Acne Flareup: How I Dealt with my Angry, Clogged Pores

It happens to all of us. Your skin is doing fine with no major problems and then… Well, I won’t lie. I got lazy. One night, I went to bed without washing my face, which means I still had the remains of my regular foundation, etc on my face for the whole night. Combine that with the stress of looking for work in a foreign country, add a big dose of hormones, and voil-AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I had not had acne this bad since I was a first-year high school teacher. Scratch that. It had not been that bad since before I broke up with my big ex (you know the type). And that was several years ago.

The first thing I did right was that I didn’t freak out. I knew my skin was getting hit from all sides, so it was not that shocking that it should react this way. I kept cleansing gently and moisturizing. I used an exfoliating masque with 5% glycolic acid as a spot treatment, and once they came to a head, I popped my zits wisely (see former article).

In addition I used (what sounded to me at first like) a weird and crazy “trick” that I heard about on Peel a very ripe banana (it needs to be a bit brown and spotty or at least have no green left to the peel). Rub the inside of the peel on current breakouts. I found that this was soothing to my breakouts (especially since I kept the peel in the fridge), and it helped my acne to come to a head. Once they developed heads, I used the technique to gently eliminate their contents from my pores. Then I soaked part of a cotton pad with my Holy Grail toner: Michael Todd True Organics Blue Green Algae Toner. It is gentle and moisturizing but with anti-bacterial/inflammation/acneic ingredients like witch hazel, tea tree, and black willow bark. While my spots where still sealing themselves back up after I squeezed them, I dabbed the toner-soaked cotton pad on the spots, and I swear that they healed so well! No repeat head formation or anything. They healed, I would say about twice as fast as normal and in a very healthy way.

The banana peel trick also helped calm another breakout after I squeezed it. It tightened the skin and helped it to close. Rubbing the peel on the red marks from past breakouts also really helped them to calm down/ reduce the redness.

Finally, I’ve drastically cut my caffeine and alcohol consumption to try and keep my skin hydrated. At night, I mix a small amount of my moisturizer with my serum and massage it into my skin until it has been well absorbed. The moisturizer helps with the absorption, and the antioxidants from my serum “feed” my skin the good stuff it needs to heal and repair itself.

Please don’t buy into the idea that oil is bad for your skin. It’s not. Balance is always key, but stripping your face of its natural oils and not using any products containing good oils makes your skin overcompensate with a large sebum production; then it seems like you break out no matter what, and over time, your skin becomes more and more sensitive and unable to find its natural balance.


Not sure why I didn’t publish this when I originally wrote it 1.5 to 2 years ago… One thing that I do very differently now, is that I put rose water (just pure, distilled rose water) onto my zit and try and get it to go down on its own without squeezing.

If I do squeeze it, I do it at night with clean hands. And afterward, I spritz it with thermal water like Avene and then apply rose water to the spot with a cotton pad.

This brings down inflammation quickly and may also help to discourage bacteria.


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