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Pimple-Shrinking Hacks That Are Actually Derm-Approved

HOW TO + TUTORIAL

Hormones, stress, food and the wrong beauty products can all contribute to adult acne. But no matter the cause, that feeling when a breakout starts to derail your confidence before a big day is, alas, nearly universal. This is the exact reason bareMinerals created the BLEMISH RESCUE makeup collection, which calms and covers while actually clearing and preventing breakouts. But what about working overnight to help the zit-banishing process? We’ve got you covered there too. Here you’ll find a few solutions — all doctor recommended! — including some that can zap a pimple while you sleep.

Sit On Your Hands

OK, not literally. But we use our hands to eat, work, play with our phones… and then we use those same hands to touch our faces?! Resisting the temptation to squeeze, pop or pick off a pimple is key because our hands are full of bacteria. Aside from spreading germs, these habits can lead to scarring and even more skin issues and breakouts. “Squeezing pimples allows bacteria to enter openings in the pores, which will cause more eruptions,” says Dr. Michelle Yagoda, Fifth Avenue facial plastic surgeon and clinical instructor at Northwell Health in New York City. Most small white heads will disappear on their own if you leave them alone (it’s just a little form of body magic). If you choose to cover them in the meantime, non-comedogenic makeup (like the full BLEMISH RESCUE line) is essential — it’s makeup that won’t clog pores or contribute to more breakouts.

Give Yourself a Facial

We’d all love to go to the spa every few weeks, but time and budgets can, um, complicate that goal. Lucky for us, many benefits of a great spa facial can be found in our own bathrooms. A DIY at-home facial is great for diminishing the appearance of pimples. “Doing a facial in the comfort of your home is as simple as these easy steps,” says Dr. Jacob D. Steiger, M.D., a facial plastic surgeon who recommends the following:

Cleanse:“Gently clean away oil, debris, residue and makeup without excessive rubbing for a thorough deep cleanse.”

Exfoliate: “Gently exfoliate dry dead skin cells, excess oils and residue for a deep clean to reveal healthier, younger-looking skin.”

Tone: “Use a toner to hydrate the skin and remove the rest of the dead skin cells.”

Apply Serum: “Use a nourishing serum to help deliver hydration and soothe and smooth the skin, restoring a natural, hydrated appearance.”

Moisturize: “Moisturizer is used to fortify the skin’s protective barrier and reduce dryness and helps repair damage to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Protect: Any spot will get darker if you go into the sun unprotected, which is just one more reason to make sunscreen a part of your routine. “Use SPF to protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays, minimizing the effect of UV damage.”

Obey the Doctor’s Orders

If you have a few days before your presentation/wedding/other event where you want your skin on point, you may want to see your dermatologist for personalized suggestions for your skin. “Glycolic Acid solutions that are non-neutralized (pH closed to 2.0) prevent and treat any acne that even thinks about rearing its ugly head. This can be used twice daily on active acne, and nightly as a preventative treatment,” suggests Dr. Yagoda, who also recommends dabbing on Witch Hazel as this astringent can help reduce bacteria and remove oil. It’s also worth applying Tea Tree Oil, nature’s antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory solution. Just mix one teaspoon of the oil with nine teaspoons of water. This will dilute the solution, which you can swab on with cotton to treat your breakout.

Look in Your Pantry

You don’t have to visit the pharmacy for products that will help with zapping those pimples. Whether it’s late at night or you’re just in a pinch, you likely have a solution in your own pantry or even in that urban garden on your window sill.

Green Tea is anti-inflammatory, making (cool!) wet tea bags a great treatment choice according to Dr. Debra Jaliman, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Just leave them on for 15 minutes to help reduce inflammation.  Honey and toothpaste are also great, but they shouldn’t be left on overnight. Just use them as spot treatments, rinse and move on with your day. 

Green thumb? That aloe plant in your kitchen (or even that store-bought aloe vera gel left over from summer) is another anti-inflammatory. If you use gel, “just make certain to choose one that’s unscented,” says Dr. Jaliman. You’ll want to leave aloe on overnight for best results, and the treatment will not only reduce the pimples (and inflammation) but is super soothing as well.

Pro Tip

While all these solutions may work, don’t try all of them at the same time! Less is more and if you try many at once, you may irritate your skin — and not know the cause.