Top 10 Treatments for a Pimple Emergency

Top 10 Treatments for a Pimple Emergency

What are the most proven treatments for a teen pimple emergency?


We’ve all been there…the big event is coming up, and we’ve got a big, juicy pimple smack dab in the middle of our faces! What is the best emergency pimple treatment? Are you wondering how to get rid of acne overnight? Well, I have been there and can make some honest recommendations based on my own experience: with plenty of pimples and as a Dermatologist that has treated acne for decades. 

how to get rid of acne

10 tried and true remedies for emergency blemish relief: 

  1. Pimple patches: Emergency pimple patches can save the day when you have a blemish. They contain hydrocolloid, a gel-like substance made from gelatin or pectin; hydrocolloid dressings are often used for wound-healing in the medical world. Pimple patches help drain fluid caused by inflammation in the pimple; plus, they prevent you from picking at the pimples and driving further inflammation. We like pimple patches such as Hero Cosmetics The Mighty Patch and Starface Hydro-Stars
  2. Salicylic acid: Is salicylic acid good for acne? The answer is yes! Salicylic acid lotion can be applied topically for emergency pimple treatment. Salicylic acid penetrates through the hair follicle to the oil gland and helps balance oil production; it also helps settle inflammation and acts as an exfoliant to unclog hair follicles. Salicylic acid treatments that we like are: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid and Starface salicylic acid patches.
  3. Benzoyl peroxide: This medication can be applied topically to spot treat your pimple. Benzoyl peroxide for acne works against Cutibacterium acnes, the main bacteria that is responsible for acne spots. Products such as Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief or Clean and Clear Persa-gel work well. Benzoyl peroxide wash is a good option if you get acne on your back or chest. Remember that benzoyl peroxide will bleach dark colored clothes, towels, and sheets.
  4. Sulfur: Sulfur is a commonly-used acne medication. Sulfur tends to be gentler than benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Sulfur acne treatment works through antimicrobial properties and removing excess oil on the skin. De la cruz acne treatment is a very popular option that contains sulfur.
  5. Clay face mask: Face mask skin care is a key component of acne treatment. Look for a girls face mask with soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients such as rosehip and bilberry which settle redness and inflammation. The best face masks for skin are Bright Girl Calm+Bright face mask and Asari face mask.
  6. Crushed up aspirin: How to get rid of acne with an over the counter medicine that most of us have at come? If you're wondering how to get rid of acne fast, try crushing up 2-3 tablets of aspirin and mix with distilled water to create a paste; apply to pimples overnight. Aspirin is salicylic acid and works for emergency pimple treatment as noted above.
  7. Hydrocortisone: What is hydrocortisone used for? Mainly to treat inflammation and redness associated with pimples. Hydrocortisone cream, 1%, can be applied directly to the pimple overnight.
  8. Ice: Just like benefits of ice rolling to the face, ice can be applied directly to a pimple to reduce redness and inflammation. This is a great option if you have a big pimple. Apply ice 10-15 minutes to blemishes every hour for 2-3 hours.
  9. Tea-tree oil: Tea tree oil for acne is a wonderful natural remedy. There are many benefits of tea tree oil, also known as oil of melaleuca, including antiseptic and antioxidant properties.
  10. Cortisone injection: When you need to shut down that blemish in a hurry (ie, that big school dance or big event), visit your Dermatology provider for a cortisone shot. Does kenalog injection work immediately? The answer is "yes," generally overnight. How much is a cortisone shot? That will depend on your Dermatology provider. When seeking a cortisone shot for acne, it's very important that you go to an experienced provider so that the proper dose of cortisone is administered: just enough to help the acne lesion resolve without causing side effects of steroid atrophy. 

I hope that this list informs you in selecting the best option for you when that dreaded pimple next appears!


--Dr. Angela