Updated: Nov 13, 2020
If you're human, odds are you've had a breakout or two (or a bunch) in your life. Acne and breakouts are completely normal. It happens, and that's nothing to be ashamed of!
Taking good care of your skin during and after a break-out are essential in preventing long-term damage such as scarring, inflammation, and discoloration. These long-lasting effects are preventable and treatable, but prevention is always the better option!
What NOT to do when you're breaking out:
I know it can be tough, but try not to pop/pick at your spots. Instead, try using pimple patches! They'll reduce your ability to pop/pick and will also treat the spot to prevent scarring and inflammation.
For the love of God, please do not over exfoliate. Over exfoliation can cause further irritation and trust me, you don't want that. Keep it simple; if you are going to exfoliate try using something gentle, and keep exfoliation to a minimum (once per week or less).
Two gentle & effective exfoliating products that I totally recommend for any skin type:
HoliFrog Como Popp-E Scrubby Wash ($40): Gentle, effective, and jam-packed full of good-for-the-skin ingredients! This product is a triple threat; it exfoliates, washes, and nourishes at once! It's also safe for all skin types, even sensitive and acne-prone. Click here to shop!
Good Molecules Pineapple Exfoliating Powder ($16): If you're looking for an affordable option, look no further. This exfoliating powder is top-notch in quality, quantity, and results! Just add water and watch it work! Click here to shop!
What you SHOULD do:
Take it down a notch. Sometimes breakouts can be caused by using too many different products at once. Go back to the basics, try using gentle products/simplify your routine for a little while. I suggest simplifying your routine to only four products; a gentle cleanser, a toner (if you need it), moisturizer, and sunscreen.
Speaking of sunscreen, NEVER skip your SPF. This is such an important step for the prevention of permanent scarring during/after a breakout. My current favorite is the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen because it's weightless, clear, doesn't irritate my skin, and it's SPF 40. Anything less than SPF30 is really not effective enough in my opinion.
Also, when you simplify your routine make sure you are being consistent. Don't switch it up again in two days, give your skin about a week or two (or even more) to balance out. You can start adding new products in one-by-one after a few weeks. Make sure you do your research on ingredient interactions before adding new products into your routine. Neglecting this can result in a whole new break out.
You can also use an acne treatment/oil during an active breakout to calm your skin. My personal favorite acne oil/treatment is the Blume Meltdown Oil. You can apply this oil on its own, as a spot treatment, or you can mix in a drop or two with your moisturizer!
If your acne is swollen/inflamed, you can try Ice Rolling to calm the inflammation and increase circulation to the area. I have found this technique to be especially helpful the first day or two of an active breakout.
You've probably heard these next two tips a lot, so i'll keep it brief. Change your pillowcases/towels! Try your best to change your pillowcases once a week if possible and don't reuse towels too many times, bacteria build-up is real! Also..... DRINK WATER. Don't set an unrealistic goal, just try to drink water throughout the day so your body can flush out toxins that can appear as acne on the skin.
Last thing! (Controversy Alert) Let's talk about dairy and sugar for a minute...
Everyone has their own opinion about whether or not dairy effects the skin. My personal experience has been that consuming dairy & having clear skin don't go hand-in-hand. If you have a lactose intolerance or have noticed this pattern as well, try taking a step-back from dairy for a while and monitor your skin. Don't get me wrong, I like ice cream and pizza as much as the next gal, but for my skin's sake... I have to eat them in moderation. I have a similar skin reaction when I consume too much sugar, so I try to steer clear of soda and excess sweets.
Go-To Skincare Routine for When I'm Breaking Out:
Cleanser: YTTP Superfood Cleanser, HoliFrog Tashmoo Milky Wash, or Georgette Klinger Green Tea Cream Cleanser (depending on how my skin feels that day)
Toner: Georgette Klinger Hydro Cooling Toner
Moisturizer: Caudalie Vinoperfect Instant Brightening Moisturizer (in the morning) & First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (at night)
Sunscreen: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen (SPF 40)
Skin Progression During an Active Breakout