What to Do When You Have A Pimple

After surveying three top estheticians and pulling out (no pun intended) the common themes from their methods, I’m confident that I have a routine that will, at least, reduce your inflammation, or, at best, leave you with a flaked off pimple in 3-4 days. Settle in, this is a juicy one. Let’s dive into it.

Ground Rules

There are a few ground rules that must be abided by to get optimal results. In no particular order, they are:

1. Wash your hands before you touch your face, every time. This decreases the risk of further inflammation by increased bacteria at the site.

2. If you do pop, STOP when you see blood. If you continue, your scarring could be significant.

3. DO NOT pop underground zits. Endeavoring to pop cystic acne will only cause the bump to get larger and the zit to last longer.

4. Make sure to up your water intake. This will help to flush toxins out of your system, which has an immediate effect on your skin.

5. If you need to wear makeup over the site during the life of the zit, make sure you wash all makeup brushes to decrease the risk of further inflammation.

6. Wear sunscreen. Exposure to sun can increase dark spots, and the whole point is to avoid scarring.

The Method


At the first site of a zit, treat it with a high frequency device for no longer than 5 minutes on each area. The thinking: the high frequency treatment kills the bacteria directly beneath the site while simultaneously providing a natural boost of cellular energy to kill acne causing bacteria, promote cell turnover, and reduce inflammation.


Follow the high frequency treatment with a hydrocolloid patch (I really like these from Peace Out), ideally wearing it overnight or for at least 6 hours. The thinking: a healing, hydrocolloid dressing combined with an infusion of potent, acne-fighting ingredients extracts impurities and provides a barrier from external irritants. It is also suggested to wear a new patch during the day under makeup (or, preferably, with a bare face).


With consistent use, the hydrocolloid patch should bring a the zit to a head. At this point, it’s actually ok (and encouraged) to pop, as long as it’s white and visible through a translucent top layer of skin. For best results: wash your hands and prep the skin with a swipe of an alcohol swab. Wrap your pointer fingers in tissue, and gently but firmly press down on either side of the site. This is important: if it doesn’t come out on one to three presses it’s not ready. I repeat: IT’S NOT READY.

*If the zit didn’t come out, repeat steps 1 and 2 until either of the following occurs: (1) the zit becomes flat and no longer in need of popping or (2) the zit comes to a head.


Once the zit has been popped OR it becomes flat without needing to be popped (best case scenario!), it’s time for all-hands-on-deck-healing. And when it comes to immediate healing, our sources were of the opinion that a natural approach is best. On a cleaned site, swipe on some organic, cold-pressed rose hip seed oil. The thinking: it regulates sebum production, which can help prevent the zit from re-forming. It also helps to reduce the appearance of scarring and hyperpigmentation.


If you have more melanin in your skin, you’re more likely to scar (or, if you went a little too far with step 3). After the site has had a chance to do some healing with more mild products (i.e., rose hip seed oil), it’s ok to bring out the big guns. Try incorporating Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads into your routine. You can also begin to spot treat dark spots with microneedling patches like these.

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  1. Erin Sackman says:

    If anyone has tried-and-true tips, leave them here!!

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