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How I Clear My Breakouts In Under 1 Week

You cannot get rid of acne overnight. It takes time, and a decent understanding of your skin to make any kind of progress, so please keep in mind that these methods work best for me because I've had years of trial and error to work off of.

However, it is possible to clear a breakout relatively fast, in my experience, if you take the right approach.

While my results seen above are not miraculous (there is definitely still some PIH - post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which will take some time), my pimples healed up completely in just under a week, and I think that's pretty good.

Read below to find out how I do it.


First of all, my skin is usually a bit of a temperamental mess. Just like me.

It feels like anything and everything can set it off.

So from time to time, high stress, a consistently poor diet, and raging hormones all coalesce to create a breakout.

When this happens, I usually do two things. First, I cry a little because, well, hormones. Next, I make a skincare game plan.

Usually if I stay on top of an air-tight skincare routine, my breakouts don't get too bad. This one wasn't too bad, so adjust your expectations to your skin's present condition accordingly.

Here's how I handle breakouts to get rid of them fast:

  1. I step up my cleansing routine

Most days I only cleanse my skin at night to remove oil/sweat/makeup/pollution, etc. My skin is oily, but it is also sensitive, and doesn't love being overly clean. My little pores and surface bacteria looove that sebum.

However, when I'm breaking out, I know it's time to start cleansing again in the morning, usually with my absolute favourite acne-and-fungal-fighting cleanser - sulfur soap. I find the addition of the not-often-used sulfur really helps combat whatever my skin has going on.

I use this one and this one. Honestly, if your skin can handle this type of cleanser, nothing compares when I'm battling a breakout.

This step alone is sometimes enough. But if my skin is throwing a tantrum, or I'm in a particular hurry, this just won't do.

2. I stop all new products - immediately!

As soon as I notice my skin is getting an attitude, I stop all new products - even ones I'm pretty sure are OK. If I've only been using it a few weeks, it's gone. At least for a while.

When it comes to clearing breakouts, simplicity is best, so I stick to the basics - cleanse, treat, moisturize, SPF. No toners, serums, nada. Nilch.

3. I increase the use of actives that my skin knows and trusts.

Let me preface by saying: more is not usually better, especially when it comes to actives. But now that I've simplified my routine by taking out any potentially irritating "specialty" products and my skin can handle a little extra, I can focus solely on using actives that my skin always responds well to, namely - alternating benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid.

This means I use my Paula's Choice 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide every morning, and then I use my COSRX Whitehead Power Liquid OR* my Banish Pumpkin Masque every night (*both contain plenty of glycolic acid, which my skin adores).

This gives my skin a bit of an advantage over the breakout, making sure I'm keeping it consistently treated, but without throwing any curveballs at it.

5. I drink more tea!

This may sound silly, but hear me out. Teas (herbal tisanes, specifically) can be so potent and health-promoting, but I'm usually too lazy to keep up a consistent tea-drinking-routine. So when my skin acts up, I reach for a few teas in particular, and try to drink them at least twice a day.

Here are my go-to acne-fighting drinks:

- My favourite is my very own creation, an acne-fighting blend of hormone-and-digestive health goodness: burdock root, chasteberries, nettles, and dandelion root. It doesn't taste great, but it sure does the trick of calming inflammation and setting things right in my gut, and fast!

- Spearmint or green tea are also great options for acne, when consumed at least twice daily.

Don't knock it until you've tried it. It really works. At least for me.

6. I try to go makeup-free.

This may not be true for everyone, but makeup does irritate my skin when I'm already breaking out (more on an acne-friendly makeup coming soon!!). So I like to give my skin a break while things heal.

Either that, or just make sure you're giving your makeup brushes and sponges an extra thorough cleaning during breakouts.

Add this all together and within just a few days I was able to calm an inflamed breakout. Most of the hard work is in not freaking out and overdoing it, as I've done so many times in the past.

Let me know what you do to curb a breakout fast!

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