Have you ever broken out and wondered what the heck you’re supposed to do when you have a pimple? We’ve all been there at various points in our lives. Some more ofteh than others.
I’m an acne-prone girl, so I have a lot of practice!
First things first, don’t panic. The first thing you need to remember is…
Resist the urge to pop pimples on your own!
When you have a pimple, most people just go into attack mode. It’s tempting, I know! But trust me, you’ll only make it worse.
When not done properly, popping your own pimples can actually push bacteria and pus further down into your skin and spread bacteria to the surrounding pores on your face.
You can also easily irritate your skin and make the spot more swollen and red.
Lastly, popping your zits increases the likelihood of having to deal with scarring later.
When you have a pimple hanging out on your forehead or your nose, your best bet is to leave it alone or have a trained esthetician perform extractions for you.
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Here’s exactly what you should do when you have a pimple
Ok, so if you can’t pop those suckers you might be asking “now what?!”
I’ve got you! I put together a list of my favorite ways to deal with a pimple besides popping.
Regularly exfoliate to gently clear pores and reduce acne
Ditch the harsh walnut and apricot scrubs, as it’s easy too overexfoliiate with these and cause damage to your skin.
Instead, opt for a gentle chemical exfoliator 2-3 times a week. Chemical exfoliators work by ungluing dead skin cells from each other and increasing your skin’s turnover rate.
There are two main forms of chemical exfoliators: BHAs and AHAs.
What is the difference between BHAs and AHAs?
BHAs, like Salicylic Acid, are an amazing choice for oily and acne-prone skin.
Salicylic Acid is oil-soluble meaning it can more easily penetrate pores. This makes BHAs so effective at improving breakouts and congestion.
I love Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid because, in addition to salicylic acid, this formula also contains hydrating and soothing ingredients.
If you’re on a budget, I recommend Stridex pads (the red ones!) that can be found in drug stores. They’re equally as effective, however, they do feel more drying on my skin so it’s even more important to include hydrating products in your routine to balance this out.
AHAs, on the other hand, are especially great for dry skin types as they act as humectants (meaning they draw moisture into the skin).
Glycolic acid and Lactic acid are two of the most effective AHAs as they penetrate the skin’s surface really well.
My personal favorite AHA is KraveBeauty’s Kale-Lalu-yAHA (which uses 5% Glycolic Acid) because it’s gentle while still remaining effective.
Related: Is KraveBeauty Worth the Hype?
Use a Spot Treatment
Look for ingredients like 5% benzoyl peroxide or 2% salicylic acid. Never use a “maximum strength” spot treatment above these percentages unless prescribed by a doctor as they can be irritating.
Some of my favorite spot treatments are:
- Glossier Zit Stick (5% Benzoyl Peroxide)
- ROSEN Break-Out Spot Treatment (I’m a ROSEN affiliate – using my code LEVITATE will save you 15%!)
- Alba Botanicals Acne-Dote Invisible Acne Treatment (2% Salicylic Acid)
- And, of course, if you already have a 2% salicylic acid treatment in your routine like Stridex or Paula’s Choice 2% BHA, you can also use this as a spot treatment.
Hydrate your skin!
Avoid the temptation to dry out your skin when you have a pimple. Instead, keep your skin hydrated with hydrating toners, serums, or lightweight moisturizers.
Sometimes dehydrated skin reacts by overproducing oil and sebum which can lead to more breakouts. So it’s important to keep your skin hydrated!
That’s right – your skin can be both oily and dehydrated.
I was shocked when I learned this too – but adding more hydration to my routine has been one of the best things I’ve done for my oily and acne-prone skin. Turns out my skin was majorly dehydrated. And while hydrating it didn’t make my acne totally disappear, it significantly reduced my oiliness and I’ve gotten less extreme breakouts since then.
Some of my favorite lightweight hydrating products are:
- Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner
- Bliss Glow and Hydrate Serum
- The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid serum
- KraveBeauty Oat So Simple Water Cream
Use a pimple patch
Pimple patches, also known as hydrocolloid bandages, are helpful when placed on a closed pimple because they act as a barrier to prevent you from picking and they absorb excess oil in the spot you place them on.
But the real fun happens when you have a pimple that popped on its own (or, ok, if you caved in and popped it yourself in a moment of weakness…. It happens to the best of us). When placed on an open zit, hydrocolloid pimple patches act as a vacuum by absorbing the fluid from the wound.
They also provide a moist, sterile environment to speed up healing.
Pimple patches can be found almost anywhere nowadays. Some brands I use pretty regulary are:
- Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patches $13: These are the basic pimple patches I use most often!
- Hero Cosmetics INVISIBLE Mighty Patches $18: these are perfect for wearing out in public because you can barely see them!
- Peace Out Acne Dots $19: These pimple patches also have salicylic acid in them, making them extra effective at targeting pimples!)
What else can you do when you have a pimple? Last but not least…
While there are plenty of things that we can do to address our acne concerns, sometimes breakouts are caused by factors out of our control like genetics, hormones, and pregnancy. And that’s ok! We’re all doing our best, so don’t let it get you down if your skin doesn’t always cooperate with you.
Remember that acne or no acne, you’re beautiful. Acne is normal. And your worth isn’t determined by your skin type.