Conquering Acne, Part Four: How to Beat a Breakout


Getting Immediate Relief after Acne Breakouts

Sometimes (no matter how careful you are), you may occasionally suffer from acne outbreaks. Even if you’re doing everything right, there are other factors at play. Hormonal changes, for example, can cause unexpected acne outbreaks—and they always seem to come at the least opportune times.

First things first: Try to avoid squeezing, picking, and scratching at your face.

Why is this such an important piece of advice?

Picking or squeezing at acne can permanently scar your face. We’re willing to bet, though, that sometimes—in the midst of a bad breakout—you’re not exactly thinking long-term. You’re might only be thinking: Oh No! I have that party/date/job interview and I can’t have this thing on my face!

We get it, but here’s the thing: Remember when we talked about the causes of acne? Well, when you squeeze or pick at your face, instead of purging your skin, you’re actually forcing the bacteria/sebum/dead skin cells even further into the follicle, possibly causing the follicle wall to rupture and spread the infected material deeper in the skin. Essentially, what you’re doing is causing yet another breakout, possibly even acne cysts.

Let’s keep our hands away from our faces. After all, what seems like a temporary solution could very well cause on ongoing cycle of breakouts and long-term damage!

The only solution when you have a serious outbreak that needs to go away fast is to use a spot treatment. We know from experience, though, that acne spot treatments tend to cause peeling, redness, and some serious dryness. Sometimes you might wonder if they’re even worth a try at all.

The important things to look for in an acne spot treatment are ingredients that simultaneously treat while calming irritation, redness, and excessive drying. For example:

• Salicylic Acid: This ingredient works by exfoliating dead skin cells and keeping the follicles clear.

• Calamine: Calamine contains zinc oxide, an astringent and drying agent that also soothes inflamed and irritated skin.

• Colloidal Sulfur: Sulfur works as an anti-inflammatory, bringing much-needed relief while providing antibacterial action (it limits the acids that bacteria require for growth).

(Hint: Check out Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion; this product includes all three of the above-listed ingredients and has acquired a sort of legendary status among makeup artists, celebrities, and the rest of us. Try it for yourself if you haven’t yet to see what all the hype is about!)


Author: Jill

As a long-time writer, editor, and esthetician, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with Mario Badescu Skin Care for years. I can usually be found reading, knitting, painting, trying new beauty and skin care products, and telling everyone to wear more sunscreen. These days, I’m feeling super grateful for the opportunity to share more Mario with the world! I believe that better skin care changes lives. For more about me, visit my Google+ Page.


  1. Doesn’t help my pimples. Makes my whiteheads bigger and worse unfortunately. I use a q-tip and dip it all the way into the bottle into the pink part and dab it on each whitehead. The next morning I wash my face and the whitehead is Huge now instead of this tiny white bump. I used it several nights and it never goes away so I end up using my pimple/blackhead extractor to pop it. I then wash it and apply tea tree oil and zinc oxide ointment on the popped pimple and a few days later its gone. No scars. My problem is red bumps that have no whitehead. I have a hard time getting rid of the red hard bumps.

  2. The problem I find is that I treat the pimple and then a whitehead appears and I think…ok, now I can pop or get that sucker out. But instead I find that it’s super deep and I’ve totally messed up my face. How does one get the gross top whitehead out or off without popping and essentially making the situation worse?

    • Hello M!

      First and foremost, resist the urge to touch your face–and that especially includes squeezing or popping pimples (yikes!). Secondly, try our Drying Lotion 🙂 Hope this helps!

  3. Pingback: It's Acne Week! | Mario Badescu Skin Care Blog

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