How to Make a Pimple Go Away Fast
You can be doing all the right things to keep your acne under control, when, lo and behold, a zit pops up out of nowhere. And, of course, it happens right when you have a first date, big presentation, wedding, or fill-in-the-blank major event in the next 24 hours. That’s when it’s handy to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are a few things you can do at home to make your pimple go away faster and look less red in the meantime.
Ask Yourself: To Pop or Not to Pop?
When making an action plan for how to make a pimple go away, the first thing you have to decide is whether or not to pop it. We provide a step-by-step guide for that here, but the rule of thumb is: If you don’t see a white head, don’t pop it, especially if it’s a big hard pimple lurking under skin’s surface. Popping a pimple before it’s ready will only make matters worse.
On the flipside: If the white head has already reared its ugly head and the blemish is swollen, extracting the contents via careful popping can help make the pimple go away faster and jump-start the recovery process. Refer to our guide above for important tips on how to be gentle on skin while popping a pimple.
Unclog Pores and Soothe Redness
Whether or not you pop the pimple, salicylic acid (also known as BHA) is your next go-to fix for making zits disappear quickly. This superhero ingredient not only keeps blemishes at bay, it also works incredibly fast on active breakouts.
Salicylic acid’s acne-fighting power is twofold: First, it penetrates pores to dissolve oil and other breakout-causing substances, and, second, its soothing properties help minimize the redness that accompanies a blemish. It’s a win-win ingredient to help make pimples go away fast.
What About Removing Pimple Marks?
What do you do once your pimple is gone, but you’re left with an ugly red or brown mark that won’t go away? There’s a trick for that, too: Spot treat with a potent dose of vitamin C. Vitamin C is backed by mounds of research for its ability to help brighten uneven skin tone and minimize red marks. And keep using that salicylic acid exfoliant to further speed fading of pimple marks.
References for this information:
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, August 2015, pages 455–461
Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, March/April 2009, pages 74–81
Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, pages 170–176
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, January 2005, pages 171–176
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!