Six Key Mistakes – How To Get Rid of Acne Series

Picture of How I got rid of my acne - my six key mistakesThis is Part 3 of How To Get Rid of Acne series that talks about my story and thought process, the main causes of acne, the key mistakes I made, my tips for getting clear skin, and, finally, my complete morning and evening skincare routine.

Treating acne can be a tiring, confusing and time-consuming process. The only way to  succeed is by trial and error – or by reading blogs like this. 🙂 Jokes apart, when I was so desperately looking for a solution I found incredible consolation and insight from other people’s experiences on the web. They eventually led me to clear skin but the process still wasn’t easy or mistake-free.

Therefore, I decided to compile a list of the six key mistakes I made during my battle with acne. If only I could turn back the time, this knowledge would have saved me from many years of pain and frustration. But, oh well, things happen for a reason, I believe.  I can now use my knowledge to help you!

Let’s jump right in.

Mistake 1. First of all, I believed in the “legal drug dealers”.

Yes, you heard it right. That’s how I call doctors, and in this case dermatologists. I applied all the crazy things on my skin, such as antibiotics, alcohol, all kind of acids – whatever they prescribed. Doctors are supposed to know better what’s right for you, right? Right???… Think again. Often they don’t even bother to ask you about your skincare, diet or lifestyle. They see you for no more than 5 minutes. How do you think they can get to know your skin as well as you in such a short time? Prescribing medication is pretty much all they are good at.

Legal drug dealer – a licensed dealer in legal drugs. Also known as doctor.

So sorry if you’re a doctor and don’t agree with my statements regarding the way you work – I’m proud of you for being an exception! We certainly need more people like you.

Mistake 2. I didn’t blame food for my acne.

And I should have because sugar, excessive carbohydrates and gluten definitely contributed heavily to my acne. Dermatologists will often tell you that food has nothing to do with acne but so many recent studies have shown strong links between foods with high glycemic index and acne. Try to eat enormous quantities of chips, fries, sweets or any other junk food for a couple of weeks while keeping everything else the same and tell me if your skin remains the same. I bet it won’t!

Fingers often point to diary as lactose is nothing else but sugar. Cow diary is also full of hormones, antibiotics, etc. A good option could be going for mature cheeses (they will have none or very little lactose). In general, try to go for goat or sheep diary as those industries are less commercialised and tend to be more natural.

If you can’t tolerate diary, by all means stay away from it!

Even something as innocent as fruit can cause havoc in your skin.  It’s natural but it’s still sugar, and if you’re sensitive to it, your body will suffer. Try to limit fruit to no more than 2 units per day or even eliminate fruit at all for a couple of weeks to let the inflammation in your body subside.

Mistake 3. I over-exfoliated and over-washed my skin.

As a result, my skin was dehydrated and irritated. Oil production went into overdrive to compensate. And so I was stuck in this vicious circle forever.

“Acne is not from dirt,” says Diane S. Berson, MD in an article on She is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Ithaca. “Many people tend to over-wash and over-scrub when they get acne. As one of my teachers used to say, ‘If acne were from dirt, you would have it on your feet!'”

I bought a Clarisonic hoping it would be the end of my issues – big mistake. After using it every day for a month my skin went crazy. At the beginning it looked amazing. Exfoliation is great but even the best things are bad when overdone.

I tried to cleanse using the Oil Cleansing Method every single evening – that was definitely too much. At the beginning all the sebum plugs were coming out and I started getting more and more excited. Doing it nightly for the first couple of weeks (or even a month) to speed up the clearing up could work but watch for warning signs. Doing it long term will dry out and overstimulate even the toughest skin. Once a week is definitely enough.

Mistake 4. I tried too many new products at once.

I was trying out one thing and a couple of days later I added something else. Therefore, I never knew what worked and what didn’t. I was often stuck in a very annoying circle – products working great for a couple of weeks and then upsetting my skin later. As a result, every two weeks I was adding something else and never knew what to blame. A lot of us make this mistake out of desperation.

Skin cells in our skin regenerate completely around every 30 days.

Therefore, give your new routine at least a month to work before you add in something extra. Confused skin isn’t happy skin – show some respect to it!

Mistake 5. When I was trying the Oil Cleansing Method, I didn’t commit 100%.

Even though I was cleansing my face using only 100% natural oils, I was still applying a regular moisturizer. This was upseting the natural balance of my skin and didn’t allow it to rebalance naturally. You don’t need a film of silicones, glycerin and other synthetic ingredients to feel comfortable.

Use a few drops of your favourite oil and you’ll be surprised how quickly the dryness will subside. Just give it a week or two.

Mistake 6. I got my skin type wrong.

My final mistake was that I believed my skin was combination/oily – it’s not. It took me more than 10 years to work it out. It wasn’t my opinion either – it was analysed by numerous specialists. When I realized that my skin was getting much more acne on days it was feeling extra tight and dry, I understood the vital link. Dry skin leads to increased oil production, which then leads to clogged pores and spots.

Don’t be afraid of oils – nothing rebalances your skin better than natural oils suitable for your skin type.

Don’t fall for the oil-free myth. Anything oil-free will only dehydrate your skin in the long term. Learn from my mistake – when I realized my skin was dry and started using products for dry skin, my skin improved dramatically.

Hope my mistakes will show you the way to healthy and acne-free skin. As I keep saying, nobody knows your body as well as you. So experiment and observe your skin. Eventually you will get there, I promise! Good luck!

Please check out the video below, which I made on this topic. It briefly touches on all five subjects:

Have you been making any of my mistakes? Will you be doing anything differently?

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  1. Vita,
    What would you recommend I use to cleanse my skin at night when I don’t do the oil cleansing method? Can’t I just use the pumpkin seed oil on its own?
    Or maybe that Aleppo soap you mentioned?

    • If you didn’t have any makeup that day, just rinse with water and sometimes you can add a muslin cloth as well. If you wore makeup that day, then you can wipe it off with a damp cotton disc and a few drops of oil on it. Then you can just wipe with a muslin cloth and rinse. Or you can use a natural soap, but I wouldn’t do it too often. As you can imagine, I’m not a huge fan of soaps. 🙂 xx

  2. I so so hope you can help me. I started oil cleansing a month ago. It looked great in the beginning and now I am COVERED in clogged pores bumps, red spots, and painful whiteheads. I cannot emphasize enough the covered in tiny bumps part.. like.. every pore.. anyways, I did it every night and most mornings for 3-5 minutes and blackheads and clogs would come out like crazy! How is it that possible for an oil to unclog and clog at the same time? I was using pumpkin seed oil. And moisturizing with it as well. I wiped it off with a cotton washcloth and hand washed them each time before laundry day. I also started using a powder makeup (alima pure) I bought hemp oil and TT oil but I don’t want to make it worse. I’ve started using Burt’s bees which has salicylic acid and the under the skin bumps are getting a little less. (Only switched about 4 days ago)

    • Hi Megan, I guess you simply over-exfoliated and over-stimulated your skin by doing the OCM so often. The oil unclogs the pores but they get so irritated that they start producing even more oil to compensate and then they get clogged again, again, and again. In order to stop that vicious cycle, you need to scale the OCM way down and not do it more than once or twice a week at the beginning. Use it as a deep cleansing treatment, not as a way to wash your face every day and you’ll see how quickly your skin will normalise again. Good luck! xx

      • Okay. So what would you say to wash with on days that you aren’t oil cleansing?And Is it safe to moisturize and leave the oil on the skin? I’m so scared to make things worse. Maybe I’m stubborn or just love the simplicity of oil cleansing.. who knows but as bad as my face has gotten I don’t want to give up completely. This is what I was thinking.. Burt’s bees wash and toner followed by hemp seed oil to moisturize and once a week oil cleansing with the hemp seed oil maybe mixed with a bit of tea tree oil. Right now I’m just using the Burt’s bees wash and toner. Thanks for your help!

        • I personally just rinse with water. Sometimes I also use a washcloth. If you wear makeup, you can wipe it off with a damp cotton disc and a few drops of oil on it or just do a mini version of OCM where you apply the oil very gently and very quickly and then wipe off with a damp washcloth (but not hot). Without all the extra massaging of the oil and the hot washcloth, it’s actually not over-exfoliating or over-stimulating. Sure it’s safe to moisturise and leave the oil on the skin, but it depends on how dry your skin is and what the weather is like where you live. My skin doesn’t feel dry at all after I wash it at night and it’s hot here, so I’m always sweating. That’s why I leave my skin bare for the night, but I always use a drop or two of oil in the morning. xx

          • Hi again. I’m miserable and looking for some kind of answers. My face.. oh, my face.. I wish I could attach pictures. It’s now covered in red spots clusters of them and clogs everywhere. I have went to the derm and got a prescription cream that has helped some but my face is still covered in clogs and it seems I’m slowly getting new breakouts on my lower jaw neck area. Just wanted to update. Maybe oil cleansing isn’t for everyone but at this point I don’t know what to do anymore. My face is disgusting.

          • Hi Megan, I’m so sorry that you’re struggling so badly with the oil cleansing method. To be fair, when I tried it the first couple of times, I reacted so badly that it took me a year each time to pluck up the courage to try again, so I really for you. Just leave the oils alone for now and try to stabilise your skin. Once it normalises, then perhaps you’ll feel brave enough to troubleshoot it and try to understand what went wrong. Have you looked into nutrient deficiencies? Things like zinc, magnesium, calcium, copper, iodine, etc.? xx

  3. I actually haven’t touched oil in months once I saw the skin colored clogs I panicked and switched to acne washes that’s when it turned to red clusters of whiteheads and red spots on my lower face and temples. As it got worse I went to the seem. That was .. I guess.. three months ago. I’ve been on prescription cream for five weeks. I know those things you mentioned and a healthy diet can help prevent acne but I didn’t think they would help much since my skin is already so clogged up. I guess I’m trying to heal my skin topically from the damage but I guess it couldn’t hurt to look into deficiency as well.

    • Topicals are far from the power that good nutrition and supplements could have. You’re just trying to conceal the symptoms rather than looking for the root cause. All those topical treatments are going to do is irritate and dry your skin out even more in the long term. xx

  4. I also started using alima pure satin matte mineral foundation at the same time. I wonder if that MAY have contributed. It contains mica.. which sometimes can irritate. I don’t know that it would clog pores though.

    • I think it’s highly unlikely. Mica isn’t the worst ingredient. But of course try to experiment by staying away from it for a bit and see if it makes a difference. xx

      • Thank you for your help. I wonder what your thoughts are on micellar water? My mother pointed out that I started using it at the same time as oil cleansing and I never washed it off.. besides oil cleansing of course. After I quit oil cleansing I continued with my micellar water to remove makeup. That’s the main constant I have found.

        • Hi Megan, micellar water is gentler than a lot of conventional cleansers, but it’s still chemical based and it’s still drying out your skin and disrupting the acid mantle. If you think it might have been the micellar water, it makes sense to stop using it for a while and see if it makes a difference. xx

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