1. Do ice the pimple.
One of the most effective ways to get rid of acne fast is also the cheapest. If you’re dealing with a swollen zit on your face that’s causing pain, reach for an ice cube. Wrap it in a thin cloth and set it on the offending spot for three to four minutes. Repeat throughout the day to relieve pain and temporarily reduce swelling.
2. Do apply a paste made of crushed aspirin.
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is a top-shelf acne fighter by all accounts. Applying a paste made of aspirin immediately removes excess oil and dead skin. In other words, it helps to unclog and dry out your angry pores, while simultaneously reducing swelling and redness. It’s one of the home remedies that dermatologists recommend, and it even helps reduce pain at the application site. To make the paste, crush an aspirin with a spoon and swirl it with a few drops of water. Then apply it directly to the pimple.
3. Don’t pick your face.
If you have adult acne, we know you’ve heard this one already. But according to Josh Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, picking tends to cause more harm than good. It can cause what Zeichner terms “trauma” to your skin, which in turn leads to “inflammation, infection, and potentially a scar.” Translation: Not only will it not get rid of spots fast, it will take them twice as long to disappear.
If your pimple comes to a head and you really can’t stop the urge to pop it, follow the pro-approved guidelines on how to pop your own pimples safely and hygienically. (An even easier fix: Slap on one of our favorite acne patches before going to bed and wake up with a dramatically diminished zit.)
4. Don’t overdry the affected area.
It’s not the chemical you use; it’s the amount you use, says Neal Schultz, M.D., an NYC derm. “People think if a little salicylic or glycolic acid is good, more is better,” he says. “It gets to the point that the active ingredient irritates the skin, making it scaly and flaky and red.” To prevent irritation, try a lower concentration of the active ingredient once you’ve already broken out. Zeichner recommends checking your label for a concentration of benzoyl peroxide around 2.5%. One that really works: Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment.