Upcoming Event:

Hack your health

View details

The Biggest Mistake in Trying to Get Rid of Acne is

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 02/27/2024

One of the most frequent mistakes in acne treatment is the utilization of harsh products to wash the skin, which oftentimes only make matters worse.

Discover why aggressive cleansing approaches may be counterproductive and explore alternative methods for achieving clear, healthy skin. First, explore the importance of maintaining a balanced skin microbiome and how disrupting it can lead to more acne problems. Then learn about sebaceous glands and their role in acne formation, focusing on hormonal influences such as androgen imbalances and elevated insulin levels.

The Biggest Mistake in Acne Treatment

Removing acne using detergents, cleansers, alcohol wipes, and antibacterial creams can be counterproductive as it disrupts the skin's microbiome.

This can weaken the immune system and increase inflammation in the skin, ultimately worsening or even causing acne. This section will discuss why washing your face with harsh products can contribute to acne and emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy skin microbiome.

Why Washing Your Face with Harsh Products Can Worsen Acne

Using strong chemicals on your face may seem like an effective way to eliminate acne-causing bacteria; however, this method often does more harm than good.

When you strip away your skin's natural oils by over-cleansing or using harsh products, it disrupts the skin’s protective barrier function. As a result, your skin becomes more susceptible to irritation and infection, leading to increased inflammation that can exacerbate existing breakouts or cause new flare-ups.

  • Avoid over-washing: Avoid scrubbing your face with detergents or cleansers.

  • Skip alcohol-based toners: Alcohol dries out your skin which triggers excess oil production as a compensatory mechanism - precisely what you want to avoid if you're dealing with acne.

  • Ditch abrasive scrubs: Exfoliating too frequently or aggressively can damage your skin's surface, making it prone to further breakouts.

Healthy natural lips

The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Skin Microbiome

Your skin is home to billions of beneficial microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that comprise the skin microbiome.

The microorganisms on your skin are vital for protecting it from pathogens and controlling inflammation. When you use harsh acne treatments or over-cleanse your face, you disrupt this delicate balance, leading to increased inflammation and breakouts.

To support a healthy skin microbiome:

  1. Opt for gentle skincare products free from irritants like sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and alcohol.

  2. Incorporate probiotic-rich foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, into your diet.

  3. Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use as they can negatively impact gut and skin microbiomes - consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication.

By nurturing our skin, we can help maintain its defensive barrier and foster its inherent recovery capacity. By focusing on nurturing rather than attacking our complexion, we set ourselves up for long-term success in achieving clear and healthy-looking skin.

Understanding Sebaceous Glands and Their Role in Acne

To better understand how to treat acne effectively, knowing about sebaceous glands is crucial.

These glands secrete an oil called sebum, which plays a significant role in acne development. When there is excess production of sebum combined with pus formation and bacteria growth within these glands, acne lesions are likely to develop.

How Hormones Affect Sebaceous Gland Function

Hormones are key regulators of sebaceous gland activity. Androgens, including testosterone, stimulate the production of sebum, and an increase in androgen levels can lead to excessive secretion of oils by the gland, resulting in clogged pores linked to acne.

Some individuals may be genetically predisposed or suffer from other medical conditions, such as PCOS, leading to heightened sensitivity towards testosterone.

This increased sensitivity can cause the skin to produce more oil than necessary, significantly increasing the risk of acne. 

The Link Between High Insulin Levels and Increased Risk for Developing Acne

Apart from hormonal imbalances involving androgens, another factor that contributes significantly to acne development is high insulin levels. Research has shown that people with elevated insulin levels often experience higher rates of acne breakouts.

The reason behind this connection lies mainly on two fronts:

  1. Insulin resistance: When your body becomes resistant to insulin, it produces more of this hormone to compensate for the lack of cellular response to maintain normal blood sugar levels. This increase in insulin production can directly stimulate sebaceous glands and trigger acne.

  2. Increased inflammation: High insulin levels are also associated with increased inflammation throughout the body, including on your skin. Increased inflammation can impede the healing of existing acne lesions and trigger acne flare-ups.

In light of these factors, managing hormonal imbalances and regulating insulin levels become crucial aspects of effective acne treatment strategies. In addition, there are also common acne treatment mistakes that can worsen acne, such as:

  • Using the wrong skin care products: Using products that are too harsh or not formulated for acne-prone skin can also worsen acne. Avoid skin care products that will overly disturb your skin's microbiome.

  • Picking at acne: Picking at acne lesions can introduce bacteria into the skin and worsen inflammation, leading to scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Suppose you're concerned about acne lesions or persistent spots on your skin. In that case, it's always best to consult a dermatologist to evaluate your skin health and formulate an appropriate treatment plan. 

Effective Strategies for Reducing Acne Naturally

Adopting a nutritious low-carbohydrate diet like Healthy Keto®, in combination with intermittent fasting, can help regulate insulin levels—a key factor contributing to hormonal imbalances that cause excessive sebum production leading to breakouts. By reducing carbohydrate intake and keeping insulin levels low, you may experience clearer skin.

Ketogenic foods

The Benefits of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet and Intermittent Fasting

  • Better hormone regulation: A low-carb diet helps reduce insulin resistance and balances other hormones like androgens, which are responsible for stimulating sebum production in the skin.

  • Reduced inflammation: The keto diet is known for its anti-inflammatory effects on the body, which can help alleviate acne symptoms caused by chronic inflammation.

  • Faster cellular turnover: Intermittent fasting promotes autophagy—the process where cells recycle damaged components—leading to healthier skin cells and reduced risk of developing acne lesions.

Tips for Implementing Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting into Your Lifestyle

  1. Create a weekly meal plan containing nutritious low-carb foods. This will help you stay on track and avoid the temptation of high-carb foods.

  2. Gradually transition into intermittent fasting: Start by extending your overnight fast, then slowly increase the duration of your fasting window until you reach a comfortable schedule that works for you. 

  3. Stay hydrated and prioritize electrolytes: Drinking enough water is essential when following a low-carb diet and practicing intermittent fasting. Additionally, consume adequate amounts of sodium, potassium, and magnesium—critical electrolytes needed for optimal health.

By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can effectively address the root causes of acne development and enjoy clearer skin over time without resorting to harsh treatments or medications that may worsen acne or have harmful side effects.


Understanding the root causes of acne and avoiding common treatment mistakes can help you achieve clearer skin.

Harsh products that strip the skin's natural oils can worsen acne while maintaining a healthy skin microbiome is crucial for preventing breakouts. Hormones like androgens and high insulin levels also affect sebaceous gland function and acne development.

If you're having difficulty with acne-prone skin, consider a nutritious low-carb diet in combination with intermittent fasting to lower inflammation, promote healing, and reduce acne symptoms.



1. What are the most common acne treatment mistakes?

Common mistakes during acne treatment include over-washing and scrubbing the skin, using harsh products that disrupt the skin's natural balance, not considering hormonal factors, and ignoring diet-related causes such as high insulin levels.

These actions can worsen acne or prolong its healing process.

2. What is the most common cause of an acne treatment failing?

The most common cause of treatment failure in acne is using harsh chemicals, over-cleaning, and making the wrong dietary choices alongside acne treatment.

It takes time for effective treatments to show results; therefore, patience and consistency are crucial for successful outcomes.

3. What is not recommended for the treatment of acne?

  • Avoid popping pimples which can lead to scarring.

  • Skip harsh scrubs that may irritate your skin.

  • Lay off greasy cosmetics that can clog pores.

  • Ditch alcohol-based toners, which might dry out your skin excessively.


Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan