Beauty: Achieving Breakout-Free Skin in Three Easy Steps, by Kristen Ma

Image credit: Helga Weber

I was recently in Panama to lecture about Ayurveda and skincare. While I was there, my friend and nutritionist hosted a weekend away by the beach. It was beautiful and I loved every minute of it. But one thing I did not love was the fact that my face broke out in a way that I haven’t seen in ten years. I don’t know if it was the sun, sand, or the residual stress I had left behind at home but these were stubborn, blistering blemishes that looked and felt angry! I was completely unprepared because it has been ages since I have had to travel with any sort of acne care, so I was left to apologize constantly for my uncharacteristic breakout, feeling like a skincare expert fraud, and scavenging the local grocery offerings for a solution. Thankfully, I have the skincare experience to keep a few tricks up my sleeve for treating pimples quickly. So, my friends, here is my step-by step guide to getting rid of any pimple… and fast. This isn’t an article about preventing acne and addressing its root cause, this is a blow-by-blow of how to get blemishes to go away quickly – an important and handy thing to know when breaking out before any big event.

Step one is identifying the type of pimple you’re dealing with. It’s all about matching the right strategy for the pimple(s) you have. Is it wet, dried out, inflamed or cystic? These will all have different strategies so diagnosis is very important.

Once you’ve identified the type of blemish you have, you can move on to step two and act quickly.

If it has a pus-filled white head, dab the blemish with apple cider vinegar (ACV) on a wet Q-tip. Yes, the Q-tip should be wet so that it dilutes the strong ACV. You don’t want to apply it anywhere but right on top of the blemish because apple cider vinegar can irritate and dry out your healthy, clear skin. This works really fast! For wet pimples, it’s a natural silver bullet.

If your pimples are small, hard and dry, they need to be slathered with oil after a gentle exfoliating treatment. Jojoba and coconut are ideal as they won’t over-stimulate or congest pores. They are also anti-inflammatory so if the blemish is red and inflamed, it helps to diminish the inflammation too. The cause of these blemishes are dried out sebum and an accumulation of dead skin cells, so we need to moisturize them right away. It may seem odd but it’s true!

If the pimples are red with white or yellow heads, use a green clay mask as a spot treatment and leave it on overnight. This will draw out impurities without being as drying as ACV.

If you have a cystic pimple, it will need to be pricked with a sterile needle and drained. I advise getting a professional esthetician do this to avoid scarring or further infection. Draining this kind of pimple is very important; they are deep-seated and stay for a long time. After draining their fluid, always always disinfect the area with witch hazel, pine, or peppermint hydrosol. The repair is the most important thing with cystic pimples. Because they are deep, they can scar easily. Doing step three over and over is important to erase any sign that that pesky cyst was ever even there.

Step Three is all about reparation. You must prevent scarring by nourishing the skin. After employing one of the above plans of attack, make sure you use a healing serum and protective moisturizer to help your skin repair. I like using a Collagen serum and an ultra-rich moisturizer containing Shea butter or Camellia Oil. Remember, pimples will come and go but scars can last forever. Maintaining proper skin hydration is the key to proper regeneration!

Kristen Ma PhotoKristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine.

For more information on Kristen, please visit