How to get rid of acne

How do you prevent or treat acne? 
We get asked this question a lot. So we wanted to provide a guide for how to clear up acne and prevent the breakouts from coming back. 

Instead of focusing on the quick fixes and spot treatments only, we're providing a more holistic approach to how you can help your skin to break the acne cycle altogether. We wanted to take this approach because we understand. It's frustrating when the only solution is salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide or some sort of retinol, and as soon as you get off these treatments, the acne is back and worse than ever. We're here to help you find ways to tackle where the breakouts are starting, so that you can prevent them in the first place.

What causes acne?
This is an important question because this helps to get at the root of your breakouts. Acne is a symptom of underlying issues like inflammation or a compromised skin barrier. Treat the root cause and you'll see more profound and lasting results.
So! Here are some common culprits for what might be underlying your constant breakouts.

First root cause: inflammation. What causes inflammation? Dehydration, irritation, stress, and pollution can all cause inflammation. When that happens, it can trigger more sebum production and actually cause skin cells to turnover more slowly. That combination can lead to a breakout. 

Second root cause: compromised skin barrier. Think of your skin barrier as a very smart filtering system. It keeps the bad guys (e.g. bacteria) out and the good guys (moisture!) in the skin. Letting the bacteria in can cause breakouts, and to make matters worse, letting the moisture leave can cause skin to become dehydrated...which can lead to inflammation! And we just discussed how inflammation can be the culprit behind constant breakouts. 

Third root cause: beyond the skin. Let's keep in mind that our skin is a part of our overall body that's an integrated set of various systems like your digestive, endocrine and circulatory systems. The skin is such a helpful organ because it can actually reveal to you how you might be doing overall. The skin can show symptoms of other issues your body is struggling with. Excessive stress, for example, can lead to elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies, which can trigger inflammation and show up as acne.

We won't go through all the root causes here, but these three are common causes that helps to set the framework of how you think about acne.

What, then, are some great solutions for acne?
Since we talked about the root causes, what better way than to tackle those root causes rather than just the symptoms?

Let's deal with root cause one: inflammation. To help skin clear of inflammation, it's a great idea to keep it very well hydrated; after all, dehydrated skin can trigger inflammation, so don't let your skin get thirsty! Drinking water won't directly hydrate skin (although, it's key to drink water to stay healthy, in general) - our vital organs get the water first and the remainder we usually flush out. Fear not, using a category of humectants (sounds fancy, but it's just a word for ingredients that act like water-magnets) like hyaluronic acid, collagen and glycerin can help bind moisture (literally, water) to your skin. Now, the issue is many of these humectants have very large molecule sizes, so they sit on top of the skin and don't penetrate to where moisture is most needed to combat that inflammation. So be sure to look out for products that are properly formulated to sink deep into skin. Hyaluronic acid molecules, for instance, can be hydrolyzed (i.e. chopped up) so that they sink deep into skin.

Here are our top picks for keeping skin well hydrated to help keep inflammation (a common root cause for acne) away!
  • Peach & Lily Wild Dew Treatment Essence: this has hyaluronic acid that is properly formulated to sink deep into skin and bind moisture to where it's most needed. In fact, we include short, medium and long chain molecules of hyaluronic acid so every layer of skin gets the hydration it needs. Plus, there are ingredients like niacinamide included that help quell inflammation and correct dark spots from the acne scarring.
  • Eco Your Skin Layering Essence Oily: this is specially formulated to have nano-sized particles that sink effectively deep into skin to bring moisture to fully quench skin thirst. We love that it also includes tea tree extract to help fight off bacteria, witch hazel that can help curb back sebum production and centella asiatica which is incredibly calming (it's a plant tigers roll around in to help heal their wounds)! 

    Let's now talk about keeping the skin barrier intact. The biggest way the skin barrier can get disrupted is by using harsh cleansers, overdoing it with exfoliation, and using harsh ingredients. 

    Here are the cleansers we love for keeping the skin barrier at its best. We love double cleansing because the oil cleanser is what really helps remove the oil-based impurities (SPF, night creams, makeup, grime trapped in your sebum) so that this doesn't eventually turn into clogged pores leading to breakouts. Not the most delightful analogy, but think of a frying pan. No amount of water cleans that pan -- a cleanser that can break down oils is needed. Same concept, different surface. ;) 
    • We love the Aromatica Coconut Cleansing Oil and the Banila Co Clean it Zero cleansers because both completely dissolve makeup, even waterproof mascara, and best of all, neither one will leave that waxy or greasy residue on skin. Both are absolute cult-favorites. The Coconut Cleansing Oil is vegan, cruelty-free, EWG green, and uses mostly organic ingredients. The Clean It Zero comes in a sorbet like texture that melts onto skin and feels like a decadent experience. We recommend the Coconut Cleansing Oil for those with more sensitive skin.

    Next, comes the water-based cleanser. This helps remove any remaining impurities. Continuing with the frying pan analogy, it's a bit like using that extra bit of water to swish around and really remove every last bit before you're ready to declare that pan fully clean. The two step process ensures that skin is treated gently - no tugging or pulling - while cleansing thoroughly. Now, let's not defeat the purpose by using a harsh second-step cleanser. A water-based cleanser that's very high in pH (think 7, 7.5 and above) can disrupt your skin barrier that's happiest at around a 5-6 pH. Why would any cleanser have a high pH then, you ask? Because the foaming agents cause the pH to go up. So here are some gentle second-step cleansers that'll get the job done without ever being too harsh.

    Now that the root causes of acne have been considered, what else should you consider for acne?

    Exfoliation: Keeping skin well exfoliated is important to keep pores free and clear to help prevent breakouts. Remember, the root cause of acne isn't necessarily because your skin isn't well exfoliated -- the root cause is likely more related to persistent inflammation, a compromised skin barrier, or some other factor -- but exfoliating does help. It's sort of like taking vitamin C when you're sick is going to help, but not taking vitamin C is likely not the root cause of why you got sick in the first place. But it does help!

    Here are four cult-favorite exfoliators to consider:

    • Peach & Lily Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask: 10% glycolic acid, 0.5% salicylic acid together completely degunks pores and resurfaces skin. This busts through the grime in pores and helps to keep skin clear and helps minimize breakouts. What's great is that a ton of soothing and hydrating ingredients are combined in this pro-grade mask, so that even the most sensitive skin can use the mask. You'll see instant results with this one.
    • Be the Skin Non-Stimulus Face Polisher: this super gentle physical exfoliator luxuriously sloughs off dead skin cells through a gommage peel type action. The scent is subtle and delightful, the texture is grainy, but melts into skin while rolling away the dead skin cells. Skin is left, as promised, polished and new skin is revealed.
    • Eco Your Skin Lavender Bedside Mask: this overnight sleeping mask is applied as a night cream, as the last step of your routine. A bit of salicylic acid works hard to degunk pores while you sleep and you wake up glowing. It's great for keeping skin soft and hydrated. 
    • Good Acids Pore Toner: looking for a gently daily exfoliating toner that'll keep pores clear but never overdo it? This toner was formulated specifically to always treat skin gently and with respect so that skin doesn't become raw or irritated.

    Brightening up the dark spots: We get it. Once a blemish has gone away, it's frustrating to see that there's another issue to deal with. The scarring left behind. These products work fast to help make those dark spots go away.

    • Mizon Mela Defense White Capsule Essence: lightweight, gel texture that sinks in super fast. Niacinamide helps correct dark spots while botanical extracts calm skin down.
    • Be the Skin Purifying White Waterful Toner: niacinamide and licorice help brighten, green tea packs an antioxidant-punch, and skullcap root soothes. 
    • Aromatica Neroli Brightening Facial Oil: dry skin and breaking out? Try this brightening oil, it's a drier oil, so it's ideal for oily skin types, too. For dry skin, it's supportive of the lipid barrier while working hard to brighten up those scars.
    • Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum: niacinamide to brighten, hyaluronic acid to hydrate, mountain yam and madecassoside to help combat inflammation and soothe, peach extract for vitamin and minerals and antioxidants, peptides to firm; altogether gets you poreless, translucent glass skin.

    Your moisturizer matters
    : Don't clog pores with a moisturizer that'll undo all the great work. Here are two super popular moisturizers that'll keep your skin smooth-sailing.



    • Mizon All-in-one Snail Repair Cream: did you know snail mucin helps fight off bacteria, soothes, regenerates, hydrates and firms? This means, you get anti-inflammatory, brightening and anti-bacterial properties all in one. We're not surprised that this cream helped get rid of our founder's acne in two days! 

    • Peach Slices Citrus Honey Aqua Glow: this moisturizer won the Teen Vogue Acne Awards for how it deeply hydrates and locks in moisture but without ever clogging pores. Citrus extracts also provide brightening benefits without drying out skin. 

    Spot treatments and masks: With a routine that isn't just about the spot treatments, but focused on proper cleansing, proper hydration and keeping skin clear of inflammation, breakouts should be dramatically minimized. But when they do pop up here and there, spot treatments to the rescue!



    • Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots: these acne stickers have won multiple beauty awards (Teen Vogue twice!, Into the Gloss, Total Beauty and more) because of how quickly they work. Not all acne stickers are created alike; these stand out above the rest. In the words of Into the Gloss, these spot dots "are not the only pimple patches on the market. But they are the best." 




    We hope you found this article helpful! If you ever have any questions, you can email any of our licensed estheticians and cosmetologists at, and one of our experts will be able to personally help you.

    Cheers to radiance and clear skin!

    Peach & Lily

    Posted on November 20, 2018
    by Peach & Lily