How to Make a Pimple Disappear Quickly
8 Expert Tips to Get Rid of a Zit Fast
Whether you feel it coming on, or it’s already staked its claim, licensed esthetician and acne specialist Danielle Ferri has a tried and true method for reducing and eliminating a breakout quickly:
1. Hold an ice cube to the area for about two minutes. Move the ice in gentle circles around the pimple.
2. Dry the area gently with a clean towel or swab and apply an acne treatment of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid until absorbed. If the area is red, Ferri recommends reaching for the salicylic acid.
3. Apply a thick layer of any clay facemask directly to the pimple area. If you’re looking for a new go-to clay mask, she recommends Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask. Wash the clay mask off 15 to 20 minutes later.
4. You’ll see a significant reduction by morning, but you can continue this routine every morning and night until the blemish goes away, stopping the clay mask once the breakout begins to dry up, but continuing the ice.
Essential Oil Treatment
For a natural approach, certified holistic health coach Heather Vargas recommends dabbing the blemish and the surrounding area with tea tree oil or lavender essential oil. Tea tree oil can be a great alternative to harsher topical acne treatments if you have sensitive skin or prefer to use natural products. While research has shown that it does not work as fast to reduce acne as benzoyl peroxide does, it also has fewer side effects than its chemical counterpart.
Another alternative option to try in place of the suggestions above is applying aspirin to your skin, which may help reduce the appearance of your pimple.
Take an uncoated aspirin and place it onto a clean cotton ball soaked with water, which will work to dissolve the aspirin into a paste. Apply the aspirin paste on the cotton ball to the affected area and leave on for no more than five minutes. Rinse and gently pat dry.
The reason why aspirin works to reduce the appearance of breakouts is because aspirin contains salicylic acid—the same ingredient in many of your acne treatments. Its properties clean your pores, exfoliate the area and remove the dead skin cells the breakout may be clogged with.
Don’t Pop It
You know you shouldn’t, but do you know why? “Popping zits is one of the most common causes of facial scarring,” explains Dr. Charles Bollman, M.D., ob/gyn and cosmetic skin care expert. Not only are you causing trauma to the skin by pressing and pinching the area, but you’re also introducing more bacteria and germs to your pores which will likely result in future breakouts, hyperpigmentation (aka scarring) of your skin, and may even cause infection.
If you simply couldn’t resist, though, and now have a big ol’ red welt left behind from a messy pop job, read here for how to manage the redness and irritation left after popping a pimple. (And if you have scars left behind from previous breakouts, check out some of the ways you can fade acne scars.)
But If You Do, Pop With Caution
Again, avoid popping your pimples. We want to stress that. But, if you refuse to let it go unpopped and manage the pimple as suggested above, then at least pop it using as much caution as possible so as to minimize damage to your skin and prevent making an even bigger mess. Here’s Ferri’s go to method:
1. Shower or wash your face and hands thoroughly (Remember it’s the 20 second rule to clean away germs).
2. First test it. If you put a small amount of pressure on the blemish and nothing happens, it’s not ready and you absolutely must leave it alone.
3. Take toilet tissue around two fingers and press gently starting a little away from the sides of the pimple. Press down, then up a little to expel the material.
4. Repeat until all material is expressed, but stop the second you see any blood.
5. Rinse your face with clean water and apply a benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid treatment to the area. Once absorbed, apply a clay mask.
6. Get your beauty rest and rinse the mask off in the morning.
Word of caution: If your breakout is an “undergrounder” as Ferri calls it—it’s red and painful without a whitehead—you must not attempt to pop it. “This is only inflammation, there’s nothing inside except oil,” explains Ferri. “If you try to extract it, it will grow and get much worse.” Instead, apply ice to it, and follow Ferri’s step-by-step treatment instructions listed above to make it go away quickly.
Moderation is Key
Sure, you may be tempted to force feed your skin with acne treatments to remedy a breakout, but you must resist. Stick to twice a day applications, or at absolute most four times, spaced throughout your day, but no more. Overdoing it will result in irritated, dry blistery skin that often looks worse—and lasts longer—than the original pimple.
Be gentle in your face washing too—no need to heavily scrub or exfoliate the area as this will likely just cause more irritation and spawn even more breakouts.
If you have the time and opportunity, and the pimple has cropped up before a massively important event, you may want to consider visiting your dermatologist for a cortisone injection. These injections can erase pimples in 24 hours or less.
Cortisone is a steroid that quickly reduces inflammation. Although cortisone injections are successful at quickly flattening a pesky breakout, they may result in changes in skin color and appearance of blood vessels on the skin surface. Because of this, it’s best to have your dermatologist evaluate you and trust their ultimate recommendations on how to proceed.
If all else fails and your breakout refuses to leave in time for you to publicly show your pretty face, fake a clear complexion with makeup.
After applying foundation as usual, choose two concealers; one should match your skin tone exactly, the other should be a shade or two lighter. Using the lighter concealer, trace under the pimple. The goal of this is to give the illusion that the pimple is more flat than it actually is.
Next, use a clean finger to dab the skin colored concealer to the area you did not lighten. Finish with a layer of powder to seal in the concealer. Remember not to apply too much makeup or you’ll actually attract attention to the area rather than camouflaging it.
Read here for more tips on choosing makeup for acne prone skin.
References: Mayo Clinic (Aug. 1, 2012). Acne Treatments: Medical procedures may help clear skin. Retrieved from: mayoclinic.com/health/acne-treatments/SN00038. Anahad O’Connor (Jan. 27, 2011). Remedies: Tea Tree Oil for Acne The New York Times Retrieved from: well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/remedies-tea-tree-oil-for-acne
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