Not that they are ever a welcome addition to our complexion, but pimples seem to have a way of popping up exactly when we want to look our best. Think: our best friend’s wedding, a vacation, a lovers’ getaway, our birthday, or date night. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to wave away a pesky pimple, but there are a few tricks to make it shrink.
First things first, if it’s not a glaring whitehead or one of those surface blackheads, DO NOT PICK. I know it’s tough — and very tempting to attack the problem area — but rest assured that picking will make the problem worse, every time.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Try setting up a time lapse video while you’re just at home working or talking to a friend. Watch it back, and be amazed at how often you touch your face — namely your chin, jaw, or forehead. It can be shocking, and a totally useless habit.
Touching our face (especially after touching our phones, laptops, or public surfaces) can be the cause of pimples in the first place — and make the ones we have much bigger. Sometimes when we feel a pimple coming on, we keep reaching up to touch the problem area and assess the status. Avoid this temptation at all costs.
To some, this may seem counterproductive — but don’t worry, we’ll get to icing next. After you’ve thoroughly cleansed, dip a washcloth in some hot water and press onto the burgeoning blemish for 3 minutes, re-dipping as necessary as the cloth cools.
Heat brings nutrient-rich blood to the surface of the skin, generating oxygen and improving circulation in the area, which helps speed up healing. Our bodies certainly know a pimple is there, but the heat will set off the alarm to get into high gear. If your pimple is on the cusp of a whitehead, this may help bring it there sooner. If you’ve got the time, persistence, or the zit of a lifetime, try a hot compress every hour, for 3 minutes each time.
After the hot compress, apply an ice cube to the area and rub gently. It’ll get a bit melty, so do this over the sink or with a hand towel nearby. Try to keep this up for 5-10 minutes to reduce the swelling and redness caused from your hot compress. Circulation will still be improved from the heat, but the cold will significantly improve the size.
Typical cortisone cream that you can find over-the-counter contains the same steroids that a dermatologist injects to get rid of a cystic pimple — just at a much lower concentration. Dab it on thickly, and let it sit for 15 minutes before either patting it into the spot or rinsing it off. Cortisone can thin the skin over time, so we don’t recommend using this frequently over a large surface area.
For Redness, Reach for Visine
This might sound crazy, but eye drops work to reduce redness by clamping down on blood vessels that have dilated due to irritation. And it works the same way for a pimple! While it won’t reduce the size, it can help prep the area for concealer.
These tricks may sound curious, but they are excellent hacks in a pinch. We love a hot compress for speeding things along — that’s a staple in our book!