A Step-by-Step Guide to Dealing with Skin Breakouts

Acne just appeared at the worst time? Don’t panic — read this guide on how to handle skin breakouts the right way.

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Skin breakouts 101: A guide to dealing with acne skin breakouts the right way

It always seems that when you’re having the best skin of your life and everything is going well, SUDDENLY, your “favorite little friends” decide to pay a visit. Yes, I’m talking about sudden acne. Skin breakouts are the worst because they’re unexpected, you never know when they’re going to leave, and if handled the wrong way, they can leave behind scars.

So how do I get rid of breakouts as soon as possible without leaving a scar? 

Our immediate reaction when encountering these breakouts is to go into a state of panic, but do not fear because there are some concrete steps you can follow. Below, I’m sharing my process on how to prevent and treat these pesky blemishes! Get ready to confidently face skin breakouts from now on.

Related reading: Preventing Acne in College: A CF Survival Guide

1. Don’t Pick Your Pimples!

First things first when you’re breaking out — don’t touch the zits. (!!!)

Everybody makes mistakes; everybody has those days, you say (cue Hannah Montana’s “Nobody’s Perfect”). However, you need to try as hard as you can to not make this particular mistake when you have acne.

I can’t emphasize this enough — do not pick your pimples! Not only does picking spread bacteria (which can trigger additional breakouts) and create scars, but it’ll elongate the healing process for your breakout. So basically, it makes EVERYTHING worse. Don’t do it.

2. Identify the Type of Breakout You’re Having


If your skin breakouts mainly consist of whiteheads, that usually means that you’re under-exfoliating. If you don’t properly exfoliate regularly, your dead skin cells can pile up and block your pores, which causes oil to build and whiteheads to appear.

Exfoliating is just as important as a cleanser to your skincare routine because it allows new skin cells to appear and for skincare products to effectively absorb into the skin.

Red Cysts

Meanwhile, those breakouts that consist of hard red cysts are usually caused by hormones and are a bit harder to get rid of than whiteheads.

For red cysts, you should use exfoliators that contain salicylic acid (which gets rid of excess oil) and then calm the swelling before you apply treatments that have benzoyl peroxide (which immediately kills bacteria).

To further shrink and help soothe the cysts, you can use a spot treatment that has hydrocortisone!

3. Spot Treatments to the Rescue

Now that you know the basics of dealing with breakouts, here are some spot treatments I personally recommend.

My Go-To Spot Treatment

An overnight treatment that I love and have been using since one of my cousins introduced me to it years ago is the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17). Not only is it my #1 go to for getting rid of acne, but it won the 2017 Acne Award from Teen Vogue and is a go-to on the spot treatment for celebrities, as well as beauty and skincare professionals.

Ideal for all skin types, this treatment features salicylic acid, which helps unclog pores and is perfect for getting rid of blackheads or whiteheads. Don’t shake the bottle. Instead, dip a Q-tip in and dab the pink solution onto the infected area and go to sleep! The next morning, you’ll wake up, and your blemish will be dried up.

A Spot Treatment and Cover-Up in One

If you don’t have time to use treatments the night before or you want some extra power to get this pimple gone ASAP, then the next solution is to use a cover-up.

There are various cover-ups that you can use to immediately hide pimples such as treatment concealers, but my particular favorite cover-up product is the Avarelle Acne Cover Patch:

The Avarelle Acne Cover Patch is an acne treatment that can be used overnight or during the day to cover up whiteheads, blackheads, and zits. For the best results, use them overnight, but you can also wear them during the day as needed.

These patches fight infection and bacteria, get rid of blackheads and whiteheads, and reduce the size and healing time of acne. They’re miracle workers!

Also, these little clear patches have the same texture as a hydrogel sheet mask, so they’ll stay on during the shower or even when you wash up. Furthermore, they come in tons of different sizes, so you can pick and choose which one covers your acne the best. (I also love their XL size patches for bacne or larger areas that need treatment.)

What Are Your Go-Tos When You Have Skin Breakouts? 

For more acne-fighting product recommendations, see our guide to The Best Ordinary Products for Acne That Are Honestly Magic.

I hope this guide helps you on your next breakout and that you’ll say goodbye to acne and hello to only good skin days! Leave comments below if you have any tips in getting rid of acne breakouts!

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