The Best Acne Treatments for Pesky Pimples and Breakouts

It’s basically a law of the universe that you never get a breakout when you’re planning to laze around the house all day. No, it’s always when you have a hot date, big preso at work or flash event to go to that those pesky pimples decide to rudely show up.

Here’s the thing: acne is more common than you think. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found up to 22% of women will experience acne as an adult.

While it’s somewhat reassuring to know you’re not alone in the battle to beat the breakouts, it's good to be aware of some common acne mistakes before getting into which are the best acne treatments...

Let’s be clear, no single acne treatment will work for everyone. At-home acne treatments may work for some people, while others may need professional skincare or even medication to combat their breakouts.

And chances are it’s going to take some trial and error to find the best facial treatment for your acne. The easiest place to start is by making a few lifestyle changes to target some of the underlying factors that cause breakouts.

After that, you can add targeted acne skincare into your daily routine. And if all that doesn’t give you the results you’re after, then a skincare pro or your doctor is the final step.

Simple Acne Remedies

Okay, so your mum was wrong when she said eating chocolate and junk food will give you pimples. But don’t reach for the family-size chocolate block just yet. Sugary, processed food and stress can throw your immune system off-kilter, which can wreak havoc on your skin.

A healthy diet and drinking lots of water is the simplest thing you can do to take care of your skin. And while you’re at it, keep these everyday beauty tips in mind:

  • Lay off the harsh soaps which strip your skin of healthy oils and use a gentle cleanser instead.

  • Wear makeup only when you must, and remove it as soon as you can.

  • Or go for mineral-based makeup, which won’t clog your skin while you sweat.

  • Keep your hands away from your face (because, bacteria!).

  • Never pick or squeeze pimples (as much as you want to!). Use a spot treatment instead to target those evil little suckers. We love Murad Blemish Control Rapid Relief Spot Treatment 15ml

  • Switch your pillowcase to a silk version like the is less abrasive on sensitive skin. And bonus–it’ll leave your hair soft and smooth.


At-Home Acne Treatments

While there are lots of causes of breakouts–from hormones, wearing the wrong makeup, and even changes in the weather–the main cause of acne is your skin’s natural sebum, or oil.

When your skin produces too much sebum, debris is more likely to get trapped in your pores, which leads to breakouts. A good skincare routine will help keep those natural oils at the right level and lead to a clearer complexion.

Have a good cleansing routine: Make sure you’re cleansing your skin morning and night, and after a sweaty gym workout or hot yoga class. And if you wear makeup or have oily skin, you may want to double cleanse–first using a cleansing oil to dissolve makeup, and again with a cleansing balm for hydration.

Exfoliate only when needed: Exfoliation helps your skin shed dead cells and can remove excess oil. But if you exfoliate too much, you can irritate your skin and cause more breakouts. If your skin is sensitive or dry, limit exfoliation to once per week using a non-abrasive product like Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant. You could also try a chemical exfoliant like Alpha-H Liquid Gold.

Target pimples with spot treatments: Breakouts are the worst and if you’re in the midst of one you want results, fast! Serums containing retinol and salicylic acid can speed the healing process and even prevent future scarring. These ingredients may also increase skin sensitivity, so apply them only to the affected areas.

Choose the right moisturiser for your skin type: Just because your skin is oily, doesn’t mean you should skip the daily moisturiser. But you should look for a formula designed to hydrate and treat blemishes without adding excess oil like Skinstitut Moisture Defence - Oily Skin.

Add in regular face masks for targeted results: Not something for the ‘gram, face masks offer some potent skincare benefits. Try a treatment mask at least every other week to amplify the benefits of your skincare routine. A pore-refining mask like Alpha-H Clear Skin Blemish Control Mask is formulated to balance the skin and work alongside other acne treatments.

Professional Acne Treatments

If you’ve tried at-home treatments and aren’t seeing results, then it might be time to turn to the experts. A skin therapist can provide more targeted treatments using specialised skincare designed to combat acne.

Depending on your skin type, your skin therapist might suggest one (or more) of these acne treatments:

Extractions: Can't resist the urge to squeeze those blackheads? Then hand this task over to a professional. Your skin therapist will use special extraction tools to safely remove dirt and debris from your pores. You'll get a clearer-looking complexion without the redness (not to mention risk of infection!) that comes with popping your own pimples.

Microdermabrasion: This intensive exfoliation process removes the topmost layer of skin, unveiling fresher, healthier-looking skin underneath. Sure you could use an at-home microdermabrasion kit. But clinical microdermabrasion produces better and longer-lasting results.

Chemical peels: Much like microdermabrasion, peels remove the top layer of skin– in this case using a chemical solution. Your skin may feel more sensitive for a few days, but then your complexion will be smoother and more glowy. Plus, you may also notice less acne and fewer breakout-related marks and scars.

 Simple home remedies for acne can help prevent breakouts Simple home remedies for acne can help prevent breakouts

Prescription Acne Treatments

While there are many causes of acne, such as stress or using the wrong products, hormonal changes can also cause or worsen acne. Medical issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), menopause, allergies, and autoimmune conditions can mess with your skin and lead to breakouts.

If you’ve tried every acne remedy out there and nothing seems to work, or you have other medical symptoms besides acne, it's time for a visit to your doctor. They’ll be able to diagnose and help treat any underlying conditions that are triggering your acne.

Even if your acne isn’t caused by a medical issue, a doctor can still help by prescribing medication that targets severe acne. Your doctor might prescribe a systemic retinol treatment to aid skin healing, for example, or a prescription-strength scar cream to reduce the severity of acne scars.

The thing to remember is acne isn’t something you should have to put up with. There are professionals out there who can help you find the best facial treatment for acne that works for you.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

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