All the things you should (and shouldn’t) do when your skin is constantly breaking out

tips for managing pimples

Skin out of control with pimples? Here’s what to do

Editor / October 03 2019

Probably one of the greatest misconceptions of your teenagehood was the belief that your breakouts would magically disappear once you hit your 20s. Thanks to consistently inconsistent hormone levels that fluctuate in every decade for a variety of reasons, pimples and breakouts are something that we always need to be ready to tackle. 

If you’re all too familiar with experiencing breakouts – whether it’s the odd pimple or more serious acne – chances are you’re already quite clued up on the kind of skin care routine that can help keep your skin relatively under control. But because hormones are usually at the root of your pimple problems and that tends to be something we can’t fully control, it pays to have a little know-how up your sleeve for those times when your skin goes a little haywire. 

Here are the things you should and shouldn’t do when your complexion is out of control with breakouts. 

You should…treat your spots with the right ingredients

When you see an angry red pimple on your chin, your first instinct is likely to find something to zap that zit out of existence as soon as humanly possible. We get it. The key thing here is to look for the right kind of ingredient to treat the area and reduce the spot and inflammation. 

You may not realise it, but there’s a natural ingredient that’s going to help you out of this bind: Tea tree oil. Given its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s hugely popular for both working to treat pimples and acne and helping prevent them in the long run, and is something to get into if you’re looking to have your skin care routine featuring more natural ingredients.  

Try: Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel For Acne*

* Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel For Acne

This concentrated pimple-fighter is dermatologically tested for skin sensitivity and formulated with 100 per cent pure Australian-grown tea tree oil (with a concentration of 20 per cent of the active ingredient) to penetrate deep into the skin to help dissolve blackheads and whiteheads, dry out pimples, and relieve acne symptoms and minor breakouts. And it’ll only set you back $13.15. Pretty impressive for a product based around a natural ingredient, right?

You shouldn’t…try to pop your pimples

We get it, it’s super-tempting to take matters into your own hands and get rid of the offending breakout. But exercise as much self-control as you can and just don’t. Why? Well, besides the fact that you nine-times-out-of-10 will just end up with a sore, red wound on your face, you might actually force the bacteria further down into the pimple, which can lead to a bigger pimple. Plus, the act of popping a pimple can spread bacteria and lead to further breakouts.  Also, let’s not forget that you could be risking acne scars – and they’re not so easy to get rid of or hide! Instead of popping, use a spot treatment (see point above!) and let time and the right ingredients take care of it for you.

You should…use non-comedogenic makeup

Your skin could be breaking out because your pores are clogged, i.e. congested. Your makeup products can actually be secretly contributing to that congestion, so your best bet is to look for products that say that they are non-comedogenic. Translation? It’s been formulated to not block your pores.

Try: Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation

Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation

You shouldn’t… exfoliate too much

When your skin breaks out, you might think that using a physical or chemical exfoliant to ‘scrub’ away the pimples is a good move. It’s really, really not. See, when you over-exfoliate your skin, you’re not only compromising your skin barrier, which can lead to redness, inflammation, and irritation, but you’re also likely to dry out your skin. And when your skin feels dry, your brain tells your body to produce more oil to fix the problem. Unsurprisingly, more oil equals more breakouts. Exfoliating is fine, just make sure you stick to twice a week (maximum!) and use gentle formulations. You also don’t want to double down and use a chemical and physical exfoliant on the same day.

You should…wash your makeup brushes

Did you know you should be washing your makeup brushes once every one to two weeks? It sounds excessive and time waste-y, but not only does a clean brush apply product better (and we all want our makeup to look seamless), but a dirty brush is spreading bacteria over your face like wildfire. And as you know, bacteria is a pimple’s best bud. So, put in a few minutes to cleanse those brushes (self-care Sunday, anyone?) and give your skin a break from the bad stuff.

Try: EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo

EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo

You shouldn’t…sleep on dirty pillowcases

Similar deal to the above – bacteria on your face is going to help foster breakouts, and unwashed pillowcases are a breeding ground for bacteria (have you ever noticed the side of your face you sleep on gets more pimples?). We’re not saying you need to wash your pillowcases daily; weekly is sufficient. 

Need a fast fix for pimples? Find out what our Review Crew® thought about the Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Blemish Stick with Manuka Honey.

Do you have any tips for avoiding breakouts? Share with us in the comments section below!

Main image credit: Getty

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.