What to Do When You’re Breaking Out

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There’s nothing like an unwelcome pimple to put a damper on your day. So it’s understandable that when your skin breaks out - whether it’s all of the time or all of a sudden - you’re left frantically searching for a solution.

We spoke to Karen Fernandez, licensed aesthetician of 28+ years and head of our aesthetics department, to understand what causes breakouts, and what you can do about them.

Why Am I Breaking Out? Aesthetics Department Manager, Karen Fernandez, Has The Answers


Acne is multifactorial - changes in hormones, excessive oil build up, clogged pores, inflammation, and bacteria imbalance can all contribute to breakouts, and each of these factors can be triggered by lifestyle behaviors.

If you’ve recently changed your birth control, for example, or you’ve just begun nursing, pregnancy, or menopause, it’s normal to experience hormonal changes. Unfortunately, the skin will often respond to these changes by becoming inflamed or reactive.

Similarly, stress - and the behaviors that accompany it - can lead to sensitivity and imbalances in the skin. Lack of sleep, an increase in alcohol intake, and decreases in water consumption can all leave your skin looking depleted and unhealthy. And as we’re all spending more time indoors in the heat or A/C, our skin can also become dehydrated more easily - giving it a tight, dull look.

Improper cleansing - either not done frequently enough or done with an ineffective product - can also lead to excessive oil build up and clog your pores - ultimately causing a breakout to occur.

Our Favorite Acne-Fighting Tips

Now that we’ve answered the question ‘why am i breaking out,’ it’s time to get to the bottom of the next question: what can you do about it? Karen has put together some of her favorite acne-fighting tips to help kill bacteria and balance the skin out:

Use the right cleanser!
Your cleanser needs to kill bacteria and gently exfoliate the skin. Some of our favorite options for acne-prone skin include GlowBiotics Acne Treatment Cleanser and SkinBetter Oxygen Infusion Wash (SkinBetter products can be ordered by emailing info@skinspirit.com).

Make sure to cleanse in the mornings and the evenings, and use a corrective serum in your routine.
Recommended AM serum: SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense
Recommended PM serum: Jan Marini Duality

Use lightweight hydrating/moisturizing products.
While it’s tempting to over-dry breaking out skin, what you really need is a cohesive healthy protective layer to help balance it out. Karen’s favorite light-weight serum for acne recovery is Sente’s Dermal Repair cream.

Swap out poor quality makeup with mineral-based options. Even better, use this time to go makeup free!
Make-up that is not breathable can clog the skin and make the problem worse. Now is a great time to go makeup free and let your skin breathe! But if and when you do want to wear makeup, choose a mineral-based option for skin that not only looks great, but is also healthier.

Always use SPF!
This is the best way to prevent or minimize scarring. Karen recommends using a mineral based SPF with calming properties. Colorescience’s All Calm is a great way to diffuse redness and inflammation.

Then, replenish your sunscreen throughout the day, using Colorescience Powder SPF; the brush is antimicrobial, which makes it safe for all day use.

If you've been wearing a mask, make sure it is clean and breathable, and keep in mind that this may require extra cleansing around the mouth.
Use of a toner or pads can help too!

Keep your environment clean.
That means regularly cleaning or replacing your pillowcases, washcloths, and brushes.

Get the Best Breakout-Fighting Products at SkinSpirit

Are you ready to fight breakouts and clear up your skin? Shop Karen’s recommendations for acne-fighting products (and more) online or email us at info@skinspirit.com if you don’t see what you’re looking for.

We are also happy to offer custom, medical-grade facials to help you treat your breakouts once and for all, as well as complimentary skin care consults, at all SkinSpirit clinics!