8 Tricks for Getting Rid of Pimples (Almost) Overnight
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).
1. Cortisone Injections
If you wake up the day of prom with a big honking zit, your doc may be able to help. If you can swing it, your best bet is to head to the dermatologist. “There is an almost immediate fix, and that’s an injection with a dilute strength of cortisone done by your dermatologist,” says Dr. Robin Evans, a dermatologist at SoCo Dermatology in Connecticut. “It’s quick and easy, with minimal discomfort, and it usually goes down within a day.” This isn’t an easy or cheap option, obvi, but when it’s an emergency — like, you have a huge whitehead on the tip of your nose the day before senior portraits — it might be worth it.
2. Hydrocortisone Cream
Since you can’t run to your doc every time you get a zit on your chin, this can be the next best thing. “If it’s red and juicy, dabbing a bit of over-the-counter hydrocortisone can take out about 80 percent of the red and make it flatter overnight — not gone the way an injection can, but pretty darn close,” says Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York City. Use a teensy bit right on the zit at night, and again the next morning. Just don’t use it on the regs, because using too much hydrocortisone can thin the skin and lead to more breakouts.
3. Spot Treatments
You’ve probably seen these emergency zit treatments at the drugstore — usually an extra-strong solution of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. And yep, they can actually do the trick. “Spot treatments can definitely be effective — they help to reduce inflammation and dry up the pimple,” says Dr. Evans. Just keep in mind they’re not meant to be used on your whole face, just the zit itself. And if you’re on any prescription meds for acne, talk to your doctor before using a spot treatment.
4. Crushed Aspirin
Sounds weird, we know, but this can actually help. We won’t get too deep into the chemistry, but aspirin is a derivative of salicylic acid, and it can soothe an angry zit just like it soothes a headache. “Crushed aspirin is anti-inflammatory,” Dr. Evans says.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil gets cred for clearing up all sorts of skin stuff — like insect bites, athlete’s foot, and minor burns — and it can help zap pimples, too. Just dab some on a cotton swab and apply it directly to the zit. “Dilute it at first, because some people are too sensitive to use it straight up,” Dr. Bowe cautions.
6. Skip the Toothpaste
Okay, disclaimer: A lot of people swear by this remedy, and it’s hella easy (who doesn’t have toothpaste lying around?!). But it’s hard to predict how your skin will react to your fave brand of toothpaste. “Toothpastes may contain ingredients and fragrances that can irritate and damage the skin,” Dr. Bowe says. If you must try this, make sure you do a patch test somewhere first, especially if you have sensitive skin.
7. Keep Your Hands Off
If you need the zit gone, like, right now, you may be tempted to pop it — but you could end up with an oozy red mess now and scarring later. “Picking will make any pimple take longer to heal,” Dr. Evans says. It can also lead to infection, so even if it seems like it’s just begging to be squeezed, leave it alone and cover it up with makeup instead.
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