With additional reporting by Tan Jou Teng
You have a special day or an event coming up. You do everything you can to make sure your skin is flawless nearing the date. To your dismay, you discover an angry, budding pimple on your face just the day before.
We’ve all been there and know how horrible it feels, and consequently how desperate we are for a good, effective, and most importantly quick way to get rid of pimples overnight.
Is it possible to get rid of pimples overnight?
Can you get rid of zits overnight? The good news is yes… but there are certain conditions that you need to fulfil in order for that to happen. Read on for the most updated skincare tips and tricks that can get you a step closer to this goal.
1. Popping the pimple
Popping pimples may be super tempting but an important thing to remember is: not all pimples should be popped. If they are lodged deep, deep inside your skin, you need to leave them alone.
This is especially true if you have cystic acne. Trying to pop a cystic nodule can actually make it worse, and can also lengthen the time it takes to heal properly.
For black and whiteheads, you’re also recommended to leave them alone or get a trained professional to empty them with special tools called comedone extractors. This is also the extraction step during your facials!
According to dermatologist Dr. Allison Arthur in an interview with INSIDER, the only pimples that can be popped at home are pustules, which appear red and inflamed with a circle of white pus in the center.
Dr. Arthur recommends doing these steps to pop the zit:
- Give your hands a thorough wash, and don’t forget underneath your fingernails
- Use alcohol wipes or a cotton pad soaked with rubbing alcohol to wipe your pustule. This may sting a little!
- Use two fingers or two clean cotton buds to squeeze on either side of the pustule
- Only use gentle pressure when you’re squeezing.
Another important note to remember here: if it doesn’t pop with gentle pressure, you should stop trying to pop it. Trying to pop a pimple that’s too deep in your skin can lead to scarring and further infection.
2. Using an acne patch
Acne patches are now widely available at most supermarkets and drugstores. They’re usually made of a special wound dressing called hydrocolloid gel, which absorbs pus and other fluids from open wounds, which are pimples are in essence.
Not all brands of acne patches are the same, so you’ll have to experiment and see which ones work the best for you. Some are more invisible on the skin, while others have better adherence and wouldn’t fall off as easily.
Some users have even reported that acne patches can decrease the size of ‘un-ripe’ pimples and heal them before they even get to the pustule stage.
You can wear an acne patch overnight in the hopes that it might go down by the next day (and it sometimes might). If it doesn’t, you can still wear an acne patch on the following day as a way to conceal the zit, heal it gently, and protect it from airborne bacteria.
3. Apply over-the-counter acne spot treatments
Since acne is, after all, a bacterial infection on your skin, you can get medication for it from drugstores.
There are two types of anti-acne treatments in drugstores: for long-term maintenance, like an anti-acne facial cleanser, or an acute spot treatment, like an antibiotic gel or lotion.
If you have acne-prone skin, we recommend that you already be using anti-acne products in your regular routine to prevent breakouts and flare-ups.
However, if you just have that one zit that you need to get rid of, you can try spot treatments. This can range from over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide in 5% or 10% concentrations, to antibiotic treatments like clindamycin gel or solution, which are available from selected pharmacies. Speak to the pharmacist to get advice on what your zit needs!
4. Use an anti-acne concealer
If all else fails and you absolutely need to cover that monster of a zit up, consider using a concealer that actually treats your acne while hiding it at the same time, rather than regular oil-based formulas. Most of these concealers contain the ingredient salicylic acid, which helps to slough off dead skin cells and clear keratin plugs.
However, salicylic acid is most effective when used regularly, and only on milder acne, blackheads and whiteheads. They’re not going to help you clear up cystic acne!
By dint of its nature as a concealer, these products will necessarily contain ingredients that may potentially make your pimple worse, even if it also contains salicylic acid. This step is only recommended if your zit is really stubborn and you don’t want to use an acne patch to cover it up.
5. Avoid aggravating it
Even if you can’t get rid of the pimple overnight, the last thing you’d want is for it to flare up even more the next day. To avoid this from happening, avoid using harsh products on the area that aren’t proven to work on pimples, such as toothpaste. And unless you’re confident of popping it yourself, avoid picking at it – or even touching it – or you might risk introducing even more bacteria to the area, causing it to inflame even more.