How to Treat an Acne Skin Breakout: Skin Care Tips


We’ve all been there. What started as a quick glance in the mirror turned into a full-on DIY extraction session. Before you know it, 20 minutes have gone by and when you finally step away from the mirror, your skin is red, puffy and looks ten times worse than before you noticed that one clogged pore on your cheek. 

The urge to pick your skin is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. We’re the first to admit - popping a pimple is oh so satisfying! But there’s a reason (more than a few, actually) why you should leave the deep pore cleansing to the pros. Learn more about how to deal with an Acne Skin Breakout with Flawless by Melissa Fox.

During a professional facial, your esthetician takes time and care to prepare the skin before extracting, uses sterile professional tools to gentle and precisely extract the pore, and disinfects the area using medical grade devices to make sure your breakouts don’t return with a vengeance the next morning. 

If you’re unable to see your favorite esty for some much needed extractions, here is how to treat a pimple at home without picking, popping, or freaking out! 

What Not to Do

Let’s start with the most important thing - what not to do.

  1. Do not pick
  2. Do not pick
  3. Do not pick

Popping a pimple at home without the professional preparation and post treatment available at your esthetician’s office will only lead to more inflammation, cross-contamination and spreading of acne bacteria, causing more breakouts, redness and swelling. 


Don’t throw the kitchen sink at your entire face!

This is something we see all too frequently. The moment one pimple shows up on your face, you’re tempted to use every active ingredient in your medicine cabinet and apply it to your entire face.

While carefully selected active ingredients are the key to treating a pimple at home, don’t punish your entire face for the sins of one singular pore.

Over-drying and irritating perfectly healthy skin will damage your skin barrier, leaving the door wide open for acne bacteria and toxins to cause new breakouts. 

Once you’ve successfully avoided the urge to poke and prod away at your skin, follow these simple steps to shrink a pimple overnight:

Step One: Gentle Cleanse

First, it's essential to cleanse the area to be treated. Trying to treat a pimple with makeup, sunscreen or oil on the skin will push bacteria and toxins deeper into the skin, making the problem worse. You can Contact Us if you have any other questions. 

Using a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin barrier will ensure the skin around the breakout doesn’t darken and cause further scarring. 

Opt for a mild foaming cleanser to remove excess oil and prepare the skin to absorb active ingredients. We like Vivant Skincare’s Green Tea Cleanser.

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Step Two: Exfoliate Dead Skin

Gently exfoliating the area will help to remove dead skin cells preventing the absorption of your spot treatments to come. Use something mild with exfoliating acids like Mandelic or Glycolic.

We recommend Vivant Skincare’s Skin Nourishing Toner with Mandelic acid to begin the exfoliation process and help prevent post-acne marks once the breakout is gone.

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Step 3: Cold Compress

Reduce the swelling and tenderness of a cystic pimple or pustule by gently apply a cold compress to clean skin. Cold helps to constrict the blood vessels, causing a reduction in redness and inflammation.

We love Biologique Recherche Cryo Sticks because they’re made of medical grade stainless steel which is antibacterial and easy to sterilize. Keep your Cryo Sticks in the fridge (not the freezer) so they’re always ready when you start to feel a bump forming under the skin.

Hold the Cryo Stick against your skin for 1-2 minutes.

Biologique Recherche

Cryo Sticks

Step Four: Skin Spot Treatment

A spot treatment is ideal when your skin is otherwise clear. There’s no need to apply your stronger acne fighting ingredients to your whole face. 

Benzoyl Peroxide is the best overnight acne fighter, as it kills acne bacteria, reduces inflammation and exfoliate inside the pore to unglue those sticky dead skin cells that are clogging you up.

Vivant Skincare’s BP 10% Gel Medication is a lightweight gel formula that absorbs instantly into the skin, unlike the thick, chalky benzoyl peroxide spot treatments of the past.

Apply the tiniest dab to your breakout and pat until fully absorbed.

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The Next Morning

Your breakout should be greatly reduced in size and less red and angry looking. 

Repeat Steps 1 and 3 and follow with SPF. Sunscreen is essential to prevent pigmented marks from forming once your breakout is history. 

For more all-over acne concerns, check out our Acne Regimen Kits, designed to treat each unique type of acne with a targeted, medical grade regimen that is gentle and effective.