How to Get the Redness Out of a Pimple

Clearing away acne takes time, but you can reduce the redness so that a newly erupted blemish isn't quite so noticeable. The key to taking care of a blemish in the short term is to do so in a way that doesn't spread the bacteria inside the pimple to other locations on your face where they can take root. Because pimples are actually a form of infection, however, you'll also need to think ahead. Take measures to treat the underlying problem to prevent more unsightly bumps from popping up over the next few days and weeks.

Young woman washing her face in an mirror. (Image: TopPhotoImages/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash your face thoroughly with a mild, water-based cleanser. Avoid scrubbing your face; instead, wash by rubbing the cleanser on clean fingertips and making gentle circles on your face. Pat dry with a clean washcloth.

Step 2

Place an ice cube directly against the blemish for 10 to 15 seconds to constrict the blood vessels and reduce the swelling that causes redness. Alternately, dip a cotton ball in a small amount of redness-reducing eye drops, and press it directly against the red pimple for immediate redness reduction.

Step 3

Destroy bacteria that cause pimples while also reducing redness and inflammation by applying a solution of 5-percent tea-tree oil. A 1990 study in the "Medical Journal of Australia" found that tea-tree oil is as effective as benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in acne medication, as a treatment for acne inflammation. You can make a tea-tree oil solution yourself by mixing the essential oil into aloe vera gel, almond oil or water.

Step 4

Use an over-the-counter product containing benzoyl peroxide as an alternative to a solution made with tea-tree oil. Talk to your dermatologist about which concentration is appropriate for you, since benzoyl peroxide comes in strengths of 2.5, 5 and 10 percent, and different strengths may be appropriate for different people. Benzoyl peroxide usually has more side effects than tea-tree oil, so some people choose to try it only if other methods don't help.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean washcloth

  • Water-based cleanser

  • Ice cube

  • Cotton balls

  • Redness-reducing eye drops

  • Tea-tree oil

  • Benzoyl peroxide


If some redness remains after trying these techniques, use a green-tinted concealer to cover up any remaining redness. If you have acne all over your face or if you encounter frequent outbreaks, talk to a dermatologist about topical solutions or oral antibiotics that can reduce the occurrence of acne.

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