Getting acne before a big event or date is one of life’s cruel challenges, however, treating acne has come a long way since the understanding of the science behind it has developed. In saying that, treating acne is both science, your body chemistry and a bit of luck!
So how do you get rid of acne in a week? The answer is a combination of analyzing what factors caused acne in the first place and taking preventative action against further breakouts if you have acne prone skin.
Is it possible to get rid of acne in a week? – Yes, depending on prior planning and your individual genetics.
Word of Caution: The methods we are going to discuss are specific to Acne Vulgaris which is the everyday run in the mill type of acne which most people have suffered from in the past (most likely as a teenager). If you have a more severe form of acne, like cystic acne, hormonal acne or any other types please seek medical advice as it may be a larger problem than the scope of this article.
How to use this guide?
Firstly identify what causes your acne and then take actionable steps to mitigate the issues that you might be facing to cause those breakouts. This may take some trial and error in the long term but you’ll have excellent skin for years to come.
How To Get Rid Of Acne In a Week?
Identifying the cause of Acne
The good news is that if your acne has popped up relatively recently and you have no prior history of acne breakouts, the causes are going to be relatively recent too. The exception to this will be during puberty for obvious reasons.
Previously, we’ve written extensively about the dietary factors that can cause acne and some of the scientific research that has been conducted to find the correlation between the diet and acne.
From that particular blog post, we found out that in essence there are four foods which can initiate acne formation due to the effect of the foods on the hormones (androgens) that end up affecting the skin. These include:
i. White Refined Carbohydrates
Specifically speaking we want to avoid high GI (Glycemic Index) foods that increase blood sugar quickly. Due to the increase in blood sugars, the body increases secretion of insulin to lower blood glucose (from the high GI foods) which also has the added effect of increasing sebum production.
It’s vital to understand that insulin is a vital part of your body functioning correctly and is not the enemy here. Insulin not only lowers blood sugar but helps your body store it into glycogen in the liver and muscles so that you have energy ready to go about your everyday life.
Additionally, there is evidence to suggest wheat derived products containing gluten (the protein that makes dough elastic and stretchy) can cause inflammation, but thankfully gluten sensitivity only affects a small proportion of the global population. The University of Chicago estimates the number to 1 in 133 people in the USA which shouldn’t be a reason to avoid Gluten as you will likely know if you are sensitive due to digestive issues and abdominal pain.
Avoiding high GI foods thankfully doesn’t need to be a chore. Alternatives like whole wheat, whole grain and seed flour bread and pastas are commonly available. Consider incorporating them into your diet and you will likely see changes in your acne and even body fat levels.
Dairy and acne historically go hand in hand. To understand why and how dairy causes acne we need to think about where our milk comes from and what stage the cow is in its life when it produces this milk. Sounds cryptic but stay with me!
Organic, nonorganic and even free range cows need to be in or just outside of a gestation window to effectively lactate and provide milk intended by nature for its calf. This cycle is very similar to lactation for human gestation windows.
Whilst these cows are pregnant or providing milk just after birth of the calf, their bodies produce hormones meant to accelerate the growth of the calf. These same hormones include estrogen, progesterone and other growth hormones meant to mature the calf as fast as possible for the commercial production of milk so the cycle can continue.
This is not limited to cows however, other farm animals like goats and sheep milk have a similar hormone makeup, but due to the comparative lack of demand for these “specialist” types of milk it is not as intensive.
The cocktail of hormones artificially stimulates sebum production within skin cells which adds to the mechanism of blocking a hair follicle. In addition to this, there is evidence that suggests these hormones can also inflame the skin adding to the redness of acne.
Although not as good as cow’s milk, other plant-based milk are available widely. This can include oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and even hemp milk (obviously without the cannabinoids).
It is also worth noting that you may need to check labels of everyday grocery items to check for hidden sources of dairy.
Avoiding chocolate is difficult for the best of us. However, the chocolate we know and love today is far from the stuff the Aztecs cultivated centuries ago.
Modern recipes for chocolate involve heavy doses of both milk and sugar (high GI ingredients) whose effects we have covered in this post already.
Not all chocolate is bad. Specifically dark chocolate, which is any chocolate that has cocoa solids over 70%, is even beneficial to health. Studies have shown that dark chocolate contain antioxidants, helps regulate blood sugar and boosts heart and brain health.
Thankfully you don’t have to avoid chocolate, we can simply replace it with a superior form of 70% dark chocolate.
iv. Trans Fats
Lastly on the list of foods and ingredients to avoid are trans fats. Trans fats named due to the configuration of their chemical structure are the so-called “bad fats” that contribute to heart disease, inflammation, and acne.
Tran fats found naturally occurring in meat and dairy products and range from 1%-3%. A typical 100 gram piece of lean meat will contain 1.1grams of Trans fat which does not represent the total fat content.
We won’t go into too much detail and history of why food manufacturers use trans fats in everyday products like cakes, confectionery, and margarine, but essentially it’s to reduce costs of the end product.
The manufacturing process of Trans fats includes obtaining cheap to produce vegetable oils like canola oil and reacting them with hydrogen gas over a catalyst to get the fat into a solid usable state. This just goes to show that widely available products contain trans fats which you wouldn’t normally think would have them.
The reason trans fats are bad for acne sufferers like us is that they induce an inflammatory response within the body and is well documented within scientific studies like this one. This will result in an increase in inflammation and a visibly more red appearance to acne. Additionally an overactive immune response has its own long term health problems.
To avoid 100% of trans fats will likely be impossible and will require you to be on the lookout constantly. However, it is possible to avoid the vast majority of them by looking at food labels and noting what vegetable oils were used. Generally avoiding processed foods will also be helpful to curb the trans fats in your diet.
2. Pharmaceutical Drugs
If you’ve recently been ill and have taken medication for your condition and have been using prescribed medication then you may be at risk of side effects from certain medication.
Its best of you speak to your doctor about certain medications that you are on and the potential side effects they have. We can’t advise you on your medical situation.
3. Bedsheets And Pillowcases
A large factor in both body acne and facial acne are the bedsheets and pillowcases that we sleep on. We spend roughly a third of our entire lives sleeping. I’ll let that sink in because it’s a huge statistic that the skin on our face or our bodies is in contact with our bedding.
In combination with this take into account that the various dust particles, salts (from sweat), dead skin cells and oils from your skin left behind on your bedding each and every night. These particles alone or in combination with other factors can cause blockages to pores.
To mitigate these factors check out our recommend pillowcases post for facial acne. However if body acne and back acne is a concern, you can:
- Change your bed sheets, pillowcases and duvet cover daily to minimize the risk of pores getting clogged. Although slightly impractical for my liking.
- Invest in a hypoallergenic bed set which takes away from the daily washes and saves time.
It’s a common misconception that mattresses are infested with dust mites. However they do contain dust and dead skin cells from days/months/years of sleeping on them so it may be worth giving steaming and vacuuming your mattress.
4. Environmental Factors – Stress and hormonal changes
As humans, we go through a number of stages of development in our lives. This ranges from childhood to puberty and then old age. During this time our bodies change and are subject to the stresses of everyday life, like financial issues, and relationship issues.
Although everybody handles stress differently both psychologically and physiologically some individuals can react particularly badly to the stress hormones. It’s important to understand that these hormones are necessary for flight or fight responses to protect ourselves.
One of the side effects of elevated stress hormones like cortisol is that they stimulate the overproduction of sebum making it more likely to clog pores and cause acne.
Chronically elevated stress levels are a very real and important issue to tackle which is beyond the scope of this blog post. If you feel constantly stressed out seek professional help, but if you want to get started in eliminating stress consider:
- Making a list of stressful events, people, and causes and cut them out
- Meditation. To some, it might be silly but there is evidence that meditation has been shown to ease anxiety and stress. You don’t need to spend money on this; you can do it through a guided YouTube video.
- Start and continue to work out! This has been a proven to be an effective method of relieving stress.
5. Clothing And Laundry Detergent
No one really gives a second thought to the laundry detergent that they use to wash their clothes. If you’ve ever had acne in strange places like the chest, armpits or buttocks then the laundry detergent you’ve used can be a cause of the acne you suffer.
There a number of additives in commonly available laundry detergents can cause acne. These can range from the fragrances and oils to make the detergent smell nice to the ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate which helps laundry detergent lather up.
Thankfully laundry detergents for acne prone skin do exits and we will be reviewing a few in the near future.
An additional factor in people suffering from specific body acne may be to wear looser clothing with naturally breathable fibers so that the skin can “breathe”.
By now you’ll know to look at the back of everyday laundry detergents so that you can avoid fragrances and other parabens that can cause inflammation and blocked pores! In addition to that look out for:
- Use a liquid detergent as they are more soluble than powdered detergents. Additionally they are less likely to leave a residue on clothing.
- Potentially use less detergent on items of clothing that are likely to be in contact with skin.
- Ensure that your washing machine has an adequate rinse function to wash away any soapy residues
- Use a laundry detergent for acne prone skin
Hopefully, by now, you know that blocked pores cause acne. If you don’t you’ve been skim reading this blog post! It’s okay, you’re forgiven!
An often overlooked cause of acne in women, can be the makeup they wear and the length of time that it’s left on overnight. Essentially, the (semi solid) oils in foundation cause the pores in our skin to become blocked.
One of the benefits of makeup related acne is that it’s preventable with a few fixes to the types of makeup used.
The best thing is that you can still wear makeup to enhance your beauty for that date or event!
The 2 things you’ll need to do rectify makeup driven acne is to:
- Use oil-free makeup
- Thoroughly remove makeup before you go to sleep either with a facial brush or washcloth and use a good cleanser. More on cleansers below.
Sadly some people believe that acne is associated with bad hygiene. Although, partly true it’s more to do with pores being blocked which can be due to a number of reasons. Not necessarily related to hygiene as we’ve looked at already in this article.
There are numerous studies which show that regular exfoliation can result in preventative treatment for the appearance of new blemishes. In addition to this, products like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid also have been clinically proven to eliminate acne effectively.
The conclusion we can draw from this is that facial and body brushes are highly effective in recovering from acne.
We’ve written a bunch of articles on a number of methods getting rid of acne through your daily cleansing routine. However, it’s possible to go to great lengths in just the hygiene component of treating acne.
We have found that the best way to get rid of acne in week is to have a regimented routine. This involves using a decent moisturizer afterward to lock in moisture to keep skin supple and hydrated.
Some of the products are best-used dependant on the severity, location of your acne, time and of course your budget. Some of the products we have used and written about are:
- Body washes/Face washes: Excellent if your acne is focussed mainly on your face and areas which you can easily wash
- Sprays for acne: great for topically applying over a large area which is hard to reach, like the back, legs, and arms. Moisturizing sprays and fairly quick and easy to use.
- All in one systems: Best used when you can’t decide what combination of products you need. It also helps as it offers a complete solution to acne. We have reviewed Murad, Proactiv and and Clear Proof which offered some interesting results.
- Moisturizers: Great for following up after cleansing an area and having a product working passively while you are dealing with life. Even better when used after a shower to keep moisture in the skin.
- Light therapy: Great if you want a completely natural treatment and don’t want to use any products. A little time consuming, however.
- Face and Body Brushes: Excellent for both the face and body and helps remove dead skin cells and sebum which can be seen as a satisfying grey slurry in the shower or sink. Moisturizing is not optional after brushing!
How to keep acne away more than 1 week?
Now that we’ve gone through some of the reasons how acne is caused it should go without saying that you should avoid some of the easily preventable causes. In addition to those causes, this guide wouldn’t be complete without including the things not to do that cause acne! You probably don’t even think about these but they can be a large factor in acne prevention.
As tempting and satisfying as it may be, don’t pop pimples when they appear. This is because you can make them worse due to the bacteria on your fingertips or the tools you use.
This is not to say that this does not work in a sterile environment done by a dermatologist.
Research suggests that people touch their faces ranging from 3.6. times per hour to about 3000 times a day. Within this time, there’s a good chance that transmission of bacteria and other contaminants from your body to your face…
…and then to the rest of your body again.
This doesn’t take into account the surfaces that you touch or the people’s hands that you shake!
Getting rid of acne in one week is certainly possible depending on age, cause, and severity of your acne. You’ll likely get an idea of what is causing your acne over time the longer you get to know your skin.
To keep acne away over your lifetime, consistency is key with diet, exercise, stress and maintaining an excellent cleansing routine.
Good luck and let us know how you are getting on.