The Pure life

Do These Popular Acne Clearing Methods Work?

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If you’re currently experiencing acne, you’ll likely have considered or tried all of the conventional acne clearing methods.

It’s a common experience shared by so many acne sufferers. First you may go on the Pill, then try a whole slew of topical products, expensive skincare, then systemic antibiotics and harsh oral acne medications. Why is it such a common experience for acne sufferers to have tried all of these methods? Because their acne almost always comes back.

So the answer to the question, ‘do acne clearing methods work?’ is yes, they can work. However, they almost never work permanently because of one key concern that they fail to address; the root cause.

Do Popular Acne Clearing Methods Work? The Methods

Here’s the perspective of a Holistic Nutritionist and Acne Coach on some of the most popular acne clearing methods:


If you want to know the ins and outs of Accutane, I’ve got an entire blog post here. Here’s the summary of why it’s not all it’s cracked up to be:

  • It does not address the root cause of acne so there is potential for the acne to return.
  • Accutane can be harmful to the liver – which is important for literally hundreds of bodily functions that keep us alive and healthy but also relates to skin health. How? It is a key detoxification organ responsible for metabolizing and removing hormones, toxins etc. that are no longer needed in the body and that can contribute to acne if they accumulate.

Wondering if there are natural alternatives to accutane? Read on.

Topical Prescriptions & Harsh Skincare Products 

These are typically the first thing people are prescribed the clear their acne. The thing is, they nearly always have to come back and try another, and another, and another… Here’s why:

  • Topical prescriptions and harsh skincare products do not address the root cause of acne.
  • These can be harmful to the skin barrier and the skin’s microbiome which are essential for healthy (and clear) skin.

Wondering if there are natural alternatives to topical acne medication? Read on.

The Birth Control Pill 

Hormonal birth control pills actually have numerous effects on the body that can either make acne worse or prevent it from clearing. Here are some of the main problems with the Pill as an acne clearing method:

  • Does not address the root cause of acne.
  • It literally halts ovulation which is essential for keeping skin calm and clear and can contribute to hormonal imbalances long-term if not addressed properly post-pill.
  • The Pill is associated with numerous nutrient deficiencies including nutrients that are important for clear skin like zinc and Vitamin C.
  • The Pill pumps artificial estrogen through our body, which our microbiome is responsible for metabolizing. When our microbiome is overworked, this can cause depletion and inflammation issues.

Wondering if there are natural alternatives to the Pill? Have a chat with your doctor to discuss your options!

Are you noticing a theme…? Hint hint: these methods do not address the root cause of your acne.

Do Popular Acne Clearing Methods Work? Sisley’s Holistic Alternatives

Addressing The Root Cause

So, what exactly is a ‘root cause’? In short, the root cause refers to the deepest cause of a problem. For example: Let’s say you build a house on sinking ground. Your foundation will be weak, so the house will not sit right and things will continue to fall apart in the construction of the house. You can keep building on a bad foundation and fixing things as they break, but ultimately you will never have a structurally sound house until you build on solid ground.

Acne is the same. Let’s say your root cause is a blood sugar imbalance. You can keep using topical creams and systemic antibiotics, but if you do not address the blood sugar imbalance you will continue to experience spikes in cortisol, which lead to increased sebum production, which leads to clogged pores and breakouts. Addressing the root cause creates a trickle down effect that ultimately eliminates the symptom of acne. Remember, acne is a symptom of an underlying condition. In order to clear your acne, it is crucial to address the root cause.

Common Root Causes of Acne

When it comes to acne, there could be many root causes and it’s not uncommon to have more than one too. That’s why it’s important to work with a practitioner who understands the potential many root causes of acne and how to address them. You deserve the best! Here are the most common root causes of acne:

  1. Hormonal imbalances such as progesterone deficiency, estrogen dominance or high testosterone (these often work synergistically)
  2. High cortisol
  3. Blood sugar imbalances
  4. Digestive issues
  5. Poor gut health
  6. Inflammation

When working 1:1 with me, we then work to figure out why you’re experiencing this root cause issue by taking a deeper dive into your health and medical history.

Do Popular Acne Clearing Methods Work? Using Holistic Nutrition to Address the Root Cause of Acne

Addressing the Root Cause with Diet & Supplementation


One of the main reasons diet is such an effective tool in clearing acne is that you can address nearly all of the common root causes. Which is pretty amazing when you think about it! You can address inflammation by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Poor gut health can be addressed by repairing the diet and focusing on nourishing, probiotic and prebiotic rich foods. Hormonal imbalances like progesterone deficiency, estrogen dominance and high cortisol can be addressed through focusing on getting specific nutrients through food, improving elimination and balancing blood sugar (among many other things specific to each situation) and high androgens can be targeted through certain foods and herbs.

Overall, the best approach is to focus on anti-inflammtory, nourishing and naturally detoxing foods and then adding in other foods based on your specific imbalances. What do those foods look like? Great question! Think whole foods in their natural form and organic when possible; lots of colourful veggies and fruit, plant based proteins like beans and lentils, nuts and seeds for anti-inflammatory hormone loving fats, organic quality animal proteins, etc.


Supplementation comes in to fill the gaps that can be difficult to fill through nutrition, especially when we’re talking about serious deficiencies. High quality supplements can be an incredible tool for addressing nutrient deficiencies and can also be used to reduce inflammation and address hormonal imbalances. While we can’t dive into every single supplement in this blog post, here are some cool examples of using supplements to address the root causes of acne.

Complimentary Tools for Clearing Acne


While conventional methods for clearing acne may look at topical skin products or skincare as the main way to clear acne, the holistic approach views skincare as complimentary – because we are addressing the root cause through diet and supplementation.

Skincare is definitely an important tool in clearing your acne. But it’s not about turning your skin into the Sahara desert so no oil could possibly be present to cause pimples, or using the harshest products on the market. It’s actually important to create a healthy environment for the skin’s natural barrier and skin microbiome. This promotes healthy skin that is able to fight acne, clear out clogged pores and even out skin texture and colour.

We work together to create a skincare regimen that is gentle and nourishing for the skin. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, I’ve created an entire skincare protocol to align with natural acne clearing methods in my guide The Acne Protocol.


Let’s be honest, acne is such a tough thing to experience because of the emotional toll it takes. That’s why mindset is such an important support tool in your acne clearing journey. Taking the time to be aware of your mindset and be intentional about how you manage it will help you stay motivated and get through the toughest of days. We’ve covered all the juicy mindset tips in this blog post, head on over there for the details!

How to Clear Your Acne

Want to know exactly what supplements, foods, skincare and lifestyle tips I recommend for clearing acne? I’ve created an entire in-depth protocol that have helped hundreds of women clear their acne.

Get your copy now to start your clear skin journey.