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Tips + Advice

5 Things to Do When You Have a Pimple

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.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a product through these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that goes toward the costs of running Levitate Beauty. You can read my full disclaimer here.

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.

So you've got a stubborn zit. Don't panic! Here's exactly what to do when you have a pimple (and no, it doesn't involve popping your zits!). Here's how to handle breakout the right way.

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.

KraveBeauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA is gentle AHA glycolic acid toner. Its perfect for acid beginners and people looking to reduce acne and brighten skin tone

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.

Glossier Zit Stick is a great spot treatment to use when you have a pimple. It uses 5% benzoyl peroxide to address zits.

Some of my favorite spot treatments are:

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:

Use a pimple patch

Hydrocolloid bandages are a great way to protect an open wound when you have a pimple.

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.

Related: 6 Tips to Stop Touching Your Face So Much

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:

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.

Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Instagram and TikTok @Levitate.Beauty for daily skincare updates and reviews! 

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