If there were a Murphy's Law for skin, it would be that a pimple always surfaces on your face just in time for a special occasion. Various factors can give rise to blackheads, whiteheads and pustules, including diet, cosmetics, stress, hormonal changes, inadequate rest and excessive oil. Rather than squeezing, pinching or gouging the pimple and risking a scar, remove it with moisture and pressure.
Wash and dry your hands. Then gently wash your entire face, including the area affected with a pimple, with the antibacterial cleanser using your fingertips. Allow your skin a few minutes to air dry, or blot gently with the hand towel.
Place a dab of honey or mud or clay mask on the tip of a finger. The amount should be large enough to cover the pimple. Gently pat the treatment on the pimple and leave it on until it dries, normally less than 15 minutes. Like mud or clay, honey helps draw out impurities, but it will not completely dry so leave it on for about 10 minutes.
When the treatment has dried, fold the washcloth and place a section of it under very hot running water. Squeeze out excess water and, while the wet area is still hot, press it firmly against the pimple until the cloth is barely warm. Repeat once or twice.
The treatment will begin to soften and come off on the washcloth, so rinse the cloth before applying to the pimple each time. You will notice the pimple softening and coming to more of a head because of the heat and the treatment drawing infection out. When the treatment is completely removed, place the wet, hot cloth against the pimple a final time and swipe firmly upward, downward or sideways to remove the pimple head. You may have to repeat the swipe.
The pimpled area may bleed a little once the head is removed. If so, place a fresh section of the washcloth under cool running water and press it firmly against the affected area for about a minute. That should stop the bleeding. Using the cotton ball or Q-tip, apply the toner to the blemish to cleanse and calm inflammation. Continue with your normal skincare regimen.
Things You'll Need
Antibacterial facial skin cleanser
Clean, soft washcloth
Clean, soft hand towel
Mud mask, clay mask or honey (small dab)
Cotton ball or Q-tip
A gentle bar facial cleanser made of natural ingredients may be preferable to a liquid one, since synthetic detergents that irritate sensitive skin typically are used to make a liquid cleanser retain its liquidity. Toners help remove cleanser residue that could irritate skin and lead to breakouts. Alcohol-free toners are better for any skin type because alcohol dries skin. For long-term skin health, it is better to fight acne with moisture rather than dryness. If your skin is sensitive and reacts to bleach and harsh laundry detergents, replace the washcloth with a strong but soft paper towel and allow skin to air dry rather than using a towel. Use an oil-free or non-comedogenic moisturizer to avoid adding unnecessary oil to your skin, which can cause clogging and lead to pimples. Consult a dermatologist if you have persistent or severe acne.
If the area remains red after the pimple is removed, you can camouflage it with tinted moisturizer that matches your skin tone. Be sure to use sunblock on the area to help prevent hyperpigmentation, which is darkening of the blemished skin caused by exposure to light and more common among darker-skinned people . The darkened skin may fade over time or, in some cases, never go away. Avoid using granular exfoliants on the area until it has healed completely, which may take a couple of days. Regular use of a gentle exfoliants can help prevent breakouts; try a thick one made by mixing an egg white, a tablespoon of cornmeal and a little warm water. Don't exacerbate a pimple by caking on acne medication, harshly scrubbing the area or applying toothpaste, which can irritate problem skin.
- MedicineNet.com: Acne (Pimples) FAQs
- MedicalNewsToday.com: What Are the Treatments for Pimples? How Can I Treat My Pimples?
- American Academy of Dematology: Dermatologists Shed Light on Common Pigmentation Problems and Solutions in Skin of Color
- "Bobbi Brown teenage Beauty"; Bobbi Brown and Annemarie Iverson, 2000
- "Total Skin: The Definitive Guide to Whole Skin Care for Life"; David J. Leffell, 2000
- "Natural Beauty from the Garden"; Janice Cox, 1999
- "Allure Confessions of a Beauty Editor"; Linda Wells, 2006
- "Natural Beauty: Pamper Yourself with Salon Secrets at Home"; Laura DuPriest, 2002
- "Acne RX: What Acne Really Is and How To Eliminate Its Devastating Effects"; James E. Fulton, Jr., 2001