So you've got a big ol' zit. What now? Sorry to burst your bubble (heh), but you can't make a pimple totally disappear in a matter of minutes. You can, however, encourage the healing process and make your breakouts way less noticeable with the help of a few products and tricks for getting rid of acne ASAP. If you're stressing over how to get rid of a pimple in an hour or you're trying to figure out how to make a pimple less red and swollen, try one of the dermatologist-recommended zit remedies below.
How do you get rid of a pimple in an hour?
If a small red pimple (aka a papule) has just popped up before a big event and you need it gone in an hour... or, fine, right the f*ck now, your best bet is to minimize the swelling with some ice. Wrap the ice cube in a towel and hold it to the pimple for a few minutes, removing for 15-second breaks to "help bring down inflammation and reduce its size," says board-certified dermatologist Neal Schultz, MD.
How do you make a pimple less noticeable?
Heavy foundation and caked-on concealer can draw attention to your zits, as you've probably already figured out. Instead, cover the bump with a lightweight foundation or soothing BB cream and let the concealer do the work. Pinpoint the area with a tiny makeup brush, dab concealer in the center of the pimple, let it sit for a full 10 to 15 minutes (seriously, don't touch it while it dries), then gently blend and tap the edges to melt the concealer into your skin without sheering it out.
How do you make a pimple less swollen?
According to Dr. Schultz, gently holding a warm washcloth on top of the zit every hour for three minutes at a time can bring blood to the area and help the bump come to a head. "Warm compresses can reduce swelling and bring bacteria to the surface of the skin," says Dr. Schultz. After each compress, treat the zit with a dab of salicylic acid, which helps break down the oil and dead skin cells that cause clogged pores.
How do you reduce the redness of a pimple?
To make a pimple less red, break out some eye drops. Yep, the same way eye drops help take the redness out of your eyes, they also help take the redness out of pimples by constricting the blood vessels on the surface of your skin. Squeeze the drops onto a cotton round then gently press it over your pimple. To further cancel out the redness of a pimple, color-correct the area with a thin layer of green concealer before applying your foundation.
How do you make a pimple smaller overnight?
Good news! Skin is especially receptive to active ingredients at night "because this is when the skin repairs itself," says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologic surgeon in NYC. Although it might not be possible to totally get rid of a pimple overnight, take advantage of this time by treating your pimple while you sleep.
First, cleanse your skin with an acne-treating face wash, says board-certified dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, MD. If you've got irritated, inflamed skin (and if you have acne, chances are you do), stick with a gentle cleanser instead of a wash full of sulfates and strong active ingredients, unless otherwise specified by your dermatologist. Then, follow with an exfoliating pad or serum. "Your acne products will work better if they're not sitting on top of dead skin cells and face oils," she says. Finally, use a bacteria-killing benzoyl peroxide spot treatment only on the pimple (read: not all over your face).
How do you get clear skin?
A week may be enough time to eradicate a single breakout if you use a multilayered system. A few products, all in one place, are manageable for most people, and consistently applying something is half the battle, says Rebecca Kazin, MD, a derm at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery.
Still, if you're dealing with more, um, persistent acne that refuses to GTFO, don't try to treat it on your own. Just make a dermatologist appointment and get legit help from someone who devotes their entire freakin' lives to helping people get clear skin. K? K.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.