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Breakouts Won’t Go Away? Try This!


Recently I received an email from one of our readers. She was telling me how she cleaned up her diet and her skin started clearing up, but it wasn’t until she “took a leap of faith” and followed my instructions to cut everything out of her skincare routine, did she completely clear up her skin and get the fabulous results she wanted.

This isn’t the first time I’ve received this sort of feedback.

In fact when I receive emails and testimonials, majority say the same exact thing.

Most people are more than willing to make improvements to their diet (it can be hard, but it’s doable). But when I suggest cutting out the products and makeup, there’s total resistance.

And in all honesty, most people don’t cut back on the products and makeup they’re using, not at first. It’s usually later on when they’ve already been eating super healthy and getting good results, but their skin isn’t completely clear. There’s usually something that just clicks, and they take that “leap of faith.”

It’s always then, the combination of eating healthy and minimizing the use of makeup and skincare products, their skin completely clears up (and then I get the happy emails of “I didn’t believe you at first, but I tried it, and it worked!”).

I know that when you’re in the midst of terrible breakouts, big or small, there’s this impulsive need to put a bunch of products on your face in hopes of an overnight miracle. I know because I’ve been guilty of smothering my skin with some crazy strong products, and the worse my breakouts were, the more products I used to use.

And nothing worked. In fact it all just makes your skin worse causing it to be even more irritated, red, and inflamed, and even sets you up for scarring and hyperpigmentation.

I was lucky I had a dermatologist that was so strict with me to stop using anything on my skin (except for the mildest cleanser I could find). I’m lucky I listened to her, but just like you, I was very reluctant at first, and it felt like a huge leap of faith.

I am writing this blog post today because many of you write me about your acne and breakouts, you send me photos, and your skin hurts – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And I’m pleading with everyone, if you’re in the middle of a breakout, small or huge – you’ve got to cut back on the products and makeup you are using. This is not the time to be putting more stuff on your face, or even trying anything new – this is actually the time to take a step back and stop putting anything on your skin so it can heal.

The more stuff you put on your face (doesn’t matter if it’s natural or synthetic), the worse you are going to make the problem. How I see it, if you wouldn’t put that product on a rash or wound, don’t put it on your breakouts, pimples, or acne.

And does that mean you need to give up skincare products and makeup forever? No, of course not!

When your breakouts and pimples have healed, and your skin is no longer inflamed or irritated, then you can certainly use skincare products and makeup again. It’s kind of like when you have the flu, the last thing you should be eating is tacos, fried chicken and chinese takeaway – and instead, you want to be eating very simple, plain, nourishing food. This is the same approach with your skin.

No product is going to heal you skin – your body is what is going to heal your skin and if you keep smothering it with products and makeup, you could be making it harder for your body to do its job.

Skin care routine recommendations for speeding up healing of acne and breakouts

Getting started – the simple way

I want you to jump in a take a “leap of faith” for one month.

For one month, all I want you to do is wash you face morning and evening with the gentlest cleanser you can find.

My recommendation for cleansers:


  • Honey is especially good for younger skin (for those of you under 30-35 years old)
  • If you have severe breakouts or acne, honey is the best to wash your face with (it’s the most gentle cleanser you’ll find, and especially good at soothing inflamed and irritated skin).
  • The honey MUST BE SMOOTH (absolutely no coarse texture to the honey, no granules. Most smooth honeys can have light pass through them, it’s not creamy or cloudy in appearance, it’s more clear (but could be light or dark in color). Best to use a raw, organic honey.
  • Wash your face with honey like you would most other cleansers by applying it to damp skin and rinsing it off with warm water, don’t use a washcloth to remove it.
  • To view a full video tutorial/demo on how to wash your face with honey, click here–> Video Demo: Honey Cleansing Acne Prone Skin

Oil Cleansing

Both honey and oil cleansing are my top recommendations for healing acne. But, I know some of you may have an allergy to honey and bee products, or oil cleansing isn’t compatible with your skin, or you just prefer a different type of cleanser.

Other recommended cleansers:

INDIE LEE Purifying Face Wash (best for combination or oily skin types) – Indie Lee’s cleansers are awesome! If you like an easy, foaming, wash and go cleanser, Indie Lee cleansers are a must-try. Similar to traditional gel cleansers, Indie Lee Purifying Face Wash cleanses away impurities, makeup, sunscreen without drying out your skin. This is especially important for acne prone skin. If a cleanser is too stripping it’ll just make you produce more pore-clogging sebum. I also really like the Brightening Cleanser which is a touch milder than the Purifying Face Wash, better suited for normal or combinations skin types.

ANNMARIE SKIN CARE Aloe Herb Facial Cleanser (suitable for all skin types, including dry and sensitive) – This is a very mild, gentle cleanser, yet still very cleansing. If you like a clean feel to your skin but foaming cleansers feel way too strong or stripping, I highly recommend this cleanser. It’s a gel cleanser that turns into a milky cleanser when you apply it your skin. It doesn’t foam, and rinses off completely clean. The aloe and herbs make the cleanser very soothing and hydrating, and keeps skin balanced. This can be used on all skin types, including sensitive skin.

And now stop everything else…

Once you find a suitable cleanser that isn’t drying or stripping, and works well for your skin, I want you stop using any other product on your skin.

Yes, stop everything.

It may feel uncomfortable at first (your skin might feel a little tight after cleansing), but you will see within 7-10 days (or sooner), your skin will adjust to the change.

If for some reason, you desperately need to use a moisturizer after washing your face, use a clear/gel serum or facial oil – these don’t have waxes or butters, so they’re less likely to aggravate your breakouts or clog up your pores.

Recommended facial oils & serums (safe for acne prone skin):

And what about makeup?

If you want to clear up your skin fast, I would try and skip that too.

I know this is not easy, especially because you rather disguise your breakouts while they are healing. But what if I told you the makeup could be irritating your skin more, making your breakouts worse?

Let me ask you – when you have a rash or wound, would you put makeup on it? Probably not! You would keep it clean, and let it air out so it could heal. Well, that’s how you must treat your breakouts too.

Once your breakouts and acne have healed, then you can use makeup again.

And if you are sitting here thinking you just can’t go out without something concealing your breakouts, than switch to using cover-up or a concealer instead of using full coverage foundation or tinted moisturizers, and ONLY use it when you really need it (I use RMS Beauty – “Un” Cover-Up).

You might hate me now, but once you start seeing your skin heal and clear up, you’ll love me later, I promise.


Just to make sure we’re on the same page – if your breakouts won’t clear up – for one month you are going to wash your face twice a day with the gentlest cleanser you can find (my top recommendations are honey for younger skin, oil cleansing for maturing skin).

For that month you are not going to put anything else on your skin. If you really need a moisturizer, you can use a facial oil or clear serum (avoid lotions or moisturizers for the month).

And no makeup, or any other products (with the exception if you’re outdoors in the sun, do wear sunscreen (of course!), but if you’re in a cooler climate and indoors all day, take a break from it for the the month  – use your common sense and good judgment.

Take the leap of faith! (And do let me know after a month your results).

About the Author
Hi, I’m Natasha St. Michael, Founder of Inspire Beauty. I’m also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Health Educator accredited by the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I’m obsessed with skin care and self-care. I’m 47 years old, struggled with adult acne until I was 30, and now I’m all about preserving the youthfulness of my skin (and sharing all my tips and tricks). If you have a question about a product or need a recommendation, feel free to contact me anytime.


This blog is for information purposes only. The content is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Should you have a medical or dermatological problem, please consult with your physician. None of the information or recommendations on this website should be interpreted as medical advice.

All product reviews, recommendations, and references are based on the author’s personal experience and impressions using the products. All views and opinions are the author’s own. 

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35 Responses

  1. Hi Natasha, You have inspired me to give this a go as i feel like i’ve tried everything with diet/supplements with little improvement. I normally don’t leave the house without alot of make up on to cover my terrible acne and redness and there is no way i could go to work. So I am taking a month holiday in November so I can try this! I am very scared about going out in public without make up – I might even go and stay somewhere far away from where I live just so i won’t see anyone i know! Looking forward to the experiment 🙂
    Just wondering if you know of any good “natural” make up brands that are sold in Australia? I never really see any in the shops.
    Do you think it would be beneficial to do a juice fast for maybe a week while i’m doing no make up?

    1. YES YES YES! Give it a go 🙂 It’s a fantastic idea to take a break (and hide away if you need to, why not?!). I totally recommend you do a juice fast. Make this a “Self Care Getaway.” You know Krissy, I tell everyone to take a break from products and makeup to heal breakouts and acne because I know how effective it is. I know it’s not easy (nor comfortable), but it helps more than anything else. And the beauty is once your skin clears up and heals, you can use skincare products and makeup again (and you’ll have a better idea which ones work for your skin, and which ones cause problems). As for natural makeup available in Australia, you can try 100% Pure ( and also Nourished Life that carries a few brands and you can shop online ( Keep in touch, I want to hear how your getaway goes in November 🙂

  2. Just curious, what do you think of the “caveman” regiment – as in not even washing you face with water. I have read a bit about it online and how not washing your face restores the skin’s acid mantle and ph. Sounds rather awful! Do you think washing with just water and the honey/oil is gentle enough to have the same effect?

    1. I think the caveman regiment is not really appropriate for our times. If you were living in a pristine environment with absolutely no environmental pollution, then maybe, but in today’s day and age, you need to wash your face 🙂 I do know people do get good result following it, but it has more to do with abstaining from treated/chlorinated water or perhaps a sensitivity to the mineral content in the water, but very little to do with not rinsing your face. I’ve been asked about this a few times so, maybe in near future I will put a blog post together, plus talk about experiments I’ve done relating to this.

  3. Hi! How about frankincense oil? I like to use jojoba oil with a few drops of frankincense as a mousturizer, is that ok?
    I am 30 and have acne mostly related to hormonal issues and autoimmunity.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Carolina,
      The frankincense should be ok, but I would even try going a whole month keeping everything as simple as you can. So even for a month, skip the frankincense and just use the jojoba oil when you need to. Later on when your skin is balanced out, you can continue using the frankincense.

    2. Thank you so much for your replay! I was wondering if you could help me with one more question, is leaving oil as a moisturizer and then applying organic make up ok? Or make up on top of oil could clogged pores. I am taking a break from make up as you suggest but would like to wear it in the future =)

  4. I have decided to give this a try, using a gentle cleanser and mild toner (no alcohol) for one month. My husband and my co-workers are going to help me keep accountable.

    1. Great Colette! For best results skip the toner too! Just stick with the mildest cleanser you can find (I recommend honey, or if you have drier skin, go with oil cleansing). How I see it, you wouldn’t be spraying a rash or wound with toner, so for one month, take a break from the products and let your skin heal. Let me know how it goes 🙂

    2. Hi Natasha,

      Funnily enough,I had the toner in my bag today and it threw away. Good thing it was not much. I will give the mild cleanser only a try. May need the honey for my overseas trip next week.

      P.S. I was using the toner for some itchy bumps beneath the skin. Major detox taking place.

  5. Hi! When wearing makeup again`(when the skin has cleared up), such as a natural foundation og bb-cream, is the oil still enough for a cleanser? Or should I go back to using a mild cleanser and a toner again?

    1. Hi Idunn,
      Oil cleansing is actually the best for thoroughly removing makeup and sunscreen. When you’re wearing makeup and/or sunscreen, I recommend double cleansing with oil in the evening which involves washing your face twice in a row with oil to ensure not only you’re removing all products but your skin underneath gets a through cleanse. Here is a blog article I’ve put together on double cleansing, plus here’s another blog article on oil cleansing acne prone skin.

  6. hi. i am very interested in this but i have few question !
    1) if i have very oily skin ( my skin would be oily/ very oily when i wake up or few hours after washing ) , can i still do this routine ?
    2) if i have breakout during the period i’m doing this routine , do i ignore them , pop them or put acne medication ?
    3) can i use wet wipes in the middle of the day to clean off the excess oil ?
    4) is this method suitable for guys ?

    1. Hi John,
      Here’s the answers to your questions:
      1- You can certainly do this routine for oily skin. For oily skin, I highly recommend using smooth honey to wash your face. Here’s a video demo how to wash your face with honey —>
      2- If you get breakouts, just leave them be. Don’t pick or pop them, and don’t use any acne drying lotions. Just let them heal.
      3- No wet wipes – those are full of alcohol and are making your oily skin worse (never use any products that contain alcohol because it dries out your skin making your body produce more oil). Just leave your skin alone. If you follow all the directions in this post, your oily skin should balance out.
      4- All info on this site is suitable for guys!

  7. Hi! I am actually going to try this from tonight I am very curious to see the results! Just one question: after I rinse the honey off my face can i use some rose water?

  8. Hi Natasha,first off, i am black and i constantly,like CONSTANTLY have pimples on my face,the small,non-juicy kinds but i do not know if its acne and also a lot of scars as a result of pimple scarring BUT i am going to take the ‘big leap of faith’ and try out everything you have said.previously and till, date i have tried most naturals, i dont ever use make-up and i exfoliate thrice a week with honey and sugar,i just started onion facials two days ago to fade scars and i landed on your site. i am crossing my fingers and hoping that it will work out.Though my face looks brighter and all, it hasnt gone completely.Furthermore, thanks so much for being out there for us with ‘skin conditions’.

    1. Yes definitely try this out! Plus, don’t use sugar scrub exfoliants, that’s way too harsh on your skin and can actually cause marks and scars, and not help it! My recommendation is to focus on clearing up your skin first, take a break from exfoliating scrubs until the pimples are healed. Once you no longer have active pimples, then you can exfoliate again to fade any scars. Using scrubs on pimples is only hurting your skin, not helping it. Best advice I can give is be as gentle as possible 🙂

  9. I have the Body Shop Aloe Gentle Cleanser and the SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal Foaming Cleanser. Are any of these two cleansers mild enough for my skin? Or should I use honey?

    1. Also, I’m a teen (16)— would this process work just as well for me as it will for adults?

    2. I don’t recommend the charcoal foaming cleanser, and the Body Shop Aloe one might be ok, but I would recommend using the honey. It’s such a gentle, great cleanser for acne prone skin. Just make sure it’s smooth honey, no grainy texture.

  10. Hey Natasha after I exercise should I wash my face or only wash it at morning and at night?

    Also, I live with my family, and sometimes we don’t eat 100% perfect *e.g. we might have a meal with dairy in it)
    Would it still work?

    1. Hi Claire,
      Only wash your face morning and night, no need to wash again after exercise.
      For clear skin, try your best to eat healthy “most” of the time. Really reserve the “treats” when it’s really worth it!

  11. Hey Natasha!
    I’ve just found your article and I really want to give it a try 🙂 Actually I’m a vegetarian (almost vegan as I don’t eat dairy and eggs) but I still have acne. My skincare routine is pretty natural as I clean my skin twice a day with a foaming gel and put on moisturizer in the morning but use aloe vera gel in the evening (and sometimes spray pepper mint water before the gel), I don’t use makeup on my skin. Do you think if I just wash my face like you said and just use a bit of aloe vera gel, it can get better? I mostly have small pimples, white ones of redness.
    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Claire,
      I would give it a try. The foaming cleanser can be too stripping, and even the peppermint mist can cause irritation and dryness which could make your skin over produce oil causing more breakouts. Best to keep your skincare routine as simple as possible. Hope this helps 🙂

  12. Hi, I hope you are doing well. I am 16 years old, and throughout the winter I have perfect skin and rarely breakout, but when April comes around, and until September I have horrible pimples. Last year was my forehead, and now it’s my cheeks. Will this regime help me? I don’t know what to do, and it’s really annoying. I am stopping putting pimple spot treatment as of today.

  13. Hi! Thank you so much for this post, Ive been following this routine for a week now and most of my breakout and big pimples have almost gone away and my skin is looking somewhat calmer. However, I am noticing that my skin gets really oily mid day and I can notice I keep getting some tiny pimples/seemingly clogged pores around my face and I feel as if its from my face being oily all day until I wash again with honey at night. Is it okay to rinse my oily face with just water mid day or should I just stick to leaving it oily and wash at night (I wash in the morning too with honey). Ive also been eating super healthy and avoiding dairy, etc everything you recommended. Thank you so much !

    1. Hi Andrea,
      I’m so happy to hear your results so far. Since it’s just been a week since you’ve been following this routine, I would continue with it and allow more time for your skin to balance out. Sometimes as your skin adjusts to a change of skincare routine, it can be a little more oily or even a little dryer than usual until it gets used to it. So best to continue. The honey is a little astringent and that might be why your skin feels a little oilier mid day. If you feel it’s necessary to rinse you face mid day, you can, but if you can skip it, that would be better. You can also blot your skin with a little tissue to take away excess oil. You just don’t want to be continually rinsing your face with water cause that can end up drying out your skin and actually make it oilier.
      Keep going 🙂

    2. Thank you so much for the response! I will try and not to rinse mid day if possible. Another follow up, its the beginning of the second week on this routine and I noticed I am actually breaking out (woke up today with quite a lot of tiny whiteheads). I am not sure if its cause of my skin still getting used to the oiliness/moisture adjusting or because the last couple of days I have been air drying my face instead of drying with a towel after washing and maybe this is making my skin more dry, thus oilier? Thank you!

    3. Hi Andrea,
      Sounds to me your skin is still balancing out from the change of skincare routine and change of diet. Keep going, it’s normal to have a few weeks with a few breakouts or pimples coming to the surface as your skin adjusts.
      I will say, if your skin feels tight after washing your face, that could be that it’s a little dry, and perhaps use a drop or two of grapeseed oil or jojoba oil to moisturize. If it doesn’t feel tight at all, then just continue what you are currently doing, and let your skin normalize on it’s own.

  14. Hi! I’ve been experimenting a lot with products and because of that my skin is sooo bad right now (couple of active pustules and a lot of PIH dark marks). So I’m going to try your skin detox method for a month. My only concern is for my dark marks, if I don’t wear sunscreen I’m afraid the sun will make the darker! But at the same time nearly every sunscreen I try breaks me out. I currently have found the bioderma anti uv mist, which hasn’t broken me out so far. Should I still use it or do you have any suggestions how j can deal with sun care and not making my dark marks get worse? Also do you think it’s ok to do a clay face mask once a week? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mita,
      If you can avoid the sun, that would be the best. Also, try wearing a hat. But, if you live in a very sunny environment and there’s days where you need to be outside in the sun, then best to wear the sunscreen. Because it’s just one month of taking a break from everything, try your best to avoid the sun and only use sunscreen when you really need to, and wash it off as soon as you get home.
      I wouldn’t use the clay mask, take a break from everything!

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