Acne Breakout Emergency Kit
My acne breakouts are thoroughly triggered by hormonal fluctuations caused by PCOS and an underactive thyroid. If I’m also under a lot of stress it turns an already frustrating experience into a miserable one. Over the years I’ve developed a pretty reliable system for handling the craziness that often times stops a breakout in its tracks. No matter how well I stick to my skincare routine sometimes the breakouts come. These products help me keep control and reduce the severity and length of time I spend dealing with it. Don't worry so much about the specific products listed as the ingredients and gentle approach they take. This kit is best for mild to moderate acne breakouts and gentle enough for most skin types. If you find you have severe breakouts or acne that never seems to go away I strongly encourage you speak to your doctor.
1. All Over Breakout and Dullness
This simple lightweight mask from Formula 10.0.6. Pores Be Pure Skin Clarifying Mud Mask has inflammation fighting salicylic acid and calming vitamin E. The kaolin and bentonite clays aren’t drying if the product is used as directed. It works as a mild exfoliant and during a week of active breakouts and keeps my skin calm and prepped for other acne fighters.
2. Daily Maintenance
The niacinamide serum from Eva Naturals is gentle and extremely effective. It doesn’t just keep stubborn low key breakouts at bay but also helps skin retain its integrity overtime by fading discoloration, supporting elasticity, and helping smooth texture. The concentration is at 5% which studies have shown make it just as if not more effective than prescription clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide preparation. I used such a prescription before, Ziana gel, and I must say that this works just as well for me with consistent use. I use this daily whether I'm breaking out or not because of how gentle and effective it is
3. Spot Treatment
Even with the best routine sometimes there’s no stopping those badass monster pimples from making themselves known. Sometimes the infection just moves faster than the treatment but Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment (benzoyl peroxide) and Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Treatment Gel (salicylic acid) do the job to reduce the severity of a pimple and help you heal faster. I love to use these on feel-it-coming lesions as when I catch it early enough they never are able to really get started. I like using them as a one two punch applying the benzoyl peroxide first on clean skin and sealing it in with the salicylic acid gel.
Advanced level treatment: whenever I have the urge to touch the offending spot I apply a dab of benzoyl peroxide. It has the potential to be drying so be careful, but I rather do this than keep feeding the zit with bacteria from my hands.
4. Smoother Skin
This product will be hard to find outside of Indonesia but I have no doubt in my mind you could find something similar. Sensatia Botanicals Acne Clarifying Facial Scrub is extremely gentle. It uses charcoal but is chock full of other ingredients like shea butter and lemon peel oil to keep your skin calm and balanced. I use it about two times a week and my skin always feels so nice afterwards. Often times I’ll combine it with whatever cleaners I’m using at the moment for an extra boost or I’ll use it in lieu of the Pore Be Pure mask when I need something even gentler. The smell is clean and brings me back to my travels in Bali. Running out of it will be reason enough for me to travel back to Indonesia.
5. Stubborn Clogged Pores
For non inflamed comedones I use a Shaumberg style comedone extractor. After learning how to use one from my dermatologist and I recommend you go to a pro first before trying this on yourself. If I have an active inflamed pimple I leave it alone. Even when it comes to a head I wait for the inflammation to go down. This way I’m less likely to damage my skin and I give my body a chance to do its job without my interference. Sometimes though the pimple is stubborn and the inflammation takes it’s time going away. In those cases I use ice to help constrict the blood vessels in that area and numb it somewhat before I attempt an extraction. If the contents of the pore don’t come out easily I leave it alone and apply the Pores Be Pure mask to help draw it out before attempting again. Before and after use I clean the tool with isopropyl alcohol and let it dry. This particular comedone extractor is no longer available, but I recommend one that is made with durable stainless steel and has a flat ring and a wire ring that aren’t too thin or flimsy. The handle should be long enough to feel comfortable in your hand and allow you to control how much pressure you’re applying to the skin.
The small ones like this one pictured above are difficult to hold and the grooves on the handle make it painful to use in the working hand. Though, I keep these around in case I misplace my primary extractor if I ever buy a new one the handle will be flat or square.
a final word
You’ll notice that the products here all have simple formulations using ingredients proven to help control and prevent acne. I find that I don’t need to use them often, maybe a few times a season, because I’ve managed to get control over my hormone fluctuations through the help of three very competent medical professionals. If you find that you’ve tried everything and have been consistent with your use (a least a month with no improvement before moving to the next) please consult a dermatologist and discuss options for you beyond the surface. My issues stemmed from polycystic ovarian syndrome and thyroiditis which had been overlooked by three other doctors and dismissed by another since I don’t look like the typical PCOS and low thyroid patient. I use to believe there was no solution for me and had resigned myself to having out of control skin before I met a doctor who literally changed my life. There is a way out there. Be your own advocate and don’t give up.