How To: Treat acne

A lot of people ask me this question on Twitter. How do I get rid of pimples?

Acne has haunted most of us during our teenage years. Some of us outgrew teenage but not acne. Hopefully this post will help, as I myself am an acne survivor. I’ll tell you what helped me.

First of all, if your acne is really really severe, please read this later and see a dermatologist right now. Trust me, they know best.

If it’s not very severe, I can help.

The causes of acne are many, and very hard to pinpoint. It could be hormonal or lifestyle related.

Lifestyle changes:

  1. Start a cleansing routine: You need to wash your face in the morning and before bed. No more though, unless absolutely required. Excessive cleansing and harsh scrubbing can lead to irritation. I personally don’t like scrubs, and on acne affected skin scrubbing is a no no! Use a mild cleanser. Just because your skin is oily doesn’t mean you strip it with harsh soaps. I use Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser (review here) and Neutrogena Deep Clean Face Wash alternatively. I also clean my face with besan/milk sometimes. (Do read this post too)
  2. Keep your pillow cases, towels clean.
  3. Clean your makeup brushes at least once a week. Wash the bristles with a mild shampoo.
  4. Ahem. Drink loads of water. Everyone says this and they’re right. (I am terrible at following this but hey I’m trying)
  5. Exfoliate. Yes, I just said don’t use scrubs. It is a myth that only scrubs exfoliate. Lactic acid is a better exfoliant. Get something like Dermalogica gentle cream exfoliant (love it!) or use raw milk, papaya, tomato. Again, be very gentle please.
  6. Wear sunscreen. Use a non oily one. I love Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch.
  7. REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE YOU SLEEP! Phew! Cannot stress this enough. Do it! No matter how tired you are!
  8. Keep your scalp clean. An oily scalp and dandruff can often cause acne. Treat that and it might just solve your acne issues.
  9. Exercise!
  10. Get enough sleep. Yes, who am I to say this writing the post at 3 am! But we all know it’s true. Sleep is magic for skin.


  1. OTC medication can help. Here’s what helped me during my acne phase: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% applied on the affected areas every alternate night. Be very careful about this though. If you do choose this option, remember: it might initially seem like the acne has increased as this chemical brings out the acne beneath the surface of the skin. Also, you have to be very careful about sun exposure. Please read the leaflet before using this drug. For acne scars, I used Tretinoin .025%. I still use it sometimes for the occasional scar. PS: read instructions before using. Also, do not use Tretinoin if you’re pregnant.
  2. Aspirin: Applying a paste of aspirin plus water helps reduce the redness in pimples. I have tried this; it works. This is a quick fix when you get a zit before a party. Make a paste of aspirin and apply on the zit. Wash off when it dries.
  3. Natural remedies: Homemade masks like, a multani mitti mask, help to dry out and reduce the size of pimples.
  4. Oral contraceptives: When topical medicines fail, a lot of dermats suggest this to women. Please talk to your doctor before using.

Please remember, everyone’s skin is different. The causes of acne are varied, but these tips might help to some extent.

Please comment below if you have questions.

Take care!


5 thoughts on “How To: Treat acne

  1. Month Hacker says:

    Oh wait! After reading this I think I have observed a clear inverse relation of pimples with exercise. The week I stop exercising pimples start popping out.


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