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How to Get Rid of Redness & Swelling in Pimples

by 
author image Sarah Pflugradt, MS, RDN
Sarah Pflugradt is a registered dietitian nutritionist, writer, blogger, recipe developer, and college instructor. Sarah has experience in clinical nutrition, outpatient nutrition counseling, and WIC Overseas. Sarah has authored many nutrition and wellness articles online and in-print, and has been quoted in digital publications and websites as a nutrition expert. Sarah is the creator and author of Salubrious RD, a food blog dedicated to healthy recipes for individuals and families.
How to Get Rid of Redness & Swelling in Pimples
—Dealing with pimples is not fun - but it can be done. Photo Credit: Hiraman/iStock/GettyImages

Acne can be frustrating, worrisome, and may even take a toll on your self-esteem, but rest assured, most people struggle with acne at some point in their life. In fact, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, with 85 percent of individuals ages 12 to 24 experiencing some type of acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

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There are many causes for acne and most often, they are beyond your control. For red and swollen pimples, there are some solutions that you can use to get you feeling good again. Properly treating a red and swollen pimple that appears under the skin will help ensure your skin stays healthy.

Why Are You Getting Pimples?

During certain times of your life, the skin on your face, chest, back, and shoulders produces more oil in your sebaceous glands. Pimples develop when dead skin cells build up on facial pores, the oil cannot escape, and it becomes inflamed according to Informed Health Online. The inflammation in your pimples is what causes them to be red and swollen, often resulting in a painful bump. Take solace in the fact that pimples often have nothing to do with your cleanliness.

Read More: How to Get the Redness Out of a Pimple

How to Reduce Pimple Redness

The AAD has multiple suggestions on how to treat painful pimples. Using one or more of the following to treat your skin is the recommended therapy.

Start with Clean Skin

Always wash your face first before doing anything else. A mild, gentle cleanser is best. Skin should be washed twice a day with warm water. Avoid scrubbing the skin, as this could cause more irritation and redness. When applying facial products, ensure they are not oil-based and noncomedogenic.

Cold to Reduce Swelling

A swollen pimple may benefit from a little cold treatment. Ice is a classic remedy to reduce swelling and inflammation. Wrap an ice pack or an ice cube in a clean light towel and apply to the skin for 5 minutes at a time. Never apply the cold or ice directly to the skin, always have a soft barrier.

Benzoyl Peroxide

An over the counter cream that contains 2 percent benzoyl peroxide can help destroy the bacteria in the skin that may be causing the red and swollen pimple. Dermatologists recommend using a small amount, more is not always better.

Time

It is only natural to want to get rid of redness and swelling in your pimples fast, but try your hardest to practice patience when treating your acne. While it may seem that pimples appear overnight, it takes time for them to develop and it will take time for them to go away. Work on decreasing the visible redness and swelling first, even if the pimple is still present.

Dermatologist

For persistent swollen pimples, redness, and cystic acne, visiting a dermatologist can help you get your acne under control. A dermatologist can help direct you with an effective treatment plan when other methods have failed. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a clinical examination may be able to identify or rule out any other underlying conditions, such as abnormal hormone levels.

Precautions

Be cautious of alternative treatments, warns the AAD. Do not apply toothpaste to a pimple for any reason. The ingredients in toothpaste could introduce more bacteria and make the pimple worse. They also warn of homemade remedies to treat acne. If you are wanting a more natural solution to red and swollen pimples, speak with a dermatologist who will be able to provide you with options that have proven reliability.

To date, there doesn't seem to be a clear link to diet and acne, according to 2016 research published in Advances in Dermatology and Allergology. While some people may have sensitivities to certain foods that can affect their skin, eating foods does not seem to cause or treat acne.

Read More: Vitamin C for Cystic Acne

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