The Do’s and Don’ts of Clear Skin Treatments

Mother Dirt

Do red spots, acne, and blotchy skin have you frustrated? Are you struggling to get clear skin using traditional acne treatments but…no dice?

If you’re tired of wasting money on acne treatments that don’t ever seem to work and want an at-home solution that doesn’t require a trip to the derm, keep reading! We’re going to share our favorite tricks for clear skin, plus a little-known “dirty” skincare secret that’s revolutionizing modern skincare!  

What Causes Acne?

Acne is formed by clogged pores that are plugged up with oil and dead skin. When extra sebum blocks your pores, it causes Propionibacterium acne, otherwise known as P. acne. Bacteria are a natural part of life. Although P. acne is caused by one type of bacteria, there are plenty of good bacteria that protect your skin from irritation. We’ll touch on that more in a minute. 

Some factors that contribute to acne are unavoidable. Things like hormones and genetics can trigger acne for teenagers, causing frustration and anxiety—which can then lead to more acne. Acne can be caused by diet and stress as well, due to increased sebum (oil) production. 

Just because you experience acne doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a life of blemishes and blotchy skin. There are plenty of ways to treat acne and reduce inflammation. However, there are also so-called treatments that you should avoid. Let’s start with those. 

Things To Avoid

Stop the pop. It can be extremely tempting to pop or pick at your pimples, but this is one impulse that should be avoided at all costs. Even though popping a pimple may feel strangely satisfying, it is harmful for your skin and can actually make your acne last longer. When you disrupt the active acne, you also disrupt its healing process and expose the surrounding skin to bad bacteria. Popping pimples can easily lead to scarring, which is more difficult to get rid of than acne. 

Finger-free face. Touching your face is also something you should avoid when dealing with acne. Even if you aren't touching the acne, your fingers have germs from touching surfaces throughout the day that you don’t want transferring to your face. These germs interrupt your skin’s delicate ecosystem and can cause more acne to form.

Don’t be wishy-washy. We’ve all had long days where we want to launch into bed after getting home. But going to sleep without washing your face or removing your makeup is a foolproof way to give yourself more acne. Removing the oils, dirt and residue from your face after it’s been exposed to the world keeps your skin feeling and looking its best. Use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t break down the skin barrier or cause irritation. 

Washing your face after you exercise is also a must. Leaving sweat on your face will only make your acne worse. Try to remove the sweat from your face as soon as possible, preferably before it dries. You can bring a small bottle of cleanser to the gym or your exercise class, allowing you to quickly rinse your face in the bathroom and leave your workout feeling fresh. 

Sun safety. Never skip sunscreen in your daily routine. The sun’s UV rays are harmful to the skin and cause premature aging and skin cancer due to the introduction of free radicals. Using SPF when you’re going outside will help protect your skin. There are even sunscreens that can protect your skin from harmful blue light rays emanating from your electronics, making a strong case for adding SPF to your morning routine even on days that you’re staying indoors.

Things to Embrace

Exfoliate Gently. While exfoliating your skin is extremely important to its health, you have to be careful about being too hard on your face. Some exfoliants contain microbeads, peach pits, or walnut shells that cause tiny tears in your skin and leave it vulnerable to bad bacteria, not to mention the microbeads found in many exfoliants are terrible for the environment. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, we don’t recommend physical exfoliators. Instead, stick to a chemical exfoliator like a glycolic peel. 

Read the label. When choosing a skincare product, you should look for a cleanser with salicylic acid as an active ingredient. Salicylic acid is an important chemical exfoliant that breaks apart attachments between the cells in our epidermis and dermis calle desmosomes, freeing our clogged pores. Salicylic acid is lipophilic, which gives it a one-two punch of exfoliation and cleansing by penetrating our clogged pores for deep cleaning, and it can reduce the creation of pore-clogging sebum. Salicylic acid is also anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce redness. 

Go fragrance-free. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) credits fragrance as the biggest cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis alongside common irritants nickel and poison ivy. Even if you aren’t allergic to the specific fragrance compound in your lotions, cleansers, or oils, the Food and Drug Administration exempts fragrances from specifying the ingredients used to create their compound, so the grapefruit scent in your favorite cleanser simply listed as “fragrance” could actually be hiding pesky irritants, synthetics, and preservatives that can wreak havoc on your skin. This exemption was introduced into law to protect perfumiers from having to give up trade secrets or open their proprietary perfume blend to copycats, but unfortunately, some companies have decided to use this loophole to pack their skincare products with ingredients that do more harm than good. 

Want to Know Our Secret? A Little Dirt Doesn’t Hurt

Ready for that big clear-skin secret we promised? An extremely important, little-known factor in finally getting the clear skin of your dreams is…bacteria. Yes, that’s right! You actually don’t want to cleanse your skin of all bacteria. In fact, creating a balance in your skin’s microbiome is what leads to truly healthy, glowing skin. 

What’s your skin microbiome? It’s the combination of all the microbes that live in or on your skin. 

We know you’ve been taught that bacteria are “bad” or “dirty,” but that’s not the whole story. Some of the bacteria that live on your skin actually protect it from infection and keep it healthy. In fact, stripping away our natural microbiome through traditional hygiene practices and harsh cosmetics is a major contribution to our modern skincare woes. 

Your skin is its own ecosystem, and every microbe plays a part in it. The health of your skin depends on the presence of these microorganisms, and understanding them helps us understand skin conditions like acne better. You want good bacteria on your skin, protecting you from bad bacteria. 

This realization is revolutionary. A lot of the focus on skincare for acne is on “antibacterial” products. However, we believe this is doing more harm than good. That’s why we’re all about the good kind of dirt. We want to provide your skin with good bacteria to keep it balanced. That’s where probiotics come in. 

Through the supplementation of probiotics, you can give your skin exactly what it needs to thrive. They support a healthy microbiota and can be ingested orally or topically. Our MIT scientists discovered a secret ingredient called AOB. It stands for Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria, and it has the power to balance your skin’s diverse set of ecosystems.

Our AO+ Restorative Mist is made with active probiotics to protect and maintain healthy skin by restoring and balancing your microbiome. It contains live AOB which produces  Nitrite and Nitric Oxide, the ideal ingredients for your microbiome. The best part? It’s designed for all skin types. Whether you struggle with dry patches or oily skin, Mother Dirt has you covered. 

Mother Dirt Is Here To Help

We believe in only using the best ingredients to help your skin. That’s why we ditched the synthetic fragrances, harsh surfactants, sulfates, and parabens. We want to focus on restoring your skin, not destroying it. 

If you’re looking for a complete setup for clear skin at home, try our acne-fighting starter kit. The Difference is a smarter way to treat acne. Clinically tested and dermatologically approved, elements of The Difference are formulated to work together as an Active Probiotic System to restore the skin microbiome for improved clarity and smoother, healthier skin

Wrapping Up

Clear skin is attainable when you take the right steps. Remember that skincare routines don’t have to be complicated to work. Try not to use more than three products at a time on your skin to avoid irritation and overkill.

Find products that are eco-friendly and support your skin’s microbiome. 

We hope that these tips and tricks for skincare inspire you to introduce probiotics to your routine and see what they can do for you. 



How to get clear skin: Fast, naturally, and at home ( 

13 Powerful Home Remedies for Acne ( 

12 Surprising Home Remedies for Acne ( 

Salicylic Acid vs. Benzoyl Peroxide: Which Is Better for Acne? (

Perfume Dermatitis (

Fragrances in Cosmetics (Food and Drug Administration)

The Tiny Microbeads In Soap May Pose a Big Environmental Problem (

Share Article