If you find yourself in this predicament often, you'll want to make an appointment to see a dermatologist, who can develop a maintenance plan to help keep your skin clear. But for an occasional breakout, there's an effective way to tame it at home.
The best way to make a zit go away fast is to apply a dab of benzoyl peroxide, which you can buy at a drug store in cream, gel or patch form, says Shilpi Khetarpal, MD. It works by killing bacteria that clogs pores and causes inflammation. You can buy it in concentrations ranging from 2.5% to 10%.
It's inexpensive, it's been around for many years and it's very effective, Dr. Khetarpal says. But there's one caveat: If you keep using it over and over again on the same spot, it may dry out or irritate your skin. So if your skin is sensitive, choose a product with a lower concentration of benzoyl peroxide.
What NOT to do to get rid of a pimple
You can watch pimple popping videos on the internet to your heart's content, but Dr. Khetarpal recommends against trying it in real life. Any manipulation of a pimple can lead to more inflammation, which can increase the risk of scarring, she explains. And your hands are dirty, so you're going to introduce more bacteria and potentially make it worse. Your best bet is to spot treat the pimple with benzoyl peroxide and then leave it alone.
Wearing makeup and covering it up is not a problem, but don't poke or pick or squeeze it, Dr. Khetarpal suggests. It will resolve on its own.
In a pinch, will these DIY remedies work?
An internet search turns up many quick-fixes for pimples. Here's Dr. Khetarpal's take on some of the most common ones. So, while there are several things in your medicine cabinet that could work in a pinch, it might be worth investing in a benzoyl peroxide-containing product to have on hand for skin care emergencies.