Madeleine has a B.A. in Psychology and has been writing online content for over eight years.
What Causes Pimples?
Pimples don't always occur because someone didn't wash his or her face enough. In fact, many people who have frequent breakouts wash their faces too often with the wrong kind of facial cleanser.
Pimples are basically oil that got trapped in the pores. Blackheads aren't dirt either—they're pores that have filled up with oil, which then interact with the air and oxidize into a black "plug."
So, in order to stop these pimples from happening, you want to choose a facial cleanser that will minimize the amount of oil your pores produce.
You also may want to invest in a toner that will close your pores quickly after washing your face to prevent infection and to prevent oil from "filling" up the pore.
However, what if you have the pimple now and you have to be in the public eye soon? How do you get rid of it quickly without running to the store for special products?
How to Get Rid of the Current Pimple
1. First determine if it is a whitehead, a blackhead, or a milia.
- A whitehead will have a white "cap" on it where the pore is clogged (this is the opening to the pore with the oil).
- A blackhead will have a similar opening, only the "cap" is black and stiffer than a white head.
- If there is no cap, this is something called a millium, and it is a type of cyst as opposed to a pimple.
2. Determine how much time you have to wait for the pimple to go down.
If you need it done quickly, you may decide to take more drastic measures (e.g. "popping" the pimple), but if you have a couple of days, you may choose to do something less drastic (e.g. applying something to the pimple to dry it out).
You Will Need:
- 2-3 sheets of Kleenex or paper towels
- Alcohol or toner to disinfect the area
- Optional: a blackhead extractor or a bobby pin
What You're Going to Do:
- Disinfect the area around the pimple, your fingers, and the blackhead extractor or bobby pin if you have chosen to use one.
- If you do not have the blackhead extractor/bobby pin: Wrap the tissue around your pointer fingers tightly. Press your fingers against the outside of the pimple, giving yourself a little space to maneuver. You want to press down first, then press your fingers together, and then you can press up and knead. This motion will prevent unnecessary scarring. Continue kneading and rolling the pimple between your fingers until the pimple pops and you have removed all of the oil.
- If you do have the blackhead extractor/bobby pin: Place the head of the pimple in the center of the looped end. This tool allows for even pressure to also prevent scarring. Push down gently until the pimple pops. If you push too hard, you risk breaking the skin.
- Immediately apply the toner to the area. If you have to leave and go into public soon, apply ice to the area to ease redness.
A Slower, Safer Method to Dry Out Whiteheads
If you are nervous about popping your pimples (which can lead to scarring if done incorrectly), you can apply various topical treatments to the area until it clears up.
Try to avoid directly applying the topical with your fingers to avoid adding bacteria and more oil to the area. Instead, use q-tips, tissues, and cotton balls.
- Toothpaste: Toothpaste will dry out the pimple and ease redness. Apply toothpaste to the offending pimple until it clears up. Some people swear by applying it once and leaving it on overnight. Others suggest rinsing off the toothpaste and reapplying every hour. If the pimple is particularly serious, I suggest reapplying the toothpaste every hour.
- Alcohol and Neosporin: Apply the rubbing alcohol directly to the pimple, and then apply the Neosporin around the affected area. Do this twice a day.
- Egg Whites: Egg whites contain sulfur, which is famous for drawing out impurities. Apply an egg white mask to your face once a day for two to three days to clear up breakouts.
- Honey: Honey is a natural bacteria killer. The properties of honey will literally suffocate the bacteria, which will remove any infection in the pimple and reduce the swelling. Apply honey to the pimple one to two times a day until the pimple clears.
- Green Tea: Steep a tea bag in hot water and apply it to the offending area for approximately 10 minutes. (Make sure it's not too hot!) This will help suck the impurities out of the pore.
- Vicks VapoRub: This will not clear up the area—instead, it will pull the oil to the pimple's surface, making it easier to "pop." This is good for those especially hard pimples. Put it on at night, then rinse it off the following morning. Follow the fast removal guide on the container to finish the treatment.
You Will Need:
- A blackhead extractor tool (or a bobby pin)
- A warm towel (you can soak in hot water)
- Toner or a disinfectant that is safe to use on your skin
- Ice, if needed
What You Will Do:
- Apply the warm towel to the affected area for approximately 15 minutes. This will help open the pores.
- Remove the towel and place the head of the pimple (the black part) in the center of the loop of either the blackhead tool or the bobby pin. Push down gently—if you push too hard, you will risk scarring.
- To remove all of the oil, slide the tool across the top of the pimple to push the oil and the blackhead from your face.
- Immediately disinfect the area with toner or alcohol.
- Apply ice to reduce redness.
What You Will Need:
- Warm towel
- Toner or disinfectant
- Facial cleanser
What You Will Do:
- Apply the warm towel to your face for approximately 15 minutes to allow the pores to open up. Dry off the area.
- Apply glue to the area with the blackhead(s).
- Allow the glue to dry completely.
- Slowly remove the glue, preferably in the direction your pores open. The blackheads should pull out of the skin with the glue.
- Wash off any excess glue with the facial cleanser and apply toner.
What About Removing Those Buggers Without the Heads?
Ah, the milia. These are notoriously tough to deal with—mainly due to the fact that there is no head to see the pore.
Since milia are like cysts, it would be prudent to see a dermatologist or licensed esthetician to remove them.
However, if you are insistent about doing it at home, there are a few ways to get rid of them. I would like to reiterate that it would be best for these to be taken care of by a professional.
How to Remove Milia at Home
The safest way to remove these is to apply a hot compress to the area until the oils in the cyst are pulled out on their own. This may take a matter of days. You can also try applying Vicks VapoRub to the milia at night.
If this is too slow for you, you may want to invest in a little lancet. Here's how you use it:
- Make sure the lancet is sanitary by disinfecting it with rubbing alcohol.
- Find the direction the pore is facing. This is typically a skill earned through years of practice—study the area to get a feel for the direction that the pores open.
- Sanitize the area.
- Find the area that the cyst looks like it wants to "come out" from. It will look more raised than the rest of the cyst.
- Use the lancet to open the pore in that area (this also works for difficult to remove pimples).
- Use one of the fast removal methods above—the tissue or the tool methods—to gently work the cyst through the hole you just made.
Though this is possible to do at home, I highly recommend seeing a professional.
How to Prevent Pimples from Forming
Though some pimples are impossible to prevent, you can greatly reduce the number of pimples you get by making some lifestyle changes:
- Drink Water: Drink it, and lots of it. This allows all the impurities to flush through you. Juice, soda, and flavored drinks do not provide the same benefits of water. Why? Well, water with suspension cannot grab the impurities and flush them out. Sugar and flavors are suspensions that take up all of the waters "room" and don't allow as many impurities to hitch a ride with the water. Though staying hydrated with suspension liquids does help, pure water is the best.
- Exercise: When you exercise, you sweat out the impurities. It helps your body work better and heal itself easier.
- Eat Right: Veggies, fruits, etc.—all have antioxidants and are hydrating, which make it easier to flush out impurities.
- Avoid Known Problem Foods: For example, personally, if I eat too much chocolate, I start to break out. Some people find they break out after eating greasy or sugary foods.
- Avoid Underwashing or Overwashing Your Face: One or two times a day is all you need.
- Use the Right Facial Cleanser: Make sure your facial cleanser is right for your skin type. You may think you have oily skin but actually have dry skin that is overproducing oil to compensate. If you use a drying facial cleanser, you will only worsen the oil production.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Apryl R on May 07, 2020:
You are doing great work! I just want to share my success story. Hope this helps. I’ve been using Retin-A (Tretinoin). Very happy I found * QACNE365 * in google and got retin-a. It is hands down the most effective anti-acne, anti-blackheads, anti-whatever skin flaw you may have. It is the only thing that has actually helped with my acne. People comment on my skin daily.
Kimberly on May 07, 2018:
Everything I do they never come off they just grow more.!?!.
Roro on January 25, 2017:
Thanks so much for the help
Freckleface101 on June 04, 2016:
I found using a non oil face wash helped me, also benzoyl peroxide is very good for you skin, I used to have tons of pimple but now they are all gone
Jacobb9205 on April 01, 2015:
Great ways to remove pimples thank you! Some of these surprised me!
BVICENNTEY on December 29, 2013:
I have pimples, and I tried to apply the toothpaste it should be white.. I have also read this advice on your website too. I tried this, and then a few days it got fewer. But then in a few days, it gets many again. Please tell me how. :-)
charlotte meneses on May 02, 2013:
it works :))
Madeleine P (author) from Rochester, New York on April 15, 2013:
It is true that popping them incorrectly is horrible - which is why the warning was put in there. Though if you do it correctly ( or utilize a professional ) you'll see no adverse side effects.
anonymous on June 22, 2012:
going to the pool will help because the chlorine will dry out the pimples and be virtually gone the next day. also you seriously need to make sure to drink enough water
baylor on June 06, 2012:
this betta work
gabby amy on June 01, 2012:
Okay im 11years old and i have pimples ,blackheads,and white heads.so i decided 2 do something about it i went online and i saw your website so im gonna give it a try of what you're telling me 2do:)
Corinna on May 25, 2012:
I just tried this, and so far its looking pretty good!
nafisa on May 05, 2012:
Detailed information, I will try using the egg white..
"OH great post" on April 23, 2012:
popping pimples is bad.
Madeleine P (author) from Rochester, New York on June 22, 2011:
Thanks Everyone! I'm so glad this hub helped!
CarrieMaye from Colorado on June 07, 2011:
Great hub with with good tips. A lot of time bad skin comes from eating habits, like you mention. I've given up dairy and noticed a world of difference. Also, I started drinking Kombucha tea which is the best thing I've even done for my skin and health.
LULU SUE1987 on June 03, 2011:
Great tips. I will give this information to my teenager.
Jason Menayan from San Francisco on May 17, 2011:
Wow, great detailed advice. Fortunately, my pimply days are behind me, but how much I wish I could have read this when I was a teenager!