Put an End to Adult Acne
How to Clear Under the Skin Pimples
Pimples are hair follicles that are clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Sometimes they form the typical white or blackheads, but other times they don't. They may instead form hard, red nodules under your skin. With proper care, you may be able to prevent your under the skin pimple from getting worse and help it go away.
Keeping the Area Clean
Wash the area.This will remove extra oil and dead skin that could further irritate the pimple and contribute to the growth of bacteria.The pimple will probably be sore, so use a soft washcloth to wipe gently with warm water.
- Wash at least twice a day. Do not scrub hard. The hair follicle is already stretched from the infection and you don’t want it to rupture.
- If you use soap, use a mild, oil-free, water-based product. Oily soaps may leave a film that can contribute to clogging your pores.
- If the pimples are in an area where your hair can reach them, use hair clips, a ponytail, or braid to keep your hair off your face. Your hair can transfer oils to your skin and make them worse. If you cannot keep your hair away from the area, wash it so that it will have less oil to transfer to your skin.
Do not touch or squeeze pimples under your skin.Because it is not open to the air, it is somewhat protected. If you touch or squeeze it, you will cause the skin above it to burst open.
- This will cause an open wound which is more vulnerable to infection and scarring.
Don’t irritate the pimple with lots of sunlight.Sunshine can trigger outbreaks in some people. If you are more likely to get pimples when you are in the sun, protect the area with a non-oily sunscreen or moisturizer with sunscreen in it.
- In addition, sunlight can cause sunburns, aging of the skin, and increases your risk of skin cancer.
- This is especially important when the sunlight is strongest. This includes near the equator, at the beach where it also reflects off the water, and during the summer months. Even when it is cloudy, UV rays still penetrate the clouds, so you still need to protect your skin.
- If you are worried the sunscreen will aggravate your pimples, wear a hat instead, but remember your neck and parts of your face may be exposed.
Go without makeup or use only oil-free cosmetics.Makeup can also mix with the oil on your skin to clog pores. The safest route is to not put makeup on the pimples. But if that is not an option, look for products that say noncomedogenic on the label. That means that they won’t form a plug in your pores. You'll want to choose water- or mineral-based makeup.
- Oily, waxy foundations are more likely to seal the bacteria and dirt into the pimple. Then as the bacteria multiply, the pressure will grow in the pimple and it is more likely to pop out as a whitehead or blackhead.
- Do not sleep with your makeup on. Cleanse your skin before bed so it will have a chance to rest and breathe. This will prevent bacteria from building up.
Prevent workout clothing from rubbing against the area when you exercise.This is important because the skin is stretched and swollen. Rough contact may tear the skin and sweaty clothing rubs the oils from your skin into your pores, potentially making the infection worse.
- Wear loose clothing which is made from natural cloth that will breath better. This will prevent the wet sweat from being held against your skin. An alternative is to wear clothes made of materials that wick the moisture away from your skin, helping it to evaporate faster. The tags on the clothing will tell you whether they are moisture-wicking material.
- Take a bath or shower after exercise. This will remove excess oil and dead skin cells.
Applying Nonprescription Medications
Apply nonprescription medications.These products will facilitate peeling, dry oils, and reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not apply them more often than recommended. Consult a doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or treating a child. Products with the following ingredients are generally effective:
- Benzoyl peroxide (usually the mot effective OTC treatment)
- Salicylic acid
Experiment with alternative medicines and supplements.Talk to your doctor before using these medications, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or treating a child. Though they are over-the-counter, they may interact with other medications you may be taking. In addition, the dosages are not tightly regulated the way they are for other medications and not all have been thoroughly studied.
- Zinc lotions
- Lotions with 2% green tea extract
- 50% aloe vera gel
- Brewer’s yeast, strain CBS 5926. This is an oral medication.
Grind aspirin to make a home remedy.The active ingredient in aspirin is salicylic acid, similar to many acne medications.
- Pulverize an aspirin pill and add a drop or two of water. Rub the solution into your pimple. Wash off any extra that isn’t absorbed.
Using Natural Remedies and Lifestyle Changes
Apply ice to the pimple.The cold will reduce the swelling and make it less likely to rupture the skin. It will also make smaller, less red, and less obvious.
- You can use an ice pack or package of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel. Apply the ice for five minutes and then give your skin a chance to warm up. You should see improvement.
Use tea tree oil to reduce the bacteria on your skin.This will be beneficial in helping it heal if it does break the skin.
- Tea tree oil must be diluted before it can be applied to your skin. For acne, dilute it in water so that the mixture contains 5% tea tree oil and 95% water. Wash the area with a clean wash cloth, being careful not to get in your eyes, nose, or mouth. After 15–20 minutes, rinse it off.
- Tea tree oil is not good for people who have sensitive skin. It can cause contact dermatitis and rosacea.
Try an acidic home remedy.Similar to the tea tree oil, it will kill bacteria in case the pimple breaks through the skin. It will keep your skin dry to prevent the buildup of natural oils. There are several options and you can pick based on what you have available in the house: lemon juice, lime juice, or apple cider vinegar.
- Make a 1:3 dilution and wash the area with it. Do not get it in your nose or eyes. If you get it in your eyes it will hurt — flush your eyes with water immediately.
Do not exfoliate.Exfoliating or using harsh substances on your skin may make your acne look and feel worse. The following are not recommended:
- Alcohol-based substances that will dry your skin
Help your skin fight the infection with a cucumber mask.Your skin will absorb potassium and vitamins A, C, and E. The healthier your skin is, the better it will fight the infection in the pore.
- Peel and mash up a half a cucumber. You can leave the seeds in. Dab the liquid onto the pimples and give it at least 15 minutes to be absorbed into your skin. Then wash the area with clean water.
- It may be sticky so avoid getting dirty or dusty while you have the mask on.
Manage stress.Stress causes physiological and hormonal changes in your body, including increased sweating. Managing stress may help prevent pimples that are under your skin from becoming full-blown outbreaks with whitehead and blackheads.
- Try exercising several times a week. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, which are your natural painkillers. They help reduce anxiety, improve your mood, and help you relax. The Mayo Clinic recommends at least 75 minutes of exercise per week. This can be walking, biking, hiking, playing sports, or doing physically active chores like raking leaves or shoveling snow.
- Try relaxation techniques. Different methods work for different people; however, popular methods include: meditation, yoga, tai chi, visualizing calming images, progressively relaxing different muscle groups in your body, or listening to soothing music.
- Get enough sleep. The amount needed varies from person to person, but most people need about 8 hours each night. Teenagers may need several hours more.
Avoid foods that may trigger pimples.What brings on pimples will vary from person to person, but common problem foods are dairy products, sugar, and carbohydrate-rich foods.
- Contrary to widely held beliefs, research does not support there being a link between fatty foods and pimples.
- To be safe, you may want to avoid chocolate. The evidence is unclear, but most chocolate products also contain a lot of sugar, which may trigger pimples.
Go to a doctor if home care doesn’t help.Prescription medications are stronger and should produce results. It may take one to two months before you really see a difference. Options include:
- Topical retinoids (Avita, Retin-A, Differin, and others) to reduce the formation of plugs in your pores or antibiotics to prevent skin infections. If your acne is very severe, your doctor may recommend isotretinoin (Accutane). Follow your doctor’s recommendations and the manufactuer’s instructions when using them.
- Oral antibiotics to kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and facilitate healing.
- Oral contraceptives (Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Estrostep, Yaz) which contain estrogen and progestin may be prescribed for women and girls. This is usually reserved for severe, treatment-resistant acne.
- Your doctor may also recommend other treatments such as injections into the pimple, extractions, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or light or laser treatments to help treat and prevent pimples.
QuestionWhat soap should I use to clear the acne on my face?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerClean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser (available for sensitive skin), Clinique, CeraVe, Neutrogena, Eucerin and you can find various soaps and face washes to clear acne in any local pharmacy, but the most important thing is to remember that over-washing your face may cause a break out, so avoid drying out your face too much.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I get rid of acne?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUse a cleanser with Salicylic Acid 2% twice a day and a topical cream with Benzoyl Peroxide in it, like Clearasil or a generic (cheaper) version. Cut out chocolate, sugary drinks, fatty, greasy junk foods, eat plenty of healthy and lean protein, fruit, veggies, and drinks lots of water. Get fresh air and sunshine, 8 hours of sleep, laugh a lot, and have fun in your life. Don't pick and pop your pimples and don't keep thinking about them and worrying about them! Worry and stress will make them worse!Thanks!
QuestionMy nose has bumpy skin, but it is not red or irritated. I have been putting ice on it and it doesn't help. Is this acne, and what can I do?Community AnswerThis could be the start of blackheads. Invest in a relaxing blackhead removal face mask or nose strip. It could also be acne.Thanks!
QuestionI've tried lots of home remedies. What else can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSee a dermatologist.Thanks!
QuestionWhat kind of foods will trigger pimples?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJunk food, especially the stuff that's high in oil, can contribute to pimples. It's best to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, and make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.Thanks!
- Always consult a doctor before applying any medications, even over-the-counter medications, to children or women who are pregnant or nursing.
Sources and Citations
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