Everyone has most likely experienced getting a pimple; it’s practically a rite of passage into teenage-dom that, unfortunately, can carry over well into adulthood. Some pimples go away on their own after a couple of days, especially if the inflammation isn’t as severe. However, if you’re quite bothered by that big, red (not to mention painful) bump on your face that seems to be calling everyone’s attention, there are a few things you can do to speed up the healing process and stop that pimple from getting worse.
Don’t Touch It
It’s tempting to poke and squeeze and pick on your acne to make it go away, but this is a bad idea. Even if you wash your hands as often as you could, there’s still the possibility of transferring bacteria and other substances to your skin which can aggravate the condition. The pimple-causing bacteria can also be transferred to other parts of your face, which may cause even more pimples to develop. Picking and squeezing also causes skin trauma, making the acne more likely to scar and take longer to heal on its own.
Continue With Your Regular Face Care Routine
Removing the oil, sweat, dirt, and other impurities from your face goes a long way to prevent your breakouts from getting worse. Wash and exfoliate your face as per usual — just be careful not to rub too much on the spot while you cleanse to avoid irritation. Finally, don’t forget to moisturize! It may seem a little counterintuitive, but dry skin can actually be as prone to develop acne as oily skin. In fact, dry skin has microscopic cracks that can serve as an entry point for pimple-causing bacteria to get through.
Use Pimple Patches
To give the pimple an extra layer of protection against secondary infections and other external elements that can make it worse, you can use pimple patches. COSRX has hydrocolloid patches that prevent pimples from swelling further and absorb excess sebum to speed up the healing process. If you want, you can also leave the patch overnight, which also helps protect the pimple from rubbing against your sheets or pillows. Make sure to apply pimple patches after a thorough cleansing to achieve maximum effect.
Spot-Treat it with Salicylic Acid
For more stubborn pimples, you can use a spot treatment. There are many over-the-counter medications that can help speed up the healing of a pimple — salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and 1% hydrocortisone work the best. You can even combine these three ingredients to address several factors at once: excess oil (salicylic acid), bacteria (benzoyl peroxide), and inflammation (hydrocortisone). Follow it up with a light, non-comedogenic moisturizer especially if you have dry skin, since benzoyl peroxide can cause a bit of dryness.
Lighten Up the Makeup
Makeup can indeed hide your pimples for a short while, but it may actually be a good idea to lay off makeup for a couple of days to give your skin a break and let it breathe. If you must wear makeup, choose mineral, non-comedogenic products. You might also want to skip a few steps — like a blush or bronzer — where the pimple is located and instead play up your eyes or lips for impact.
If your pimples keep getting worse or take longer than a week to heal (excluding the time that the dark spot takes to fade), it may be best to consult with your dermatologist. It’s possible that you need to adjust your skin care routine, or you need medications to help hasten the process. Your dermatologist can also give you a cortisone shot if you really need to get rid of that zit, ASAP.
Lastly, you should also be mindful of your diet. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish like salmon and nuts like walnuts), and probiotics. These are healthy foods that you should already be eating, anyway, but they also come with the added bonus of anti-inflammatory properties.