“If you are faced with an angry blemish, look for a small adhesive bandage called a hydrocolloid dressing,” says Dr. Lortscher. This is the same thing that people put on blisters to lessen the swelling. It simply absorbs the moisture from the area and calms any strain on the skin. “It can reduce a sore pimple overnight and usually takes care of the pimple in a couple of days,” Lortscher says. “In this case, the bandage absorbs pus and oil from the inflamed spot. It also creates an acidic environment to prevent bacterial growth.” So, while it won’t make your skin blemish-free overnight, it will reduce the pimple to smooth, dried-out state, allowing you to apply a dab of spot concealer to the area, and go on living your life without anyone taking notice.
What’s the best hydrocolloid dressing? Try CosRx’s Acne Pimple Master Patch.Spot treatments
It’s usually not recommended that you pop your pimple, especially when you can dry it out from the outside. This is how spot treatments work: They take an active ingredient like benzoyl, salicylic acid, or sulfur, then suck the oil from the clogged pore (and reduce inflammation in the process). You just dab the product directly onto the offended area and let it work.
Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria inside the pore, in addition to drying it out. It can stain your towels, pillowcase, and clothes, so it’s best to stick with whites if you plan to use the product and touch your face to any textiles. Ask your doctor if an OTC option is suitable for you (versus a prescription-strength one), and if so, then M.A.D. has a good 5% benzoyl spot treatment gel for the job.
Salicylic acid helps unclog pores by dissolving dead skin cells, and in a spot treatment it extracts the gunk from within the pore, too. It’s the best remedy for adult acne as well as getting rid of blackheads, but it’s a quick solution for nixing whiteheads too, without having to pop them. Clean & Clear makes one of the best salicyclic acid spot treatments.
Sulfur is similar to benzoyl peroxide in that it soaks up the gunk and calms skin in the meantime. It’s less damaging to your towels and pillowcases, too, although it does tend to dry out the skin just as much as benzoyl. (Though that’s kind of the point, since you’re only targeting the patch of skin that needs drying out.) In my opinion, the best sulfur spot treatment is Kiehl’s 10% sulfur gel has the maximum grade allowed for OTC products, and should soak up the gunk overnight most effectively. Dr. Lortscher’s favorite is Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, which contains alcohol, calamine, camphor, sulfur, resorcinol, and salicylic acid. As with any other spot treatment, apply it to a freshly cleansed face before using any other products—using a Q-tip to do so would be best, so as to not transfer any oils or germs from your finger.Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is one of the best ingredients you can get in any skincare product—especially for preventing or eliminating acne. It should be used in small doses (on its own or as an ingredient in other products), since high grades can cause redness and irritation. But even in moderation this antimicrobial ingredient is effective at neutralizing bacteria (like the ones that clog your pores and make you break out) fights irritation since it is anti-inflammatory. So, you can apply it to pimples that might have popped on their own (or that you just couldn’t resist), or even after shaving to prevent irritation.
It probably won’t be your best solution for an instant pimple-minimizing remedy, but it will prevent additional damage (like redness and scarring, in addition to preventing more pimples from forming.
You can buy tea tree oil on its own and apply it as a spot treatment to freshly washed skin (again, do not apply it to your face as you would any other facial oil). Or you can incorproate tea tree-infused products into your regimen for a more proactive approach to preventing and minimizing breakouts: I’d suggest the tea tree-infused facial wipes from The Body Shop, followed by a spot treatment with Create Cosmetic’s benzoyl peroxide and tea tree blend.How does toothpaste get rid of pimples?
People have long used toothpaste as an acne spot treatment, but why? Dr. Lortscher points out that toothpaste typically contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). “[When applied to a pimple], it appears to be safe in formulations designed for brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin,” he says. “The longer SLS is left in contact with your skin, the greater the likelihood of irritation. In products intended for prolonged contact with skin, concentrations should not exceed one percent. Individuals who tend to get clogged pores may want to avoid products containing SLS altogether.” If you can’t tell, it’s not something Lortscher readily endorses, especially since there are other proven methods out there, like actual spot treatments and hydrocolloid dressings.Dermatologist remedy for eliminating pimples: Intralesional injection
Dr. Lortscher says that, if you absolutely need to get rid of a pimple quickly, then you can see your dermatologist for an injection of a diluted cortisone medication called Kenalog, which they shoot directly into the cyst. This is just for the big, bad, throbbing kinds of pimples. It’s called an intralesional injection, though he advises that it might still take 36 hours for the sucker to fully reduce itself.Consider concealer
The worst part about a pimple is that it so prominently showcases itself to everyone you encounter, and you fixate on the fact that everyone is pitying you. It’s probably not the case, since everyone has been through this debacle, but it also might be time you invest in a concealer. I’m not suggesting you go full cover-up on your face, but if you match a good concealer to your skin tone, you can dab on a little amount over top the freshly clean, treated pimple, and pat it in to mask the fact that you’re wearing any concealer at all. (It’s in the product’s name—it hides the fact that you have a blemish, by blending everything in with your natural skin tone.) Evolution Man’s great concealer doubles as a salicylic spot treatment, so you can kill two birds—and one pimple—with the single product.