Put an End to Adult Acne
How to Get Rid of a Forming Pimple
When you see the beginnings of a new pimple it never feels good, but there are a number of things you can do to stop it from fully developing. You can prevent a pimple from getting bigger and sometimes you can get rid of the pimple completely; however, you may have to try a few approaches before you find what works best for you, as there is no “one method” for everyone.
Using Steam Cleaning
Pre-clean your face.Using your fingertips and a gentle cleanser, gently rub your fingers over your skin. Use gentle, circular motions for about a minute. This helps the cleanser loosen and absorb dirt and oils.
- Use lukewarm water, not hot water, as water that is too hot can damage sensitive skin.
- Use your fingertips — not a sponge or washcloth.
- Pull any hair off your face by tying it all back before you start to pre-clean your face. This will make sure it doesn’t interfere with the pre-cleaning. Then pre-cleanse your skin.
- Non-oil based cleaners can be used, but you can also choose a plant-oil based cleaner. Many dermatologists recommend using glycerin, grapeseed, and sunflower oils, among others. Oils are the best to use to absorb and dissolve other oils.
- Then rinse your face with lukewarm water thoroughly and pat dry using a clean, cotton towel. Don’t rub, as you want to avoid doing anything that can irritate your skin.
Prepare a steam bath.A steam bath will help to clean pores and get rid of any dirt that is embedded in the skin.Fill a one quart pot with water. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a rolling boil, which usually takes several minutes.
- Having a rolling boil assures that the water is hot enough to produce a lot of steam.
- Water that is fully boiling will be approximately 212°F (100°C), depending on your elevation.This is very hot and so you should use caution when dealing with it — you could suffer third degree burns from the steam.
Test an area of your skin if you want to add an essential oil to your steam.Before heating up the water pre-test your skin by putting a single drop of the oil on your wrist and waiting for 10 – 15 minutes. Since these herbs are plant-derived, and since people can have allergies and sensitivities to plants, you can have a reaction to any essential oil. Usually, the reaction is a mild rash that may or may not be itchy. Some essential oils you may want to use include:
- Spearmint, or peppermint: Peppermint or spearmint can be irritating to some, so be sure to pretest your skin. If there is no irritation, you should be able to use the oil. Start with 1 drop/quart of water. Both peppermint and spearmint contain menthol which has both antiseptic and immune-boosting properties.
- Calendula: Calendula accelerates healing, is anti-inflammatory and has antimicrobial properties.
- Lavender: Lavender is soothing, calming, and can help with anxiety and depression. As a bonus, it also has antibacterial properties.
Add essential oils to the steam bath.You can add one to two drops of any essential oil. These essential oils have either antibacterial or antiseptic properties. Using them can help prevent the formation of pimples, stop them by helping them to reabsorb into the body, and draw them out.
- You do not have to add essential oils to your steam to make it effective. The steam itself opens the pores, helping to clean them out and, hopefully, allow the pimple to heal before it fully develops.
- If you don’t have the essential oils, substitute ½ teaspoon of dried herb per quart of water. Once you have added the herbs, boil for another minute, turn off the heat and move the pot to a comfortable area.
- Always remember that you can develop sensitivity to an herbal oil where it didn’t exist before. Thus, you should always be aware of a chance of sensitivity. Try each herb for about a minute, take your face away from the steam for 10 minutes and assess. If you are not sneezing or have any skin reaction, reheat the water and repeat the steaming.
Steam your face.Make sure the heat is off and the water is no longer at a roiling boil. Cover your head with a large, clean cotton towel and place your face over the steaming pot, keeping your face at least 12 – 15 inches above the the water. This opens up pores, releases deeper debris and removes more face oils. It may be enough to clear out the pore with the forming pimple.
- Close your eyes, breathe normally, and relax!
- Keep your face over the steam for 10 minutes.
Care for your skin after steaming.Rinse your face well with lukewarm water and pat dry with a cotton towel. Don’t rub your skin, just gently pat it dry. Then apply a moisturizer.
- Apply a non-comedogenic (meaning it will not block your pores) moisturizer to your face is important. Moisturizing helps prevent damage to your skin and helps keep it soft, flexible, and hydrated. You can check the labels of store-brand moisturizers. You want to look for the term “non-comedogenic” or wording that indicates that it will not clog your pores.
Using Herbal Treatments
Apply essential oils directly to the skin.When a pimple is forming, you can do direct herbal treatments using essential oils. These can help clean, tighten, and help heal the skin and minimize the pimples. Some essential oils that can help with acne include tea tree oil, lavender oil, clary sage oil, and juniper berry oil.
- Astringent herbs tighten or tone the skin, often allowing the blind pimple to reabsorb or come to a point, while the antibacterial herbs help kill off bacteria.
Apply a green tea bag treatment.Take a green tea tea bag and soak it in warm water briefly, so that it is thoroughly moistened. Apply the tea bag directly to the developing pimple.
- The green tea acts as an astringent to draw out the pimple, along with pus, bacteria and cell debris.
- There have been several studies in which green tea extract minimized acne in adolescents with moderate acne.
Use an apple cider vinegar treatment.Pour some apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball or a Q-tip. Apply directly to the pimple by gently rubbing it on. The apple cider vinegar acts as an astringent, clearing out dirt and cleaning the skin.
- It also can help dry the pimple and acts to kill any bacteria.
Apply tea tree oil.Tea tree oil is an antibacterial, antifungal, and astringent oil. Before applying, mix three to five drops of tea tree oil with about a teaspoon of olive, almond, or castor oil. This will make it an appropriate strength for direct application.
- To apply, soak a Q-tip or a cotton ball with the mixture and rub gently directly onto the pimple.
Making an Herbal Mask
Gather and then combine all basic ingredients.For the basic ingredients of this mask you can get almost everything you need at the grocery store. The ingredients include:
- 1 tablespoon of honey. Honey has antibacterial, healing and astringent properties. Any honey will work, but if you have Manuka honey, that may work better.
- One egg white. This provides a thickener and acts as an astringent.
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Lemon juice acts as an astringent and a bleaching and whitening agent. If you don’t need or want a bleaching agent, substitute witch hazel for the lemon juice, which has been used for centuries as an astringent and to decrease swelling.
Add five to 10 drops of an essential oil.Mix this thoroughly into the basic ingredients. You can get most essential oils online or in speciality shops. Essential oils that work well for this mask include:
Apply the mask.Spread the mixture over your face, neck, or wherever you have a pimple problem. If you want, use a Q-tip to spread the mixture over one or two specific problem areas.
- This mask can be messy, so be sure to apply the mask while you are in an area that can be easily cleaned, such as the bathroom.
Remove the mask.Allow the mixture to stay on your face for 15 minutes. Then rinse it off completely using lukewarm water. Gently pat your skin dry once all of the mask is removed.
- Once your skin is clean, apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
Use a honey and baking soda exfoliant.Gently exfoliating the skin around pimples can essentially “pull out” the embedded contents and can accelerate healing. Try using natural exfoliants that you can make yourself. For example, mix ¼ cup of honey with enough baking soda to make a paste.
- Using gentle, circular motions, apply this mixture to the affected areas. You can also use a Q-tip or cotton ball to apply the mixture to smaller areas. Just be sure not to be too firm with your cleaning, as this can damage the skin more than help it.
- Gently work the mixture into the area for two to three minutes and then gently rinse off with warm water.
Exfoliate with an oatmeal mixture.Grind ¼ to ½ cup of rolled whole oats in a food processor or coffee grinder. Add enough oil (olive, jojoba, Vitamin E, avocado, or almond oil) to make a paste. Using gentle, circular motions, apply this mixture to the affected areas or use a Q-tip or cotton ball to apply to smaller areas.
- Consider adding a tablespoon or two of honey to this mixture, so that it will stay in place on your face.
- Work the oatmeal mixture into the area for two to three minutes. Then rinse with warm water.
Use a sugar and olive oil exfoliant.Mix a teaspoon of sugar with ½ cup of olive oil. Using gentle, circular motions, apply this mixture to the affected areas or use a Q-tip or cotton ball to apply to smaller areas.
- Gently rub the mixture on to the area for two to three minutes and then rinse with warm water.
- You can also use castor, jojoba, Vitamin E, avocado, or almond oil, whichever you prefer.
Make a sea salt exfoliant.Take 1 – 2 teaspoons of sea salt and add enough oil (olive, jojoba, Vitamin E, avocado or almond oil) to make a paste. Using gentle, circular motions, apply this mixture to the affected areas or use a Q-tip or cotton ball to apply to smaller areas.
- Work the mixture into the area for two to three minutes and then rinse with warm water once the area is exfoliated.
Use an over-the-counter exfoliant.Most of these contain salicylic acid, usually 2%. These are available at most drugstores and department stores and should be used following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Salicylic acid can dissolve dead skin cells and skin oils. It can also help kill any bacteria that is forming the pus in a pimple.
- Salicylic acid also acts as an astringent and tightens the pores, reducing the appearance of the pimple.
- The exfoliant will remove dead skin. Always be very gentle when exfoliating, as being too rough can damage or irritate your skin.
Wash your face at least twice a day.Pimples do not occur because your face isn’t clean, but keeping your face clean can decrease the amount of sebum (oil) and cell debris — some root causes of pimples. Make sure you wash in the morning and before bed and after any periods of heavy sweating.
- Take a bath or shower once a day, and if you sweat a lot, consider taking a shower afterwards.
Use a gentle, plant-oil based product to clean yourself.Look for a cleanser labeled as “non-comedogenic.” Because these products will not clog your pores, they should not promote the formation of acne — blackheads, whiteheads or pimples.
- There are many store-brand products that are non-comedogenic but you will need to read the label to be certain.
- Use alcohol-free products. Alcohol dries, irritates and can damage the skin because it strips off the natural oils.
- It is recommended that you be gentle with your skin. Don’t use astringents, toners and exfoliants that irritate your skin. Chemical exfoliants such as salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid) and alpha hydroxy acid chemically detach the dead and dying skin cells, but these can be drying and irritating as well.
Use your fingertips to gently apply the cleanser.Do not scrub. This can cause permanent scarring and the skin will take longer to heal. Vigorous exfoliation often does more harm than good.
- Exfoliation can cause micro-scarring, obvious scarring, and it can often make acne worse.
- Don’t use a washcloth or a sponge, as this can irritate the skin and cause even more problems.
- Don’t pick, pop, squeeze, or touch blackheads.This can also cause flare-ups, cause scarring, and will cause a longer healing time.
Stay out of the sun and don’t use tanning beds.Sun (and tanning beds) can damage your skin cells with UVB radiation.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, daily. If you are active then you will want to use a water-resistant sunscreen.
- Some specific acne medications or certain other types of medication can make your skin even more sensitive to the sun. This is called photosensitivity of the skin and you should talk to your doctor about this side effect. These drugs include antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim); antihistamines (diphenhydramine); drugs used to treat cancer (5-FU, vinblastine, dacarbazine); heart drugs (amiodorone, nifedipine, quinidine and ditiazem); non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) like naproxen; and the acne medications isotretinoin (Accutane), and acitretin (Soriatane).
QuestionSo there's one on the bottom of my nose forming, can I ice it to prevent it to get bigger?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, ice will help. You can also use a clay mask to draw out the oil.Thanks!
- If you have moderate to severe acne, see a dermatologist to get a professional recommendation. Without that professional advice, you could cause more problems than you solve. Your dermatologist may recommend other approaches to blackheads, whiteheads or pimples. Nothing can replace having a trained physician physically examine and look at your unique skin.
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