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How to Clear a Breakout in a Hurry

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I'm a mom of two boys living in Denver. The Fox & She is where I share my easy outfit ideas, style tips, beauty hacks and wellness tips for inspired, happier living—everyday.

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how to clear a breakout fast

The day we left for home after Christmas, I was pretty surprised, my skin was looking good! It seemed I’d somehow avoided the typical breakout that came with consuming cheese boards, excessive amounts of wine & sugary treats and too much gluten.

Then about a week later, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I woke up to an angry breakout on either side of my face. Over the next few days it already to my chin and my forehead.

Turns out, I hadn’t been so lucky. My sweet friend Nora (do you guys follow her? you should @purely_nora!!) and I were lamenting about our post-holiday breakouts and how emotionally draining they can be. Especially when you’re in your 30s!

Some of you can probably eat and drink whatever you want with no consequences. Me, on the other hand, nope. For the most part I typically avoid or limit dairy & gluten on a regular basis and eat very low amounts of added sugar. So, I’m never too surprised my body reacts this way.

In the past, I would have responded with tons of drying acne products, over-washing my face, and desperate picking of my skin because I didn’t realize that picking actually just spreads bacteria and makes it worse.

It’s been another week and while my skin isn’t perfect, it’s come a long way in a short period of time and I wanted to share what really works.

5 Steps to Clear a Breakout

Choose Gentle Over Harsh

it’s easy to think that those harsh, strong acne products filled with salicylic acid are great, but unless you have truly oily skin, they can easily dry your skin out. This can make your skin more sensitive & inflamed & worsen things. Opt for gentle, hydrating products that promote healing.

Also, do not pick! I’m still working on this, but I know that picking NEVER helps. In fact, it spreads bacteria and typically makes my breakout worse—don’t do it!

Gentle Morning Routine

Instead of washing my face, I rinse face with warm water & lightly pat dry. I then spray with this balancing mist and moisturize with either this 3-5 drops of this Vitamin C oil that promotes brightening, or this DIY face serum (oil-based)—I alternate every few days.

Gentle Night Skincare Routine

I always start by removing makeup with either these biodegradable makeup removing wipes or this cleansing balm. Next, I pat my face dry and cleanse with this oil cleanser from Primally Pure (use code THEFOXANDSHE for 10% off your first order). Have you tried oil cleansing? It’s an interesting concept, but it works really well! It also feels like a spa treatment every night which I totally love!

After I wipe my face clean, I use this hydrating essence that’s gentle, anti-aging & hydrating. And then warm 3-5 drops of this clarifying serum on my fingers and press into my skin. After that soaks into my skin, about 5 minutes, I finish up with this deeply hydrating supreme cream that also contains clean retinol and this eye cream which I am hooked on!

P.S. Save on your first Beautycounter order when you join my Clean Beauty list!

Extra Treatments

When my skin is especially broken out, I do face masks on a regular basis. Three of my favorites are this charcoal mask that helps pull out gunk and oil, this blue tansy mask for gentle exfoliation, and this superfood berry mask that’s gentle and healing. I’m looking at Primally Pure’s new masks too and I think the clarifying one will be on my shelf soon!.

For spot treatment, I typically just dab a little bit of tea tree oil (I get mine from Young Living) as needed.

If you can make it happen, go get a facial! It’s a good deep clean that will promote healing. I’m going today!


Easily, one of the quickest and most efficient ways to clear your skin—drink a ton of water! I aim to drink at least 96oz. a day. I keep track in my Fitbit app, and if I get sick of water, I opt for an herbal tea, water with lemon or apple cider vinegar and cinnamon, or a Topo Chico which is just sparkling water.

The easiest way to do this is to keep a big water bottle next to you and every time it’s empty, fill it up! Start with at least 16oz. in the morning too, for me that always makes me drink more throughout the day.

Cut out Caffeine & Alcohol

Caffeine isn’t a direct cause of acne, but because it can mess with your stress hormones, it can play a part. I gave up caffeinated coffee over a year ago, but for the past few weeks, I’ve even gone easy on the decaf coffee and opted for herbal tea for added hydration.

Alcohol can also play a role in making your skin worse. For me, it tends to inflame my gut, which leads to skin issues. It also is dehydrating, so if you can, go dry for a few weeks—you’ll sleep great too!

Try an Added Sugar Detox

For the most part, I don’t eat much added sugar. I do eat a fair amount of fruit, but I personally think fruit it great for you as it also has fiber, nutrients, vitamins and hydration that you’re not going to get from a chocolate chip cookie.

Too much sugar makes my gut very unhappy and always lead to a breakout. Cutting it out for a week or two (and then keeping your sugar intake low) can do wonders for your gut health and in time, your skin.

Not sure where to start with a sugar detox, check out this post and get after it—no time like the present!

Stay Positive

Acne is an emotional thing! It’s embarrassing and kills your self-confidence, but remember that it’s temporary. Fuel & treat your body well and soon things will return to normal. Stay positive and look for the good things! Now you know what triggers breakouts, and be grateful for healing everyday!

Did you experience any post-holiday skin freakouts like me?! What tips do you have?

BTW, my skin journey, and 8 healthy hair tips.



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