all essential oils, it should never be applied directly to your skin; instead, try mixing it with a carrier like jojoba oil. Even when diluted, tea tree oil can be harsh, so it’s important to use tea tree oil in conjunction with a hydrating moisturizer, or even to combine it with gentle honey.
How To Make Acne Go Away Faster
Still want to know how to make acne go away fast? But face it, most quick fixes end up making your acne worse. For instance, the toothpaste trick. It’s popular, but a terrible idea, because it can irritate the skin on your face and cause an allergic reaction.
Even some of the more recent fads, like coconut oil, can cause more harm than good trying to get rid of acne in a time crunch. It’s far better to develop a consistent, gentle skin care routine to prevent acne, rather than to grasp at straws for last-minute ⌚ acne removal .
Still, we’ve all had a breakout the day before something important, and even if you can’t get rid of acne overnight completely, there are a few tricks for making acne less noticeable without making your acne worse in the long run.
Ice is a natural, non-harmful way to reduce inflammation quickly. Simply put an ice cube 🧊 on any major breakout for five minutes, then leave it off for five minutes, then back on for five, and so forth. Repeat these steps for thirty minutes to an hour the night before your big event. If the acne is still inflamed in the morning, apply some ice again right before you head out the door 🚪.
Makeup 💄 won’t make your acne go away, but it can cover it up if you have an event where you’ll be in the spotlight and don’t want to be worrying about your breakout.
Lemon Juice and Honey Mixture
Combined with a small amount of fresh lemon juice 🍋, honey can address infection and kill bacteria. Applying a small dab of this mixture onto the breakout before you go to bed, and putting a Band-Aid over it, should help a lot.