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HOME Learn What To Do When You Have A Bad Breakout

What To Do When You Have A Bad Breakout

BY Lili Frances Kerr
What To Do When You Have A Bad Breakout

We all know the frustration of having a bad breakout. It can feel incredibly difficult, especially when you’ve been taking care of your skin.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take immediately to begin your skin’s healing process. This article will guide you through what to do to get your skin back to being healthy and clear.

Begin by taking a deep breath

The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that your skin will heal. It’s easy when you have a bad breakout to get stressed out and go down a rabbit hole of internet research. However, this will only increase your anxiety and likely confuse you on what to do.

Now that you’ve taken a breath, let’s get started on clearing your skin.

1. Is your acne caused by a skincare product?

The very first place to look is at your skincare. If this is a new breakout that’s unusual for you, did you recently start using a new skincare product?

If you’re not sure, check the type of acne that you have. Acne from skincare products will be mostly comedonal (blackheads and whiteheads), in combination with small pimples. And it won’t be cystic or specific to any particular areas of your skin.

The easiest way to treat acne from a skincare product is to stop using the product. If you suspect that a new product that you’ve been using may have caused your breakouts, switch it out to a reliable product that you’ve used before, or a product that’s specifically for acne-prone skin.

If you have used a very pore-clogging product it can take weeks for the skin to completely heal. You can speed up this process by using a deep pore exfoliant like salicylic acid.

2. Is your acne itchy?

There are two main types of acne: fungal and bacterial. Fungal acne is a rare form that’s caused by yeast overgrowth on the skin.

Usually this type of acne is itchy, and it appears on the forehead and temples. The pimples will be small, inflamed, and in clusters.

If your acne is itchy and on your forehead or temples, there’s a good chance that it’s fungal. If this is the case, visit a certified natural therapist or medical doctor for fungal treatment. Or if you’re unsure, a dermatologist can do a skin scraping to test for fungus.

If you've said no to both, it's likely that your acne is bacterial

The most common type of acne is bacterial. This type of acne is caused by an over-production of sebum in the pores of the skin, in combination with an infection of the acne bacteria.

When you have a bad breakout of bacterial acne, here’s what to do:

1. Change your diet

The first step to clearer skin is to eliminate foods that are known to trigger breakouts. These include animal dairy, sugars, and simple carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, etc.).

Animal dairy is often the cause of the breakouts. So if you’ve been consuming more dairy products lately, try switching all of the dairy in your diet to plant-based alternatives.

The best diet for clear skin is rich in anti-inflammatory and whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, and good fats and oils. The Mediterranean diet is a great skin-friendly diet to follow.

Diet changes can take as little as ten days, or as long as three months to show positive effects on the skin, depending on the severity and the root cause of your acne.

2. Change your skin care

In most cases acne is caused by an internal imbalance, so what you put on your skin doesn’t matter so much. However, what skincare you use can be supportive to your treatment plan, especially in the early days when you want to calm down a big breakout.

You can choose either the pharmaceutical or natural routes. If your breakout is severe and causing anxiety or depression, it can be helpful to use a stronger topical on your skin in the short term while you’re working on balancing the root cause internally.

Good pharmaceutical options include topical antibiotic and zinc combinations, and salicylic acid. A cleanser that contains salicylic acid, followed by a lotion that’s an antibiotic and zinc combination, should start working quickly to clear your skin.

If you prefer natural skincare, there are many good natural skincare products formulated specifically for acne that include healing plants and essential oils. As an example, spot treating with pure lavender essential oil is a gentle but highly effective natural option.

Just remember, whatever skincare you choose, it’s important to keep working on healing the internal imbalance that’s causing the acne.

3. Address the route cause

A change in your diet and skincare routine can sometimes be enough to completely clear the skin. However, in many cases a supplement that addresses the specific hormonal imbalances that cause acne will also be necessary.

While bacterial acne is always caused by a combination of clogged pores and the acne bacteria, there can be many reasons why this is happening. For women usually this is hormonal, and most often it’s due to either elevated dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or estrogen dominance. Both can be corrected with a combination of diet and a good supplement regime


How long the skin will take to heal after a bad breakout depends on the type of acne that you have, and what’s causing it. However, most acne can be healed in a relatively short amount of time by changing your diet and skincare, combined with a good supplement regime.

Start your journey to heal your skin now.

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