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How to get rid of blemishes fast

26.05.2021 | Skincare

We’ve all been there - staring into the bathroom mirror looking at a posse of pimples that have taken up residence on our face (or body!). Breakouts are one of the most common skin complaints we encounter - ranging from milder spots to severe cysts. They can be triggered by a number of causes including our lifestyle, exercise routines, diet and even our hormones and genetics. When it comes to treating acne and breakouts, it’s important to understand why these breakouts appear and which key ingredients will be effective for clearing your skin.

Acne occurs when our pores, which are connected to sebaceous glands beneath the skin’s surface, become blocked by excess sebum, dead skin and dirt. These form blackheads and whiteheads which can develop into aggravated pustules and cysts when bacteria infiltrates the blocked pore. Breakouts can appear across the face as well as the body - commonly seen on the back, chest and shoulder area where there are more follicles and therefore oil. Find out more about body acne in our Back & Chest Acne 101 blog. 


Firstly, don’t panic and start squeezing those nasty nodules as this can aggravate the skin further and actually spread the breakout. As much as we want to erase the acne, a calm and patient reaction is essential to swift spot healing. You may also have the urge to cleanse, cleanse and cleanse again. Hold back from piling on the products as this can dry the skin too much. Instead, try a double cleanse approach (see below) to clean without stripping the skin of valuable moisture and oils. Combine a mixture of cleansers, targeted products and treatments to soothe, cleanse and unclog those congested follicles.


From cleansing the skin to managing oil production, there are several ways to treat and bust the blemishes. Meet our heroes from the INKEY family...

Salicylic Acid Cleanser

This is the hero ingredient for any breakout. Salicylic Acid can clear the pores whilst helping to reduce excess sebum which is a physical cause of blemishes.

HOW TO USE: Use AM and PM as first step in your routine (and as second stage if double cleansing)

Succinic Acid Treatment

Our targeted spot treatment is specially designed to clear blemishes FAST. It reduces the size, unclogs the pore and controls oil production all in one go and can be applied under make-up/sunscreen.

HOW TO USE: Can be applied directly to spots up to three times per day. Apply after cleansing/hydrating with Hyaluronic Acid Serum.

Niacinamide Serum

Excess oil can be a prominent factor in breakouts, with dead cells, dirt and bacteria combining with it to clog the pores. Niacinamide Serum can help to balance oil production across the skin to prevent further outbreaks whilst reducing the redness from inflammation.

HOW TO USE: Apply after cleansing in the AM and PM.


Beta Hydroxy Acid Serum

Our ultimate blackhead beater, this exfoliating acid gets deeper beneath the surface to unclog pores. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to soothe those spots.

HOW TO USE: Apply in the AM or PM - we recommend being careful if layering with other exfoliating acids, Vitamin C or Niacinamide Serum and to consider alternating times/days.

Retinol Serum

Retinol is first and foremost an anti-ageing hero but it also has the added benefit of clearing the skin due to high cell-turnover. We recommend this for ages 25+.

HOW TO USE: Start using 2-3 times per week in the PM of your routine


Double cleansing has become a staple to many routines, especially for makeup wearers and if using sunscreen. If you suffer with regular breakouts or acne, a double cleanse can also help to remove the bacteria that lead to breakouts and combat excess oil. Typically this is only done in the PM of your routine as the technique allows a deeper cleanse to remove makeup, dirt, dead skin cells in the first phase allowing the second cleanse to really penetrate the skin. It’s recommended to start with an oil-based cleanser such as The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm and follow with a water-based cleanser - we recommend The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser or Fulvic Acid Cleanser.

  1. Dampen skin (you can apply directly to skin and add water if preferred)
  2. Apply Oat Cleansing Balm to face to remove makeup, SPF and top level dirt
  3. Rinse thoroughly using a warm clean cloth or your hands (TIP: Leave on for 10 mins for a deeper clean)
  4. Apply Salicylic Acid Cleanser/Fulvic Acid Cleanser
  5. Leave for 60 seconds
  6. Rinse with warm water
  7. Pat face dry with a clean towel
  8. Continue with your skincare routine


  • Make sure the water is not too hot as this can dry out the skin.
  • Always use an oil based cleanser as the first step as they are best for removing make up, sunscreens and dirt.
  • Don’t use a water-based/gel/foaming cleanser for both steps as it will be ineffective and may strip the skin of moisture.



Certainly don’t squeeze or pick at spots and even touching your skin can encourage the transfer of bacteria potentially spreading the breakout. Sit on your hands while you wait for your INKEY delivery if you need to. Even if they’ve come to that oh-so-tempting head, picking your pimples can cause longer term damage and skin trauma in the form of scarring and dark spots. This prolongs the impact of your breakouts whilst requiring different treatments to reduce their appearance (Alpha Arbutin, Tranexamic Acid


Place a warm (not too hot!) flannel placed over the face or set up a steam bath to help draw impurities to the skin’s surface. Alternatively, a cold cloth method can help soothe inflammation around breakouts. Listen to your skin and always use a clean cloth!


There’s plenty of classic do-it-yourself quick fix recommendations to zap the zit fast. From toothpaste, lemons and even window cleaner (!), these may feel like a convenient instant reaction but trust us, these can be detrimental for your skin in the long run drying out or damaging the lipid layers.


If you feel comfortable to give your skin a breather, take a break from make-up where possible to allow preventative products to work their magic without being affected by pore-blocking products and the abrasiveness of their removal. This can also apply for more intense members of your skincare military. If you’re suffering from severe and painful breakouts, particularly if the skin is broken, pairing back the more exfoliating actives e.g retinoids and AHAs can allow the skin to heal without risk of irritation.


Think preventatively and look at your current skincare routine to make sure it’s perfectly tailored for your skin type and concerns. Maintaining oil balance, hydration and a solid cleansing step can all help prevent the occurrence of breakouts meaning you don’t need a quick fix in the first place - winner! Get in touch with the askINKEY team for a full recipe or advice on your current products to see if there’s anything else that can help.


To get to the root cause of your acne or breakouts and speed up the recovery process, we always recommend consulting a doctor or dermatologist who can offer further advice and solutions to help you get back on the route to fresh, spot-free skin as soon as possible.

For more information, take a look at our Acne 101 blog or get in touch with the askINKEY team.

Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available 24/7 on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.