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How To Clear Up Acne Breakouts Fast


My parents are visiting us from Canada, and within a few days after they arrived, my skin broke out terribly. I don’t think I’ve had such bad breakouts since the birth of my first daughter (which was 5 years ago!). We’ve been eating out almost every night, I know that’s where the breakouts are coming from (and eating way too many desserts!).

So, I thought this would be a perfect time to share exactly what I do to get rid of acne breakouts fast.

Having a simple and effective acne busting plan can really make a huge difference. We all know how bad breakouts are (and how much they knock our self esteem), so having a skin clearing strategy you can fall back on, is really important.

In the past, my skin clearing strategy made my skin worse. I had all the right intentions, but everything I was doing was wrong. I thought I needed to dry my skin out until it peeled and cracked, and picked at my face until it bruised and bled. All I was left with was scabs and wounds all over my face, and eventually a lot of scars.

That strategy never worked. And luckily along that journey, I did experiments to see what would happen if I supported the healing of my skin through nutrition, healing foods, better health, and the gentlest skincare. The results were pretty astounding. I realized that I didn’t have to live with pimples on my face for weeks and months, and they certainly didn’t need to be red and peeling to heal.

Check out today’s video and blog post to find out exactly what I do when my skin starts breaking out, and my strategy to get rid of acne breakouts fast and easy.

How to clear up acne breakouts fast with your diet and skincare.

How To Get Rid Of Acne Breakouts Fast (My Top 5 Remedies)

Check your diet

As soon as we get breakouts, most of us head straight to the bathroom in search of something we can put on the pimples to get rid of them. We’re way too focused on skincare products, and finding things to clear up our skin. We completely overlook the importance of getting rid of the cause first.

Over the years I’ve learned that 9 out of 10 times, your breakouts have nothing to do with what you are putting on your face, but what you are eating and how you are taking care of your self. Most of our acne breakouts are connected to our diet, lifestyle, and overall health.

If you’re not eating properly or taking care of yourself, it will start showing in your skin.

When you have breakouts or acne, heading to your bathroom to smother a bunch of products on your face won’t do much when you pimples are already inflamed and active. In fact, whatever you’re planning to put on those pimples, might just make it worse.

So instead of running to the bathroom hoping for a magical quick fix, instead, I recommend heading to your kitchen to look over what you’ve been eating over the past week, and what you can take out or add in to your diet to stop the breakouts, and get your skin to heal faster.

As soon as I get a breakouts, I immediately ask myself:

1- What have I eaten over the past 3-5 days that could be causing or contributing to the breakouts?

2- What can I eat more of to help reduce the inflammation of my skin?

Common foods that give people breakouts and acne are dairy products (all foods containing milk or cream), junk food, fast food, sugar, fried food, chocolate, wine, coffee, too many grains/flour in the diet, etc.

The best foods to help your skin heal are vegetables, in particular, green leafy vegetables (like salad lettuces, spinach, kale, bok choy, swiss chard, collard greens, micro greens, fresh herbs, sprouts, etc.)

If you want clear skin (and the best skin ever), you must start working on improving your diet. Eating healthier makes a huge difference.

Too many people email me saying their skin care products don’t work. If you keep eating foods that are causing acne, you’ll never eliminate the root cause of your breakouts, and therefore no skincare products will ever really “work”.

Drink mint water

Water infused with fresh mint or spearmint tea are my absolute favourite remedies for breakouts and adult acne.

I receive so many emails from my subscribers how this drink knocks pimples out in just days. I’m talking major shrinkage of huge, painful, cystic pimples, that disappear fast, sometimes in less than a week (as opposed to a month).

Mint water and spearmint tea are known to help balance hormones in women (which can help to get rid of breakouts). Plus, it’s very anti-inflammatory, which can help to reduce irritation and inflammation of the body. That’s why it’s such a powerful remedy for breakouts, and you notice your skin healing super fast, and pimples shrinking and disappearing on their own.

It’s an amazing remedy. It’s one of those remedies that if it works for you, it REALLY works.

I have a full blog post and video with instructions how to make infused mint water and spearmint tea to clear up your skin.

Don’t pick

How many times do you pick a blackhead only for it turn into a full blown pimple? How many times do you pick a pimple only for it to turn into a deep pigmented scar?

We all know what picking does, and it ain’t pretty.

It doesn’t give you the flawless complexion you are looking for.

I was a picker, and I always regretted it after. In fact there were many times after a picking session I wanted to burst into tears because I went too far, and I really messed up my skin.

Picking is the worst because it not only damages your skin, but I believe it crushes your self esteem. Picking pimples always made me feel pretty helpless. I hated my breakouts, and I hated what I would do to them.

So, do your skin and yourself a favour, stop picking your pimples.

They won’t heal any faster, and you risk scaring and discolouring your skin, and spreading bacteria that can cause even more breakouts.

Here’s a blog post and video on How To Stop Picking Pimples.

Minimize your skincare routine

When I used to get breakouts, I would immediately go into the bathroom and start layering treatments and products on my skin, hoping something would miraculously banish the pimples.

It took me years to realize that using all those skin care products on my red irritate skin only made it worse.

It was only until a dermatologist instructed me to stop putting anything on my face except for cleansing with a gentle cleanser, did I see the pimples on my face heal a lot faster. No more red, inflamed, irritated skin.

Did simplifying my skincare routine completely clear up my acne?


Changing and improving my diet is what got rid of the acne, and stopped it from ever coming back.

But, simplifying my skincare routine allowed the existing pimples on my face to heal so much faster, and with a lot less scaring. If you burden your skin with a bunch of strong skincare products, that’s going to irritate your skin even more, and drag out the healing process which can cause scars and pigmentation.

If you want pimples and breakouts to heal fast, you need to support the health of your skin. If you dry out your skin, strip it, or burn it with harsh products, you’re just injuring your skin more, and making it even harder for your skin to heal.

I have learned when it comes to healing acne and breakouts, less is more.

In fact, when ever I have a pimple or blemish on my skin, I stop almost EVERYTHING, and minimize my skin care routine sticking to just the essentials.


If I need a moisturizer, keep it simple. I will use a few drops of a soothing facial oil, my favourites:

Sun Protection

When I go outside in the sun, I wear a mineral sunscreen. Here’s my favourites: 

That’s it!

No treatment serums, no scrubs, no exfoliating products or acids, no toners, nothing!

A gentle treatment mask once or twice a week can be ok – but make sure NO GRITTY TEXTURE! When you have active breakouts, using any sort of scrub or textured facial mask can cause more harm than good. It’s too harsh on your broken out skin (it’s like scrubbing your pimples with sandpaper). Instead, use a soft clarifying mask that deeply cleanses and calms your skin without being rough or abrasive. My favourite is Indie Lee Clearing Mask. This stuff works! It deeply cleanses, dissolves buildup on the skin and in pores, and calms and balances broken out skin without any rough texture (I highly recommend it).

And even spot treatments I’m cautious with.

If a pimple is really inflamed, cracked, raw, open or oozing – I won’t even use a spot treatment. It’s too far gone for any treatment to be beneficial.

I personally only use spot treatments on pimples that are just starting to form, clogged or congested pores that are raised, or the stubborn ones that aren’t red or irritated, but just won’t budge. 

My two favourite spot treatments that really help shrink up pimples fast are: 

But in all, for best results, try simplifying your skincare routine as much as possible until all pimples have healed over.

And this also includes minimizing or completely avoiding makeup as well.

The less products you put on active blemishes and acne, the better.

Let your skin do its magic, it wants to heal, if you let it.

(And if you love skincare products like serums, treatments, and mists – just take a break from them when you have active pimples and acne. Once the breakouts are healed, and your skin is healthy and balanced again, then you can certainly resume your regular skincare routine).

Speed up post-breakout healing with Vitamin C

In recent years I have found that Vitamin C to be a key skincare ingredient to help speed up the healing of pimples, and fade scars and marks.

But, you must use it the right way.

Most Vitamin C skincare products are way too strong to use when you have active pimples, and can irritate your skin more.

So don’t use Vitamin C products when you are in the midst of breakouts and have open and active pimples and acne.

Once your pimples are healed over and are no longer open, oozing, cracked, peeling, or inflamed; then, you can start using skincare products containing Vitamin C to speed up the healing of your skin.

I find Vitamin C really helps reduce redness and marks left behind from pimples and blemishes, and overall speeds up the healing and repair of damaged tissue.

This is my go-to ingredient to fade marks and discolouration left behind from pimples, and resurface my skin if it didn’t heal properly.

But the trick is using it not when your pimples are inflamed and active, but when your skin is on the road to recovery and healthy enough to handle stronger skin care ingredients.

If you are wondering what kind of product you should try that contains Vitamin C, I recommend something that is formulated to use daily, like a Vitamin C serum or a gentle cleanser containing Vitamin C (as opposed to a face mask or strong weekly treatment product). For fading redness and marks left behind from pimples, I personally have had just of great results using a cleanser containing Vitamin C, as I have using a daily Vitamin C serum. The trick is using something that is gentle enough on your skin that you can use ever day, so you can really get the benefits and results from consistent, and longterm use.

Not all Vitamin C products are the same. If you’ve ever used a Vitamin C product that really irritated your skin, I recommend trying something else (I tried about 5 different Vitamin C products until something worked well with my skin).

Some forms of Vitamin C are more fragile than others and can oxidize quickly. For example, l-ascorbic acid is very fragile and oxidizes easily from light and air. If you buy an l-ascorbic acid Vitamin C product, always make sure it’s packaged well (preferably in an opaque and air tight container), and make sure to use it up within 6 months of opening. Vitamin C derivatives and esters on the other hand are a lot more stable and long lasting, and are known to be gentler on the skin.

Here’s some Vitamin C products I love that have really helped repair my skin from breakouts, and gentle enough to use everyday: 

More blog posts and videos for acne prone skin

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. 

Please see our Disclaimer for more information.

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15 Responses

  1. This is good information! Thank you for sharing! <3I know that diet has everything to do with the health of my skin. When I do experience breakouts (due to not taking care of myself by way of eating junk), I will use zinc oxide powder and mix it with a homemade facial lotion and apply it all over my skin at night, and also during the day when I get back from work. This seems to soothe my skin, and reduce inflammation. I do also begin to drink a lot of water with lemon, about a liter every day, and will automatically stop eating the junk and refocus on eating veggies and my greens – the most contributory factor, I am sure. I am going to begin to put mint in my water!

    1. Great tips Maria, thank you so much for sharing! I also love zinc for my skin. I’ve never tried mixing the powder with my moisturizer, but I find mineral sunscreens containing zinc as the active ingredient does wonders for my skin (makes it soft and smooth). I use to suffer from terrible heat rash on my chest for many years, and once I switched to a zinc sunscreen it went away.

  2. Hi Natasha,
    I love your website!! You have helped me A LOT with my skin (we have very similar skin) and I’m so thankful. And I’m SO glad to hear that there is another benefit to all the mint tea and mint water I drink. 🙂
    In reading about Vitamin C, will it also help with my hyperpigmented skin? I have been using a low percentage retinol (only when needed) on my scars and brown spots, but I fear that retinol is too hard on my skin. I’m thinking that I could use a good quality Vitamin C serum more regularly. What are your thoughts about this and managing hyperpigmentation? As an aside, I’m not a sun-worshipper and I wear Coola face sunscreen (and have tried many other brands) and a hat every time I’m out. I just can’t seem to prevent these brown spots. I will be trying Suntegrity next.
    Thanks for all your help and your awesome videos!!

    1. Hi Freya,
      Nice to meet you, I’m so happy you’re enjoying the blog!
      I definitely recommend trying the vitamin c for hyperpigmentation. Retinol can also help, but as you said it can sometimes be a little harsh on your skin. So far have you seen any improvements with the retinol? For me personally, I’ve had the best results with Vitamin C. I also find I have to be careful with other natural brightening products that lighten/brighten the skin because they tend to brighten the normal parts of my face but not the patches of hyperpigmentation, and therefore the pigmentation starts appearing darker (because the skin around it is getting lighter!). Vitamin C has been the only thing that targets everything (the regular and irregular cells), and the more I use it the brighter and more even my skin tone is. I also find it great for getting rid of redness and marks from breakouts (similar to how retinol can lift marks left behind from blemishes). I’m definitely happy using vitamin c 🙂

  3. Won’t mint tea or water decrease your supply while breast feeding? I’m curious to try but I’m currently nursing a 4 month old

    1. Hi Cassidy,
      I drank mint water while nursing both my daughters. With both of them, I drank the mint water after they were 6 months, when they weren’t exclusively breastfeeding but eating solid food as well. My first daughter I breastfed for a little over 2 years, and this one I’ve been breastfeeding so far for 1 year. The mint water never adversely affected my supply, in fact, it really help to keep me hydrated (and clear up my skin). But, if you want to be on the safe side, wait until after 6 months when your baby starts eating solid food with breastmilk. Also, you can cycle the mint water, drink it when your skin is breaking out and once it’s clear, stop drinking it.

  4. Is mint water safe to drink while breastfeeding? I’m breastfeeding and have heard that mint decreases milk supply.

    1. To be on the safe side, I wouldn’t be drinking large amounts of it when your baby is exclusively breastfeeding. Once your baby is eating solids it should be ok to drink the mint water while breastfeeding. But really, that’s your choice. I drank mint water while I was breastfeeding both my daughters and had no issue with it affecting them or my supply (and it really helped clear up my postpartum breakouts!).

    1. Hi Cheta,
      Sometimes a change in diet can cause pimples to come to the surface, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s terribly uncomfortable when you are going through it, but a purge would only last a week or two, and then your skin will heal and get better. Many times we have clogged pores and pimples brewing under the skin, and a change of diet or skincare can trigger everything to come to the surface all at once. You should start to see your skin improve after a week or two. If your skin continues to break out, or your skin is getting red, irritated, itchy or hurts – than that might not be a purge, but a bad reaction to something your are eating or putting on your skin, and best to discontinue the food or product.

    1. I’m not sure what “stooling” means? Do you mean you were running to the toilet all day? If so, make sure you wash the mint really well before soaking it in your water, there could have maybe been something on it that caused you to be sick?

  5. Thank you for the tips on mint water and the recipe included in the acne solutions course! Did you drink mint water while pregnant. Do you know if it is safe to consume the amount you suggest while pregnant?

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