The Best Way to Get Rid of Acne Breakouts Fast: Skincare Hacks from The Hidden Cause of Acne
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In my opinion, the least important chapter in my book, The Hidden Cause of Acne, is the chapter about skincare. I'm not saying skincare is not important—I'm a skincare junkie! But unless your acne is caused by a product you are currently putting on your skin, changing your skincare routine is not going to heal chronic acne.
The main thesis of my book is that fluoride is the root cause of the modern acne epidemic. Limiting exposure to fluoride in your food, water supply, and environment is the only way to truly heal fluoride-induced acne. But as I figured out how to do that, my skin experienced plenty of flare-ups along the way.
See my acne journey in photographs →
Here are the most effective methods I learned for healing breakouts quickly, sometimes as fast as overnight.
I am always eager to learn more about natural ways to maintain healthy skin. Feel free to send your favorite skincare hacks in my direction. The best way to reach me is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.
Article at a Glance:
Home Sauna Therapy to Kickstart Lymphatic Circulation to Help Heal Acne
You will have to read my book on acne for the scientific evidence supporting this controversial theory but to sum it up, our faces are attached to the rest of our bodies and therefore the most effective way to increase circulation to the skin on our face is a full body approach.
(I am being facetious, but it is incredible how much the research on acne ignores this basic fact of human physiology. Also, you should still read the book because I use a very entertaining mermaid analogy to explain the lymphatic system and why increasing the flow of lymph is so effective at healing acne.)
One of the most effective ways to kickstart full-body lymphatic circulation is through a sauna session, an ancient form of heat therapy. In many traditional cultures, saunas are a routine part of life. Raising our internal temperature is the body's natural mechanism for healing infections, as anyone who ever had a fever can attest. It also increases circulation and detoxification through the sweat glands in the skin.
Sweating during a sauna session is different than when you sweat during exercise because your body is in a relaxed state. Instead of pumping adrenaline to your heart and increasing blood flow to various muscle groups, when your body is at rest it can remain focused on the important work required for nourishment and elimination. As Dr. Lawrence Wilson explains in Sauna Therapy for Detoxification and Healing, sweat induced by exercise has a different composition and is not as effective for detoxification purposes.
I used to use a far-infrared sauna until I measured high amounts of electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitting from the heating elements. After much research, I switched to this near infrared sauna from SaunaSpace.
The SaunaSpace sauna I own emits zero EMF but they now offer an upgraded model that also blocks all incoming EMF, essentially creating a Faraday cage respite from constant exposure to EMF radiation.
Another benefit of saunas is that the end of a sauna session is an ideal time to exfoliate your skin. I can't recommend highly enough these little scrubbing mitts from Korea. They are the best method I know of for removing dead skin cells, although they aren't recommended for use on the face.
If a near-infrared sauna isn't in the budget, a more affordable option is a facial steamer. It won't give the full body effect, but when my acne was at its worst, I saw a dramatic reduction in healing time when I spent just 20 minutes in front of a facial steamer.
It is important to only use distilled water in the steamer. You can buy it by the gallon or make your own. This is the basic water distiller I recommend which, depending on your water requirements, might be a good option for drinking water, as well. To learn more about filtering fluoride from water, see my fluoride filters page.
Resources referenced in this section on home sauna therapy to kickstart lymphatic circulation:
A 2-Minute Cupping Massage to Relieve Congested Facial Lymph
Cupping therapy is another ancient healing technique that now has a modern update. Next to acupuncture, cupping therapy is the primary technique used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce stagnation in qi and internal fluids. It was also practiced by early Egyptians before it spread to ancient Greece and many countries in Europe and even the Americas.
In cupping therapy, cups are used to create suction against the skin, pulling the tissue upward like an inverse massage. The earliest references to cupping involved the use of animal horns and then jars made of bamboo or pottery. Glass cups eventually came into widespread use, but now these handy silicone cups are widely available and make it easy to incorporate this ancient practice into your home skincare routine.
Unlike with glass cups, silicone cups can be used to create a light suction with a simple squeeze. Keep in mind that lymph capillaries are fragile vessels and there is no need to apply any suction greater than the minimum amount needed to keep the cup attached to the skin.
Another difference with silicone cups is that instead of remaining stationary, they are used in conjunction with an oil that helps glide the cup across the surface of the skin. I like to use ozonated oil because it is one of the few skincare products I tried that caused an immediate, visible improvement in my skin. They are made by infusing regular oils with ozone, or O3, which has been scientifically proven to have strong antibacterial and wound healing properties. My favorite ones for cupping are olive, coconut, and jojoba.
The best time for facial cupping is after you wash your face. Just two-minutes is plenty of time to get the lymph flowing.
I start with downward strokes on my neck to open the pathways that drain lymph from the head. Then I move on to my chin, using outward strokes along my jawline to my ear. I'll use downward strokes along the nasolabial folds (a notorious trouble zone for adult acne) and circular or outwards motions on my cheeks towards the temples. For the forehead, I'll start at the inner eyebrow and work up and out, moving towards the temples. If that was confusing to follow, here is a video tutorial on how to do facial cupping therapy.
Resources referenced in this section on a 2-minute cupping massage to relieve congested facial lymph:
Because I Know You Want Stuff You Can Slather on Your Face
I know. Sometimes you just want to coat your face in anything that you think might do something to help clear your skin (see my "yogurt tears" from chapter one).
While I do not think facial masks are as effective as saunas or a facial steamer at healing acne breakouts, here are my best recommendations for topical treatments that have the potential to show instant results.
For active breakouts, the wound healing properties of raw honey are well documented. Manuka honey is especially beneficial. Look for a label of UMF 15+ or higher, such as this unpasturized Manuka honey from Kiva labelled UMF 20+. New Zealand is serious about the quality of their Manuka honey and their UMF certification program is independently regulated. The UMF grade indicates the concentration of methylglyoxal and other nutrients that contribute to Manuka honey's medical effectiveness.
For oily skin, I recommend a DIY facial made from a scoop of bentonite clay mixed with equal parts apple cider vinegar and fluoride-free water. Bentonite clay is exceedingly good at absorbing the sebum produced by the oil glands in human skin. In fact, when scientists conduct studies on how much sebum is secreted by human skin, they sometimes use bentonite clay to measure it.
This is a good place to point out that, as I explain in chapter three, oily skin is not the cause of your acne. It is a defense mechanism. Work with it to heal your skin.
Also, for reasons I still don't fully comprehend, it is recommended not to use metal when handling bentonite clay (something to do with this) so I use a glass bowl and plastic spoon to be on the safe side.
Resources referenced in this section (because I know you want stuff you can slather on your face):
Other Skincare Tools and Methods Featured in Chapter 5 of The Hidden Cause of Acne
In chapter 5, I promised to keep you updated on the latest attempts to bring ancient Roman strigils back to the market. A once common tool used to scrape oil from the skin after bathing, these modern interpretations are surprisingly effective at exfoliation. It seems they still haven't quite made a comeback though and last I checked, they were seriously overpriced on Amazon. They also aren't a good option for areas with active breakouts.
Other exfoliation tools I've used with positive results are this dermaplaning tool from Stacked Skincare (also not good for use directly on breakouts—ouch!) and a sonic cleansing brush from Clarisonic, although now I like the facial brushes made of silicone. Not only are the bristles antimicrobial, but you also don't need to replace the brush head every three months.
People often ask me what cleansers I recommend, and while I like to experiment with a lot of different brands and oils, I always have this probiotic beauty bar from Dr. Ohhira on hand. It is made of wild herbs fermented with seaweed in mountain spring water.
When I'm not using Dr. Ohhira's beauty bar, I usually cleanse my skin with oil. Oil cleansing is especially helpful when I'm traveling in a fluoridated city because it is easy to do with bottled water. Some of my favorite base oils for oil cleansing are jojoba, sesame, and fractionated coconut oil. I sometimes add a few drops of argan, tamanu, or sea buckthorn berry oil. If oil cleansing is new to you, here is a fantastic tutorial.
Resources referenced in this section on other skincare tools and methods featured in chapter 5 of The Hidden Cause of Acne >>