How to Get Rid of a Pimple Overnight
With a little extra care at the end of the day, you can clear your complexion by morning: Here are expert tips on getting rid of a pimple overnight
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Wash this way
Jennifer Ahartz, global curriculum developer at Dermalogica in Los Angeles, CA, suggests starting with a double cleansing if you want to get rid of a pimple overnight: “The first cleanse helps to remove oil, makeup, and pollution from the skin and the second cleanse removes any remaining debris, helping to keep the follicles clear,” she says. “I recommend using Dermalogica PreCleanse first to remove excess build-up; do your second cleanse with Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash to wash away impurities and bacteria.” Learn what dermatologists do when they get a pimple.
Preparing your skin
After washing your face, add a leave-on exfoliant, mask, or moisturizer before getting skin ready for treatment. “Often, people overtreat a pimple in order to try to get rid of it, essentially worsening it due to the irritation,” says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, a dermatologist and clinical assistant attending professor at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, NY. “While there is no magic cure for bringing pimples down overnight, there are things you can definitely do to minimize the inflammation.” Make sure these symptoms aren’t one of the 8 signs your skin products are secretly damaging your face.
When to pop
One way to get rid of a pimple overnight? Pop it: If it’s a whitehead or a blackhead and easy to extract, go for it, says Sandra Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Upland, CA, also known as Dr. Pimple Popper. However, touching cystic or other types of acne will make matters worse. If you do decide to take matters into your own hands, she says, apply a warm washcloth or take a steam shower to soften the pimple first, which make it easier to extract. Get more details on how to pop a pimple safely.
When not to pop
“If the pimple is a cyst or nodule, I recommend you can see a dermatologist for a simple steroid injection that can get rid of the pimple by decreasing inflammation,” says Dr. Levin. In the meantime, help reduce the inflammation by applying benzoyl peroxide, an effective anti-inflammatory and bacteria-fighting agent that minimizes redness and swelling. Learn how to banish cystic acne for good.
Ready to pop?
After steaming your face to open up your pores and the pimples, use sterilized extracting tools, says Dr. Lee. Make sure to apply alcohol afterward to clean out the wound.
Some acne treatments are designed to target a specific area or breakout. For oily skin, Dr. Lee’s x SLMD Acne Spot Treatment has a salicylic acid formula that unclogs pores and controls oil production, which clears acne fast and prevents the creation of new blackheads and whiteheads. Likewise, the x SLMD BP Lotion uses 3 percent sulfur to regulate sensitive skin’s oil production, stop the growth of acne-causing bacteria, and gently exfoliate, says Dr. Lee
Acne dots, like COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, also are great for bringing a pimple down overnight. “You can’t guarantee that a pimple will be gone in the morning, but squeezing it repeatedly and touching the area often will not help, and will likely make things worse,” says Dr. Lee.
Check the ingredients
When you want to banish breakouts quickly, you need ingredients that really get the job done. Look for products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and retinoids, which minimize whiteheads and blackheads but also treat pimples and pustules. “Some active ingredients, like retinol or tretinoin, can increase sun sensitivity and the sun can even deactivate these ingredients, making them less effective, so they are best used at night,” says Dr. Lee. “The skin also has more opportunities to repair itself during sleep since we are less apt to pick at our pimples during this time, and our skin is not subject to more dirt and pollution in our environment when we are safely tucked away within the clean sheets of our bed.” Learn what dermatologists do to wake up with better skin.
There are many effective over-the-counter acne treatments you can try. Dr. Levin recommends Differin Gel 0.1%, which recently became available over the counter. “Differin is well-tolerated and should be used correctly with a moisturizer and gentle cleanser,” she says. She also recommends La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser, Obagi Clenziderm MD Daily Care Foaming Cleanser, and PCA Skin Blemish Control Bar for salicylic acid-infused products.
She says a topical exfoliator with glycolic acid is also helpful and safe to use even during pregnancy; we recommend BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz Advanced 10 Percent Exfoliating Pads.
Ice your skin
Before hitting the sack, cooling your pimple will decrease swelling and redness, says Dr. Levin. “While this is not a permanent fix, I recommend washing your face to prep the skin,” she says. “Then with an ice cube wrapped in a paper towel, gently ice the pimple three times an hour for 10 minutes at each time.” Check out these 13 surprising home remedies for acne.
Sleep on silk
Dr. Levin also recommends sleeping on a clean pillowcase made of breathable fabric, such as a silk pillowcase. “While there is no pillowcase that can treat acne, pillowcases can make it worse due to an accumulation of dirt, sweat, sebum, bacteria, and oils,” she says. “It’s important to swap out your pillowcases regularly (at least once a week) and use natural breathable fabrics that minimize friction to the skin such as silk or 100 percent cotton.”
Prevent future acne
Once you’ve gotten rid of a pimple, you want to do what you can to keep new ones from popping up.
“Remember that acne is not your fault!” says Dr. Lee. “It is largely dictated by your genes passed on to you by your parents and other relatives, and whether you have inherited oily skin and increased chance for developing acne.” But treating your skin well, keeping it clean, and using products that contain the most effective acne-fighting ingredients will certainly help.
Don’t miss out on these other surefire ways to get rid of acne once and for all.