Pimples seem to pop up out of nowhere, so it’s ridic unfair that they take foreveerrrrr to go away. The good news is, even though you can’t make a zit magically disappear overnight, there are a few things you can do to make it way less angry and puffy by morning. Here are a few you can try when you have an ill-timed zit (which, let’s be real, is pretty much every zit).
One quick note… When it comes to your skin, more is definitely NOT more. In other words, trying all of these remedies at once won’t boost your chances of making the zit disappear — more likely, it’ll just wreak havoc on your skin and turn a teeny-tiny pimple into a red, blotchy mess. And before you try any of these remedies on your face, test them somewhere else on your skin to make sure you don’t have a reaction — if something’s going to make you rashy, you want to know that before you dab it on the middle of your forehead.
Wash up. In order to clear up acne, you need to start by giving your face a nice wash. Acne consists of bacteria that have invaded your pores, and the first step is to fight back with a gentle, but effective acne wash.
- Some people use a washcloth when washing their face, but hands are just as effective, if not less irritating. Take the directed amount of acne wash, mix it with warm water, and gently rub it into your face in a circular motion.
Exfoliate your skin. Get into the habit of exfoliating with an acne scrub every week, literally every week. Exfoliating means gently wiping away the top layer of dead skin cells that accumulate on the epidermis, clearing the way for a nice new layer of vibrant, acne-free skin. When you wash your face with a gentle exfoliant, take care not to rub too hard.
Rinse well. Get some cool water going and rinse your face well, gently scrubbing as you do.
- Where warm water opens your pores and allows the acne wash to properly clean the pores, cold water constricts the blood vessels and causes the pores, and surrounding skin, to tighten.
Use astringents on the affected areas. Astringents are agents that cause the skin to contract or get smaller. Some commercial acne treatments use a variety of antibacterial, antimicrobial, and astringent compounds to fight acne and clean the skin. Whatever you plan on using to clean up your skin, astringents are the quickest and most effective way of doing so if you’ve got a limited amount of time.
Try some benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is used to kill the bacteria that contribute to acne. Benzoyl peroxide comes in different concentrations, but benzoyl peroxide with a 2.5% concentration is just as effective as 5-10% solutions, and it’s less irritating to the skin to boot. Benzoyl peroxide also helps peel away layers of dead skin, leaving brighter, more rejuvenated skin in its place.
Use salicylic acid. Like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid kills bacteria responsible for pimple growth. It also causes skin cells to shed more rapidly, promoting the growth of new skin. Put small amounts of salicylic acid onto affected areas before you go asleep, after you have washed your face.
Using Home Remedies
Apply ice cubes to the inflamed acne. Rub an ice cube over the acne on your face until the area goes numb. When your face goes numb, stop. Leave your face alone until it’s warm again.
Ice will help diminish the size of the pores by constricting the blood vessels underneath the skin. If your acne is painful, it should also help ease the pain.
Try tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an antibacterial essential oil that can blast the microbes that have started to make a home inside of your pores. With a dropper, dab a Q-Tip with a bit of tea tree oil and apply to pimples as needed, being careful not to put on too much.
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can make the redness and size of the pimple less noticeable.
- If you have a lot of acne, work in sections. When one section goes numb, move to the next section.
- This is the only proven “home” remedy of reducing the size and the amount of acne. Other methods of shrinking acne have limited or unverified track records or success.
Crush up some aspirin. Crush up an aspirin tablet and add just enough water to make it into a paste. With a Q-Tip, add the aspirin paste to the pimple(s) lightly, covering entirely. Let dry. Aspirin is another anti-inflammatory, meaning it will help the skin fight against inflammation, making the pimple less visible. Let the aspirin paste fight the pimple overnight.
Try toothpaste: Toothpaste contains silica, which is the drying agent you find in bags of beef jerky, among other things. Theoretically, toothpaste can help to dry out your pimple overnight, reducing it in size, though it’s not an effective way of cleaning your skin.
Make sure to use natural toothpaste when you dab it onto your skin. Some toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate can irritate the skin. Watch out for it before applying