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11 Ways To Reduce A Sudden Acne Flare Up

A sudden increase in acne can be upsetting, but oftentimes, it takes some quick and simple skincare adjustments to get your skin back under control. Read on for 11 ways to reduce a sudden breakout.

Recently, I experienced an acne flare up, and boy, let me tell you, it threw me for a loop.

As someone who struggled with severe acne for multiple years, if my skin goes a bit crazy, well, so do I.

Point being: when this little acne flare up occurred, I immediately started doing everything in my power to get my skin back under control, and slowly but surely, the acne has started to disappear (hopefully I’m not jinxing myself here).

If you’re also experiencing an acne flare up, and you’re looking for skincare tips that will get your acne under control relatively easily, I highly recommend implementing some of these tips.

I did a combination of all of these, and I’ve gone from 4 large pimples, to only one small one (phew).

Please note: This post does contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you choose to purchase through one of my links; however, I only recommend products I love and believe in. 

Try these acne remedies for quick and effective relief of an acne flare-up.

1. Make Note of Lifestyle Changes

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First things first, if your acne flare up came out of nowhere, start by making note of any changes you’ve recently made in your life.

A lot of the time we immediately think acne has to do with what is going on externally (oil build up, clogged pores, etc.), when, in fact, acne is often the result of internal factors.

Dr. Roshini Rag tells Reader’s Digest, ““There are lots of causes to acne, and many people don’t realize that internal factors—from how much you sleep to the air you breathe—can affect your complexion,” says Raj. “Great skin comes from taking care of both what you put on your skin and how you take care of your body.”

Ask yourself these questions: Have you changed your diet? Are you going through a big breakup? Have you been waking up and going to bed at different times?

Take the time to make note of ANY changes you’ve made recently (whether they were intentional changes or not).

If you’re really serious about this, journal about any potential changes that you’ve gone through in the past month or so. During this journaling session, you might notice a change that you weren’t even subconsciously aware of, which could lead you to the root of your acne.

Trust me, when it comes to acne and figuring out its cause, it varies from person to person, and it tends to take a lot of investigative work to crack the case.

2. Chill Out

Okay, next, if you’re experiencing a sudden increase in acne, it’s important to remain calm.

Trust me, I know this is a lot easier said than done.

Truth be told, I cried because I was so stressed that my acne was coming back, but I’m absolutely certain this was not helping my situation, because, oftentimes, acne results from increased cortisol levels, which rise when you’re under stress.

If you’re stressing about your acne, you’re just making those cortisol levels rise even further, making the acne even worse (hello feedback loop from hell).

For me, to reduce stress, yoga is the best thing.

In particular, I like to focus on gentle yoga sequences that focus on breath work, like this video from Yoga With Adriene. I did this video one night before bed, and I went to bed with a smile on my face and slept like a baby.

In addition, to destress, I would suggest focusing on things that bring you joy, getting off Instagram, using relaxing essential oils, and getting outside in nature.

If you’re sitting around hyper-focusing on your acne and feeling sorry for yourself, things will get worse before they get better.

3. Jade Roll

reduce sudden acne breakout

Speaking of de-stressing, if you read my article about how to jade roll, then you already know that I LOVE to use a jade roller at night.

Not only is a jade roller great for reducing facial tension, it’s also calming and helps my skincare products absorb into my skin better.

I’ve been using the Truth Serum from Olehenriksen every other night with my jade roller, and I definitely notice that my skin is a lot brighter after I use it.

In addition, you’ll also know from my jade rolling article that there is some evidence that jade rolling can specifically target acne. This has yet to be proven, but there are some people who believe that by massaging toxins and bacteria out of your face by way of lymphatic drainage, you’ll improve acne.

I can’t say for certain this works, but I can say I think jade rolling helped with my acne situation, and I highly recommend that everyone have a jade roller at their disposal.

4. Book a Facial

In all honesty, I went to book a facial when I was having my acne flare up, and the time slot was already full by the time I got to it…


I know, without a doubt, that if I would have had a professional facial done, it would have made my skin look even better quicker.

If you have the time, book a facial and your skin will thank you.

5. Do a Mask

But hey, if you’re like me and you don’t have the opportunity to book a facial, don’t let that prevent you from having the great skin you deserve.

There are so many amazing skincare products that you can use at home that will give you spa-like results.

As mentioned, I absolutely love my Olehenriksen Truth Serum, but for something that stays on the face longer and is so soothing for irritated acne, I love the Fresh Rose Face Mask.

This mask makes my skin feel SO soft, and the rose petals really calm my skin, which is so important when you’re dealing with acne.

You can also use an exfoliating face mask. Just keep in mind that, as mentioned in my post about clearing my acne, it’s extremely important to be gentle with your skin when you have acne. Scrubbing your skin with an exfoliate can irritate it further and make the acne worse.

I am currently using this exfoliating face mask from Avene. This brand is specifically known for creating really gentle products that are great for sensitive skin (remember: I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, acne prone skin should always be treated with products that are formulated for sensitive, NOT acne prone skin. You can read more about why that is in my acne post).

I also love this mask for an overnight option (it smells like watermelon and is SO nice for summer).

6. Investigate Your Diet

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For me, this has probably been the biggest factor in trying to determine what is going on with my skin, and the only reason I was able to pinpoint that my issue was likely dietary was because I was experiencing stomach pain as well as acne.

I have a doctor’s appointment coming up that should help me further identify the root of my digestive issues/acne, but in general, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to what foods I am eating.

This will be different for everyone, but, for me, I’ve been reducing my diary intake, and I’ve been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. Even if you’re not experiencing acne, the more unprocessed foods you can eat, the better.

In addition, try adding some anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to help bring down acne inflammation. These foods can include:

– Turmeric

– Fatty fish (salmon, tuna)

– Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)

– Avocado

– Green Tea (I’ve been drinking a ginger turmeric tea almost every night that I’m loving)

– Grapes

– Extra Virgin Olive Oil

– Mushrooms

– Brocoli

Pay attention to what foods make you feel good, and what foods make you feel bad. This will likely help you identify what you should be eating more of/less of to help improve your acne.

And for more healthy food options, check out these quick and easy dinner recipes, along with these low carb foods.

7. Pay Attention To Hygiene

This might sound kind of obvious, but if your skin has been under control for multiple months, it’s easy enough to start letting things slip, especially if your increase in acne is sudden.

In particular, I started to get lazy about washing my face after sweaty workout sessions.

I would shower, of course, but sometimes I would wait until after eating lunch, or I would watch a quick show and then shower.

Shower right after working out, and be sure to wash your face to prevent acne. Letting all that sweat sit on your face is not doing you any favors.

Also be sure that you’re working out with a clean face (try these makeup removers for best results). I personally started applying a little of the Bioderma Micellar Water to my skin prior to working out to help give me a cleaner sweat. This is especially important if I’m working out at the end of the day, and I have a full day’s worth of dirt and oil sitting on my face.

8. Try Not Wear Makeup (if possible)

This isn’t always realistic if you have a busy schedule and you’re someone who normally wears makeup, but, when possible, try to go with as little makeup as possible.

It’s important to let your skin breathe, especially when it’s in the middle of an acne flare up.

Not to mention, you want to help clear your pores out, and if you’re adding 10 pounds of foundation onto your face everyday, that’s not going to help.

If you’re home for the night, take your makeup off.

If you’re not leaving the house until noon, spend the morning makeup free.

And, when you do have makeup on, make sure you’re using high quality makeup that’s noncomedogenic (aka won’t clog your pores).

My absolute favorite foundation for keeping my skin clear is the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream. You can read my full review of this CC Cream, and why I love it so much here. In general, though, this is a CC Cream that you can rely on to give you a natural glow that won’t irritate your acne further.

9. Wash Your Face First Thing In The Morning

This is an easy one: first thing in the morning, wash your face.

Your skin goes through a lot as you sleep, and if you don’t wash your face when you wake up, you’re letting all those pore-clogging irritants sit on your face, making your acne even worse.

10. Be Diligent With Your Routine

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Speaking of washing your face…

When you’re experiencing an acne flare up, it’s extremely important to be diligent with your skincare routine.

It’s easy enough to skip a couple cleansing sessions, and you might not think that adding your moisturizer makes that big of a difference in your skin, but, believe me, it does (especially when you’re experiencing a sudden increase in acne).

Don’t get lazy with your skincare.

Apply a gentle cleanser every morning and night (this is my favorite cleanser), and make sure you’re moisturizing your skin (this is the best moisturizer I’ve ever used).

For a full list of some of my favorite skincare products, I highly recommend this list of the ultimate skincare products.

11. Keep It (relatively) Simple

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they’re experiencing acne is they load up on a ton of products.

They start applying abrasive exfoliants, they’ll add a ton of oils into the mix, and they might even start cleansing multiple times a day.

If you’re experiencing acne, it means that your skin is feeling irritated and sensitive. And, if you start applying any and every product to your skin, there’s a good chance you’re only going to further irritate your acne, causing even more breakouts.

While I have suggested trying masks and serums in this post, it’s still important to be relatively simple with your skincare routine when you’re experiencing acne.

Try a mask once a week, sure. Cleanse twice a day, yes.


If you’re loading your face up with all the products you can get your hands on, you’re not doing your skin any favors.

Keep it (relatively) simple, and you’ll likely be rewarded.

Do you have any skincare tips that you implement when you’re experiencing an acne flare up? Will you be using any of these skincare hacks for curing a sudden breakout? While it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different, it’s also important to remember that acne often signals problems going on internally. Get to the root of the cause, and you’ll likely experience clear skin much quicker.

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