It happens to everyone, usually at the worst possible time. The night before a big date or the morning of an important job interview, a gigantic red pimple appears from out of nowhere, shining like a spotlight on your nose, chin or forehead. Formed by oil that clogs hair follicles, pimples can undermine your confidence and make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. These tips aren't intended to cure ongoing acne, but they can be effective in the treatment of the occasional outbreak.
Begin by visually inspecting the pimple. While you may be tempted to squeeze or pop the pimple, resist the urge, as this can lead to permanent scarring. The pimple is a mild form of infection, and attempting to remove it prematurely can force the bacteria even further beneath the skin, aggravating the problem rather than resolving it. If the pimple has not formed a yellowish tinge just beneath the surface, it is not ready for removal and you must use topical treatments only.
Wash your hands and face with mild soap and warm water. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Apply any of the following directly to the pimple and skin surrounding the area of the infection: over-the-counter pimple medication containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid; tea tree oil; honey; plain yogurt; lemon juice; or toothpaste. These compounds contain ingredients or elements with antibacterial properties, which can fight the infection. Additionally, they balance the pH of the skin, which reduces visible redness and swelling, making the pimple much less noticeable until it is ready for removal.
Once the pimple has fully developed, prepare for removal by swabbing the affected area with isopropyl alcohol. Dip the pointed end of a sewing needle in the alcohol to sterilize it. Place the tip of the needle against the crest of the pimple and gently poke through the top layer of skin. Once the surface has been pierced, place small pieces of tissue on either side of the pimple and lightly squeeze. Remove the thick, yellow fluid that emerges by wiping it away with clean tissue and continue to squeeze until the liquid emerging from the infection site is clear. Swab the area with alcohol one more time to prevent further infection and cover with a small bandage or a layer of antibiotic cream.