Dermatologist Answers: How to Get Rid of a Pimple Before a Big Event

BY Dr. Heather D. Rogers · September 14, 2017

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So you have a pimple. And a big event coming up. Now what?

We have all been in this situation. You have a big event coming and the week before you feel a HUGE acne cyst forming. Do not despair: there is something that can be done to keep a menacing pimple from stealing the show!

What NOT to Do

Do not pick, do not squeeze, and do not dry it out with too much benzoyl peroxide or retinol. All of these things will irritate the top layer of the skin, making it harder for you to cover up the acne. Keep your hands off it!

But If You Really Can’t Help It…

If it feels like it is close to the surface, pressing a warm (not scalding hot) wash cloth for 10 minutes 3 times a day can bring the pimple to the surface, making a whitehead. If there is a whitehead and you feel the need to get in there, wash your face and your hands, and then, using a tissue (so your nails do not touch the skin), gently squeeze the contents out through the whitehead. If it does NOT have a whitehead, squeezing will only push the contents deeper, delaying resolution of the pimple.

If the Pimple Is Deep and Does Not Have a White Head

Remember: If the pimple is deep, call your dermatologist and ask for a short course of doxycycline, an antibiotic that also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties to help settle the pimple. Or, come in to get a steroid injection to the acne cyst to help rapidly shrink the pimple.

READERS—Was this advice helpful? Got other questions on how to take care of acne-prone skin? Ask away in the comment section below. Or, read some of our top articles on acne below.

Dr. Heather D. Rogers

A Washington native, Dr. Heather D. Rogers attended Stanford University, University of Washington School of Medicine then Columbia University Medical... Read More >

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