This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


How Long Does It Take for a Breakout to Go Away?

Most dermatologists would recommend you to apply any ointment or cream for a month before deciding to persist or switch to other treatment options. When you stop a particular acne breakout treatment in between, it undoes all the good work and the next treatment option needs to start from the beginning. A common infection can be treated quickly but an inflammation takes a significant time to get things back to normal. Unfortunately, acne breakout is not an infection but an inflammation triggered by clogging of pores and bacterial infection. Thus, treating acne breakout is gradual process that includes managing the inflammation, avoiding the infection to spread and unplugging the clogged skin pores of follicles.

How Long Does It Take for a Breakout to Go Away?

How Long Does It Take for a Breakout to Go Away?

Acne Breakout can spread quickly once they start to occur on your face or any other part of the body. However, the treatment of acne Breakout requires time. You cannot treat acne breakout overnight or even in a matter of few days. Complete removal of acne breakout from the skin can take anywhere between 6 weeks to 12 weeks, depending the severity, location and the medications that you are taking to treat acne breakout. Most people expect the acne treatment to start working in just couple of days or a week and when it does not happen, they switch to different treatment option. This is a common mistake that most patients do and it can make the situation worse. You need to give any medication at least a time of one month before concluding that it is not making your acne better.

Regularity is an important factor when you are looking to get rid of acne breakout. Sticking to a single medication would not work to its potential unless you apply or use it regularly strictly as prescribed by the doctor. If you are using any medication that you have obtained over the counter, you must carefully read the instructions of the label about the dosage and usage. Do not try to overdo things as it can make the acne worse. For instance, if the instructions say that you need to apply a cream or ointment twice a day; you can easily end up making your skin dry and scratchy by applying it more frequently. At the same time, it is important that you do not miss the treatment often. For instance, salicylic acid needs to be applied every morning for the best results. If you are going to apply on alternate days, it will take longer to treat acne breakout.

A Severe Breakout Takes Longer to Treat

When you are looking to treat acne breakout, it is important to understand that there are three types acne breakout depending on the severity of the bumps. The acne breakout is classified into mild, severe and cystic acne. Blackheads and whiteheads are the mild forms of acne breakout that can be treated in a less than a month. It does not involve any type of pus formation inside the bumps and treating them is easier and quicker. On the other hand, pustules and papules are the severe forms of acne with big bigger bumps filled with pus. They are harder to treat as the pus keeps spreading the infection to make them last longer.

Simple acne breakout treatment options that are available over the counter may not work effectively against severe acne breakout. You would need to see your doctor or a good dermatologist to obtain the right treatment for pustules and papules. The most severe forms of acne breakout are the cystic acne. It may even require a surgical treatment in few cases. Thus, the severity of acne is another major factor that dictates the time it would take the breakouts to go away completely.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Acne: Diagnosis and treatment.” AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne#treatment
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Acne: Diagnosis and treatment.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20368048
  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Acne: Overview.” AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne#treatment
  4. Verywell Health. “How Long Does It Take for Acne Treatment to Work?” Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-long-does-it-take-for-acne-treatment-to-work-15802
  5. American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Acne: Tips for managing.” AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne#tips
  6. American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Acne: Who gets and causes.” AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne#causes
  7. Mayo Clinic. “Acne: Symptoms and causes.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/symptoms-causes/syc-20368047
  8. Medical News Today. “How long does it take for acne to go away?” MNT. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323453
  9. WebMD. “Cystic Acne.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cystic-acne#1
  10. American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Acne: Tips for managing.” AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne#tips

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 14, 2023

Recent Posts

Related Posts