How to get rid of acne and pimples quickly and permanently

Those of us who aren’t one of those blessed people who’ve never had a zit in their whole life know what a struggle having acne can be. In honor of the countless acne tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years, we’re here today to share what works, and what doesn’t.

First of all, what is acne? Basically, they’re pimples caused by overactive oil glands. These glands can produce excess sebum that can build up in our pores, especially if they’re already clogged by dirt and dead skin cells.

We’re all familiar with blackheads and whiteheads. The first are most likely to pop up on our nose and cheek areas, or wherever our pores are visible. They’re darker because the melanin pigments in our sebum turn dark when exposed to the air. They aren’t painful, but they can get pretty unsightly if we don’t take care of them on time. Whiteheads are spots of excess sebum that don’t get air exposure – and so they don’t turn dark. That is because the clogged pore is trapped under a thin layer of skin.

Aside from these common menaces, there a couple of more serious types of acne. Among them are pustules, papules and nodules, which are infected, inflamed and cystic acne. If your acne isn’t run-of-the-mill blackheads and whiteheads, we’d say you’re due for a dermatologist visit. However, if your issue is more typical, stick around, and we’ll share some tried and true tips for getting rid of your acne.

So What Causes Acne and Pimples?

Typically, there are some factors that may be contributing to our overactive oil glands. Firstly, we might want to look at our family history, as there are a lot of genetic components of acne. Genetics determines the sensitivity of our skin, our hormonal balance, and skin cell shedding. Also, they are partly responsible for the strength of our immune system and our responses to inflammation.

Hormonal fluctuations are another important component of acne breakouts. That’s why a lot of acne breakouts occur during puberty and clear out when we reach adulthood. Breakouts occur when estrogen and testosterone levels in the body fluctuate. Now, contrary to popular belief, these levels don’t actually become stable after puberty. Both women and men have regular hormonal cycles, and we’re all familiar with the most famous one – menstruation. The excess testosterone in the body is the thing that makes us break out before getting our period, and sometimes even during pregnancy.

Another common factor in acne breakouts is stress. Firstly, our bodies react to stress by making our oil glands work overtime. Secondly, and more importantly, anxious people are also the ones who pick at their acne, exacerbating the problem. Stress and depression also cause insomnia, and not sleeping don’t allow our bodies the time they need to heal themselves. Also, depression, in particular, can lead to other bad habits and lead us to neglect our hygiene, which can affect our skincare. In this case, we recommend seeking the help of a mental health professional.

Bad dietary habits are yet another contributor to breakouts. Certain foods, as well as cigarettes and alcohol, all affect the integrity of our skin. A bad diet will leave our skin vulnerable to bacterial infections. Some of the foods we want to avoid are processed foods (junk food), sugars, carbohydrates, trans-fats, and dairy products.

Bad dietary habits are yet another contributor to breakouts. Certain foods, as well as cigarettes and alcohol, all affect the integrity of our skin. A bad diet will leave our skin vulnerable to bacterial infections. Some of the foods we want to avoid are processed foods (junk food), sugars, carbohydrates, trans-fats, and dairy products.

We also have to be mindful of the products we’re using! Some hair products, like conditioners and hair sprays, get on our faces and block our pores. Look into the ingredients on those bottles, and try to figure out if one of them could be causing breakouts.

By this point, we probably have some clue as to how to avoid acne. But we’re all probably asking ourselves another question.

How Can I Treat Acne at Home?

A lot of internet articles will recommend putting toothpaste on our pimples. We’re not sure we can recommend this – even though we’ve definitely done it.

These articles specify to use white toothpaste and put a thin layer over our pimples to act as a spot treatment. That will definitely dry out your acne, but we know that that’s not necessarily what we should be going for. We should all try to listen to what our skin is telling us. If it needs to be dry, we recommend using clay masks with sulfur in them. That’s going to encourage skin cell turnover. If you need a spot treatment, we suggest you consult your local pharmacist. They’ll point you to spot treatment that will actually get rid of your pimple in a flash.

Another thing you could try is applying different sorts of essential oils on your pimple. Most of them possess anti-inflammatory properties. It might seem counter intuitive to put oil on overactive oil glands, but it actually makes sense. We are telling our skin that it doesn’t need to produce excess oils, because we’ll moisturize it. Any of the following oils are good:

  • Undiluted frankincense oil
  • Peppermint oil mixed with vitamin E
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Tea tree oil mixed with olive or jojoba oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Primrose oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Argan oil
  • Castor oil
  • Neem oil

We just apply a drop or two of our chosen essential oil on a clean face and let it do its thing. It’s safe to say you’ll at least smell great. We can also use an Epsom salt mixture, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, garlic or honey (all of these are disinfectants and anti-inflammatory substances). Even if you choose a technique we didn’t mention here, please always remember to do additional research.

What Did We Learn?

There are some lifestyle changes that will get us the skin we want without directly treating it. These include lowering our stress levels with exercise, lowering sugar intake, drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep. We should always try not to touch our face, and keep everything it comes into contact with clean – that includes bed sheets and makeup brushes. We should be washing our sheets every week, and our brushes should ideally be wiped after every use and thoroughly cleaned monthly. During a bad breakout, we recommend avoiding makeup altogether.

We just need to talk about skin care for a second. If we’re already having breakouts, we should try to avoid harsh physical scrubs, like the ones with apricot bone bits or microbeads. Instead, go for a gentle physical or chemical exfoliant, preferably one that contains salicylic acid. Also, try to look for benzoyl peroxide in your toners or cleansers, and go for non-comedogenic products, which are made for sensitive skin. They’ll often contain glycerin, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid, which will soothe and hydrate sensitive skin.

Also, don’t be afraid to moisturize and use oils on your face, especially tea tree and neem oils!

In short:

  • Watch your stress levels
  • Exercise
  • Drink water
  • Eat less sugar and processed foods
  • Figure out your skin routine
  • Always wear moisturizer
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Keep your sheets and makeup brushes clean

And if all else fails –

  • Go to a dermatologist!


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