Exactly How a Dermal Therapist Would Get Rid Of a Pimple ASAP

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It's a universal truth that on the morning of a big day or a special event, it's highly likely you'll wake up with a massive pimple.

Why do pimples decide to wait until you have something on to make their debut? I'm a dermal therapist, but honestly, who knows. They just do.

Perhaps it’s stress? Or maybe being so busy in the lead up to an event means you neglected your skin? Or maybe you've been doing All The Right Things and you got a blemish anyway.

Regardless, it sucks. But while we might not have control over when pimples form (you can bet it'll usually be when you really don't want or need them to, though), you can control how you go about treating them.

So, if you've got a pimple and you need it gone ASAP, here's exactly how I would go about it.

How to Get Rid Of Pimples Fast.

Listen closely now, because getting rid of a pimple fast is a delicate operation that can go from 'I can hardly see it' to 'visible infection' with just a few wrong moves.

Blindly attacking your face is not the way to go. Especially if you want to minimise acne scarring and pigmentation, and decrease the chances of it sticking around for longer.

First, you need to determine the type of pimple you have. There are actually six different types of pimples, but the most common breakouts are usually either a cyst or a pustule.

Pustules = infections. They're those red bumps on your skin that generally tend to come to a head with white pus. You might also know them as a 'whitehead'.

Cysts, on the other hand, don’t ever come to a head. They're those hard, painful, deep pimples commonly referred to as 'blind pimples'. There’s actually no way to pop a cyst so don't even try because, honestly, you will only make things worse.

You can learn more about how to avoid acne scarring (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) from a dermatologist in this YouTube video below.

The second thing is to manage expectations. The type of pimple you have will determine how quickly you can minimise its appearance.

It might not be realistic to expect to be able to erase your pimple's existence from the earth, but we can absolutely improve the appearance of the area by reducing inflammation, bringing down redness and creating the best possible surface for makeup application.

For example, there's not much you can do to get rid of a cyst quickly (more on that in a bit).

How To Pop A Pimple.

If you wake up with a truly visible pustule that has a white head, you have my permission to pop it. Yes, you heard that correctly. I just gave you permission to pop a pimple.

Not every dermal therapist will recommend this, but I need to be real here because realistically, not many of us would go about our day with a whopper whitehead on our face.

Hence, I’d prefer you know how to pop it correctly by following these steps:

  • Take a hot, steamy shower and carefully cleanse the affected area with a gentle cleanser.

  • With clean hands, surround your pimple with a cotton swab (you can cover your fingertips with clean tissues too). This will stop you from pushing too hard.

  • Gently squeeze the infection out and stop when you see clear fluid or blood. Don't force it if it's not ready.

  • Apply a spot treatment to the affected area like Aspect Stop Spot 8ml - this non-irritating, non-drying formula contains exfoliating salicylic acid and niacinamide to help heal your skin.

If you realise your pustule isn't fully ready to pop (yet!), this is when pimple patches come in.

Pimple patches are made from hydrocolloid, a type of wound dressing, that can help reduce the appearance of pimples and speed up recovery. They work by drawing out all that pus and bringing it to the surface, but they also keep bacteria out.

And most importantly, they stop you from picking at your skin! Picking is what can cause acne scarring, so if you know you're a picker, chuck on a pimple patch ASAP.

You can either use a COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch overnight or if you're working from home/don't mind having the small clear and beige patch on.

Otherwise, a COSRX Clear Fit Master Patch will be completely clear and hardly noticeable for during the day.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master PatchesCOSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches

As for treating cysts aka blind pimples (normally found around the chin/jaw area), I do not recommend picking at cysts at all.

Your best bet for reducing their appearance is to gently apply that same salicylic acid spot treatment to the area to prevent more cysts from developing. Also, don't avoid moisturising in order to 'dry the pimple out', because this will impair your skin barrier and prevent the clogged pore from being able to heal properly.

Again, a pimple patch will help you not to pick the cyst and keep bacteria out. It might also help bring the blockage to a head so you can then follow my pimple popping instructions.

If you have time (which you likely won't) and the means, a clinical LED light therapy session can be very healing for the skin. You could also use an at-home LED tool like LightStim For Acne: LED Light Therapy if you have it handy.

You can learn more about LED devices and how they can be helpful in managing acne in this YouTube video below.

A final note: Do not stop using *sunscreen.

I know whenever clients tend to get pimples, sunscreen is one of the first skincare products they'll drop. This is because people think sunscreen will either clog their pores or make things worse.

I'm telling you, it won't. Applying sunscreen actually makes things better, especially if you’ve picked at your skin and are prone to scarring. UV exposure stimulates melanin production, which can lead to visible acne scarring, so protecting your skin is a must when you have acne.

Mineral (or physical) sunscreens like Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30 50ml that contain mineral zinc oxide filters can provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with minimum irritation to skin.

And if all else fails, conceal with a super full-coverage hydrating concealer with a thick, creamy consistency.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout is a great option because it conceals and treats blemishes at the same time thanks to skincare ingredients like kaolin clay, witch hazel, tea tree and a gentle complex of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Apply using a precise, clean makeup brush and set with a dusting of translucent powder.

You've got this. Go get 'em.

Want more content on blemishes, pimples and acne?

*SPF is only one part of sun protection! Always seek shade, and wear sunnies, a hat and protective clothing. Use sufficient sunscreen for all unprotected areas and reapply sunscreen as directed. Always read the label.

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