The following tips can help with treating pimples on any area of the body, but apply particularly to pimples on the face.
Treating pimples on the face
A person should not pick at, squeeze, or otherwise “pop” a pimple. Doing so can spread the bacteria that cause acne, risking infection of the pimple, and acne scarring. Instead, try these methods to get rid of pimples fast:
- Wash the affected area with a gentle cleanser. Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
- Apply a spot treatment that can dry out the pimple. Examples of spot treatments include tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. Apply to the pimple and area around it, using clean hands, to target the pore and oil builtup underneath.
- If a person does not have any spot treatments available, they can try home remedies instead. Examples of these include crushing an aspirin and mixing it into a paste with a small amount of water. Applying calamine lotion may also help to dry out the lesion.
- Consider specialized spot treatments or masks that you apply directly to the pimple. Examples include clay masks for acne blemishes, or acne “dots.” Acne dots are patches that cover blemishes and contain drying solutions, such as tea tree oil or salicylic acid.
While a person is waiting for the pimple to go completely, they can apply a medicated concealer or cosmetic drying lotion. These contain ingredients, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, to treat the blemish further while it heals.
Treating pimples on the body
Pimples on the chest and back are highly treatable but may require a different approach than facial treatments, due to variations in the skin. Some potential treatments include:
- Using a body wash that contains benzoyl peroxide. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommend leaving the body wash on the chest or back for 2– 5 minutes before rinsing. If a person has sensitive skin, they can use a 5.3% benzoyl peroxide solution. Those with very oily skin may use as much as a 10% solution.
- Applying a 0.1% adapalene gel to any skin lesion areas. A person can purchase this gel over the counter. If someone has difficulty reaching their back to apply the gel, they can buy a device to apply the medicine.
- Changing clothing immediately after exercising to reduce sweat and oil buildup. If an individual cannot shower immediately after exercising, wiping the skin with a cleansing wipe or flannel can help.
- Refraining from picking or scratching pimples. Picking at pimples can make them worse and increase the risk of more severe symptoms.
Using oil-free sunscreens when in the sun.
- Manufacturers sometimes label oil-free products as noncomedogenic. Using these can help prevent oil building up under the skin.
- Always using oil- and fragrance-free lotions. Avoiding oils and fragrances on acne-prone areas of the body can reduce the likelihood for body acne breakouts.
As with pimples on the face, acne blemishes on the rest of the body can take time to fully clear. If a person does not see results in 6–8 weeks, they can consult a dermatologist. It is advisable to speak to a doctor before attempting to treat acne or breakouts with new products.
Particularly large or deep pimples can damage the skin and lead to scarring. These acne scars may appear as lowered or raised areas of skin that will typically become more noticeable as people age and start to lose collagen fibers in their skin.
While there are treatments available for pimple scars, preventing them from occurring in the first place is the ideal approach. This involves caring for the skin not only when a person has a breakout but afterward, too. Steps include:
- Refraining from squeezing, popping, or picking at a blemish. These approaches can damage the skin, increasing the risks for scarring.
- Maintaining a consistent skin care routine that includes face washing, exfoliating, and applying anti- acne treatments, such as retinoids, tea tree oil, or azelaic acid.
- Refraining from scrubbing the skin excessively or over exfoliating. This can cause a person’s skin to over produce oil, which leads to further blemishes and greater risks of more acne.
- If a person cannot control their breakouts with home care and over-the-counter skin care products, they can talk to their dermatologist about prescription options.
While the occasional pimple and breakout can happen to anyone, there are steps a person can take to prevent these whenever possible. Steps involve a consistent skin care routine to maintain the skin’s balance and prevent excess oil. Here are ways to help prevent pimples:
- Cleansing the skin twice daily with a gentle cleanser and warm, but not hot water.
- Applying a topical agent daily that helps prevent blemishes, usually by reducing oil and improving skin cell turnover rate. Examples of topical treatments include retinol, adapalene gel, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or azelaic acid.
- Applying an oil- and fragrance-free moisturizer to the skin, if needed.
- Refraining from using heavily fragranced or oily products if a person is prone to acne.
- Changing the sheets and pillowcases at least twice a week to reduce a buildup of dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil that may cause acne breakouts.
- Using fragrance-free detergents to wash clothing and bedding whenever possible can reduce the incidence of further breakouts.
Sometimes, if a person develops moderate to severe acne, they will require prescription treatments. These may include antibiotics to reduce the bacteria that cause acne or tretinoin, which is a prescription strength retinoid. Some females also benefit from taking birth control pills to reduce their risks for hormonal acne.
An estimated 50 million people in the United States experience acne blemishes each year, according to the AAD. When a blemish occurs, people can take steps to dry it out and allow it to heal on its own. It is not always possible to get rid of pimples fast, but a person can take steps to reduce the appearance of pimples A consistent skin care routine can prevent future breakouts and reduce the risks of acne scarring.