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10 ways to get rid of a pimple quickly

INSIDER logoINSIDER 04/12/2018 Courtney Leiva

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Dealing with humongous pimples is nothing short of challenging. However, popping your zits will do you no favors and expert dermatologists suggest that doing so will leave unwanted scarring, or can cause your pimple to look even worse. 

To successfully heal a pimple overnight, experts suggest taking preventative measures to ensure the process goes along smoothly.

Cleansing your face, moisturizing, and using the right spot treatment, for example, are all things to keep in mind if you are looking to shrink those zits.

Gallery: 10 common skin-care mistakes that you're making without realizing it (Insider)


We spoke to some board-certified dermatologists about all the ways you can speed up the process yourself.

First, make sure to cleanse

a man and a woman taking a selfie in a mirror © Skeyndor/Flickr/Generic 2.0 "Finding a great soap-free, non-irritant cleanser is going to be the most important step in healing a pimple overnight," said board-certified dermatologist Dr. Paul Dean from Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic.

Washing the area and gently exfoliating with a washcloth will remove bacteria and clean out pores.

Next, moisturize

"You'll want to apply a light oil-free moisturizer onto the skin that will moisturize without clogging pores," Dr. Dean explained. It's important to keep the skin moisturized, he added.

a person drinking from a glass © TORWAISTUDIO/Shutterstock

Look for a spot treatment with the right ingredients

"It's best to find a spot treatment that is non-abrasive and hydrating to the area, but can work fast and clear up redness and irritation," Dr. Dean suggested. Look for ingredients such as soothing green tea and dipotassium glycyrrhizate, which is a calming molecule from licorice that can help with redness.

Use spot treatments with caution

"It's OK to use a spot treatment with salicylic or Benzoyl peroxide, but keep in mind that it may make your pimple look like a scab in the morning," suggested board-certified dermatologist Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD.

If you accidentally scrape it off when washing your face, you may find yourself with a bloody mess when you are in a hurry, she said.

a man talking on a cell phone © Shutterstock

Ask your dermatologist for a corticosteroid injection

"To heal a pimple overnight, your best bet is to go see your dermatologist for a corticosteroid injection," said board-certified dermatologist Susan Bard, MD, of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists

Use at-home remedies to decrease redness and inflammation

"At-home remedies include icing the area to decrease redness and inflammation, and applying acne medication (OTC or Rx) mixed with hydrocortisone as a spot treatment," suggested Bard.

These DIY treatments are unlikely to resolve a pimple overnight but should speed up the resolution.

a man and a woman taking a selfie © Voyagerix/Shutterstock

Use polysporin or an antibiotic cream

"I usually goop up polysporin or an antibiotic cream with a little steroid cream like hydrocortisone 1% on angry pimples," Ilyas suggested. It makes them heal faster, and takes the swelling out quickly.

Mix an over-the-counter numbing cream with eye drops

"Buy some over-the-counter numbing cream with active ingredient Lidocaine (Aspercreme is an option), and mix it with a few drops of Visine eye drops," suggested board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna Guanche, MD FAAD.

The numbing effect of lidocaine will keep you from picking the spot or touching it, since you will be less aware of it throbbing or itching. The visine is also a vasoconstrictor that takes the red out, she added.

© Shutterstock

Steam your face

"If there is a head on the pimple, steam your face or take a long shower," Dr. Guanche told INSIDER. When the skin is warm and hydrated, you can gently unroof the pimple. However, Guanche advised against squeezing your pimple, or else it will look worse tomorrow.

Keep your hands off your face

"Remember to keep your hands off your face," Dr. Dean advised. Keeping your hands off your pimples will only help in lessening their appearance, he suggested. 

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