may 2023

Why understanding the spot lifecycle will help you clear breakouts faster

We’re just going to say it; skincare can be confusing. There’s a huge choice of products and ingredients out there, which is fun but sometimes makes it difficult to know exactly what’s going work for your skin, especially for treating spots and blemishes. 

After discussing this problem with our skincare formulators and technical experts, we found that understanding more about the lifecycle of a spot really helps you tailor ingredients and products to each stage to get the best results from your skincare.


The 3 parts of the spot lifecycle are broken down into the BIRTH, GROWTH and DEATH of a spot. 

the birth of a spot

The birth of a pimple begins in the pores. If a pore becomes blocked with sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria this can create the starting point for bacterial growth and inflammation. A classic sign of this going on is the area starting to look and feel red and raised, and at this early point you might also start to see whiteheads or blackheads:

  • A whitehead is a closed comedone and is essentially all the gunk that has built up in the pore which is covered by skin
  • A blackhead is an open comedone, and when the trapped sebum in a pore comes into contact with air it oxidises and turns the clogged pore a dark colour

How do I prevent from spots forming?

Make sure your skincare routine contains products that focus on:

  • Normalising oil production to reduce excess sebum
  • Exfoliating to help unclog pores and remove dirt and oil
  • Keeping your skins microbiome and bacteria in a healthy balance

What ingredients help prevent spots from forming?
  • Look out for ingredients such as Salicylic Acid, Zinc PCA, Niacinamide and Bakuchiol to help your skin maintain normal levels of oil production
  • AHAs, BHAs and PHAs are the ingredients you need for exfoliating. Try introducing Salicylic, Glycolic and Latic Acids and Betaine Salicylate to keep pores from becoming clogged
  • For normalising microbiome and bacteria on the skins surface try Zinc PCA or Fluidpure

Check out the Clean Skin Days Clarifying Cleanser,Clarifying Toner and the BHA BHA Pore Refining Solutionfor skincare that you can use everyday to help clear pores and prevent spots from forming. 

the growth of the spot

In this phase of a spot trapped bacteria can create an infection, and the body’s immune system works to fight the infection. Not every spot will get to this stage but if they do you might experience:

  • Papules: Red bumps
  • Pustules: Red bumps with white pus
  • Nodules: Deep bumps beneath the surface
  • Cysts: Deep pus-filled bumps beneath the surface

How do I treat spots once they start to appear?

In this phase your skincare routine should focus on:

• Calming and anti-inflammatory products to reduce the signs of redness and irritation

• Anti-microbial products help to reduce unwanted bacteria which can cause infections (the growth of spots) within your pores

• Targeted exfoliating ingredients to encourage cell turnover and help remove any pore blockages

What ingredients help to reduce a spot in the growth phase?

Anti-inflammatory and anti-irritation ingredients to look out for include Niacinamide, Chamomile Water, Zinc Oxide and Glycerin

• For anti-microbial ingredients try out Salicylic Acid, Bakuchiol and Zinc Oxide

• Exfoliation and cell turnover is great for targeting individual spots or smaller areas of breakouts. Salicylic Acid is a leading ingredient for this job

Try our range of treatments such as the amazing Clear Skin Days Blemish Repair Paste (a personal favourite!), Hydrocolloid Patchesor Clearing Drops to target areas of breakouts and calm inflamed skin.


When any infection is gone the spot will reduce and skin will start to repair itself.

Sometimes, a scab forms in this phase as new skin cells are produced. Where the spot was there can also be a mark or scar, which is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), caused by an excess of melanin-producing cells triggered by inflammation. These darken the skin and remain after the spot has recovered.

Over time these uneven marks will start to fade, but the good news is that your skincare can help speed up this recovery process for you:

How do I help my skin to recover once a spot starts to reduce?

After your breakout has calmed build in skincare products that focus on:

• Reducing and fading hyperpigmentation

• Increasing cell turnover to help skin recover from uneven texture

• Moisturisation to help any dryness or peeling recover

• Strengthening the skin barrier

What ingredients help skin to recover from a spot?

For fading pigmentation Retinol is once of the best ingredients you can bring into your skincare routine, alongside Mulberry Extract and Gluconolactone

• Increase cell turnover and improve texture with Salicylic Acid, Glycolic and Lactic acid

• Focus on hydration and barrier repair with ingredients like Glycerin, Panthenol and Niacinamide

Give our game-changing Clear Skin Days Retinol Recovery Serum or the BHA PHA Pore Refining Solution a go to help brighten and even skin while it recovers from breakouts.


We hope that you've found this blog helpful - if you have any questions or would like to share your skincare journey with us, we'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch via the form below or by DM on IG. 




Tips, Information + Advice
Need more information or advice? Take a look at more of our blogs - always here to help!
Are TikTok trends dangerous for your skin? Understanding TikTok Skincare Fads
lizzy may 2024 Are TikTok beauty trends dangerous? Understanding TikTok Skincare Fads TikTok has become a breeding ground for all...
Intern POV: A Guide to Affordable Skincare Swops
sharon APRIL 2024 A BEAUTY BRAND INTERNS guide to affordable skincare swops Every time you decide to treat yourself to...
A guide to using SPF with acne-prone skin
lizzy APRIL 2024 Sunscreen and Acne: Your Essential Q&A Guide to spf Wearing SPF everyday is a skincare non-negotiable, providing...
Student Skincare On A Budget
lizzy APRIL 2024 student skincare on a budget This week we asked our amazing intern Lizzy to give us our...
Face Basting: Why It's Time to Swap Nappy Rash Cream for a Superior Spot Treatment
PAIGE APRIL 2024 Face Basting: Why It's Time to Swap Nappy Rash Cream for this Superior Spot Treatment In the...
Reclaim Your Glow: A Gentle Approach to Sorting Stressed Out Skin
sharon march 2024 Reclaim Your glow: A Gentle Approach sorting Stressed out Skin In the hustle and bustle of everyday...