You’ve got a big event tomorrow and your body decides to surprise you with something you really don’t need: a giant, red pimple. So now instead of preparing for your big day, you’re left perusing the Internet for advice on how to get rid of pimples overnight.
Well, welcome to the club. Pesky pimples happen to the best of us – and usually at the worst of times – but that doesn’t mean you have to lie down and take it.
Your pimple doesn’t want you to know this, but there are a number of highly effective, quick ways to get rid of pimples.
Here are the best ways to get rid of pimples overnight!
Use a Pimple Spot Treatment
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Spot treatments are your front-line soldiers in your battle against pimples. Seriously, the moment you see or feel a pimple rearing its ugly head, reach for one of the best pimple spot treatments.
Why? Simply because these formulas pack several of the most effective pimple-fighting ingredients into a potent punch. They’ll dry that pimple out while fighting acne bacteria, clearing pores, and even aiding in faster healing so you won’t be left with a post-pimple scar.
You can see results from the most powerful pimple treatments within a few hours.
So what are the best ones? If you don’t have it already, we highly recommend Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion. It’s a great combo of ingredients like sulfur and zinc oxide – both of which are great for sucking the pimple dry – mixed with pore-cleansing ingredients like salicylic acid and camphor.
Got skin that does well with benzoyl peroxide? You’ll want to check out La Roche-Posay's Dual Action Acne Treatment. It’s one of the most powerful pimple spot treatments you can use on a zit. It is formulated with a micronized form of benzoyl peroxide (5.5%) benzoyl that has smaller particles so it can penetrate your pores more deeply to wipe out the pesky pimple.
Try Pimple Home Remedies
If you can’t get your hands on one of the best spot treatments, you can whip up something similar at home. It may not be as potent, but with a little improvisation, you can get similar effects.
To disinfect, try apple cider vinegar, manuka honey, and either garlic or onion. They all have antibacterial properties, and raw garlic and onion contain a natural form of sulfur as well!
To dry out your pimples, mix a mask of cinnamon and honey or baking soda and water. Both are simple and effective ways to reduce the size of pimples. Want more options? Toothpaste works in a pinch, and even diaper rash cream is great (it’s got zinc oxide, after all).
Want more options? Check out our full list of home remedies for pimples!
Do an Overnight Mask
- Helps remove impaction plugs from the follicle
- Relieve congestion and prevent breakouts
- Inhibits overactive sebaceous activity and purifies to promote skin clarity
Your skin naturally heals and repairs itself while you sleep. So it just makes sense to take full advantage of this deep repair by adding in an overnight pimple treatment.
The best one is Dermalogica's Overnight Clearing Gel. It’s a lightweight gel that combines the most effective pimple fighting, pore-clearing ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and camphor. It also has skin soothers like biotin and niacinamide to combat potential irritation.
The result is a highly effective gel that won’t dry out or irritate even sensitive skin. Leave it on overnight to shrink that pesky pimple to extinction.
Clear with Clay and Charcoal
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Super absorbent masks that suck oil and impurities out of your pores are a great way to dry out pimples quickly. The main ingredients you’ll find in the majority of such masks? Activated charcoal and clay.
It’s no surprise why. Activated charcoal has the ability to absorb the gunk and toxins that plague your skin. It’s basically charcoal that has been treated in order to increase its ability to absorb particles. It’s been used for years in the treatment of drug or alcohol overdoses, because it has the unique ability to be able to combine with toxins in our bodies. Charcoal essentially ‘traps’ these chemicals and prevents their absorption into our blood.
Activated charcoal works in the same manner on your skin, drawing toxins and other nasties out that would otherwise clog your pores. As for clays, they work in a similar manner and also have deeply absorbent and detoxifying properties.
We recommend bentonite clay when it comes to quick and easy pimple remedies, since it’s one of the most absorbent of clays. Here’s how it works: once it’s hydrated, this clay swells open like an immensely-absorbent sponge, and its electrical components change to a strongly negative charge. This gives it the power to draw out and soak up toxins, excess oils, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other impurities from your pores.
You should always have a stash box of activated charcoal powder and No products found. on hand. It’s just smart practice.
Zap the Pimple with Blue Light
- Kill Acne Bacteria
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Blue light kills acne-causing bacteria (P. acnes) found in oil glands in the skin, while infrared light (heat) causes oil glands to shrink in size. The result? Less acne-causing bacteria and less oil in the skin, naturally leading to fewer pimples.
It’s especially useful for treating red, inflamed pimples. While it won’t magically make large painful cysts vanish, it’ll help them dry out and heal faster without inflammation.
This one’s a godsend for those with sensitive skin. Blue lights targets excess oil and acne bacteria without irritating or drying out the rest of your skin.
How to use it? You can schedule a session with your local esthetician or dermatologist, but that will run you $35 to $300 per session. A better option is to get a home blue light device. The best one by far is Baby Quasar MD. It’s got a big price tag, but it’s a lot cheaper over time.
Do a (Partial) Chemical Peel
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Chemical peels aren’t as scary as they sound. As long as you stick to lower concentration superficial peels (and follow the instructions to a T), you can do them right at home. The best news? A peel can dry out a pimple overnight while also improving your overall skin tone and complexion.
For pimples, the best chemical peel to choose is salicyclic acid, an oil-soluble beta-hydroxy-acid (BHA) that helps dry out, exfoliate, and de-gunk pimples and pores. Not only does the peel help get rid of pimples faster, it also helps prevent post-pimple scarring by increasing cell turnover and renewal.
Just keep in mind that you can experience mild redness and shedding after a peel. So if you have an important event the next day, use it just on the pimple (or the area affected by pimples).
Steam and Extract the Pimple
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And by extract, we mean popping that pesky pimple! Picking and popping at pimples is generally not recommended, but if you must, pimples can be popped safely – without more irritation and increasing your risk of scarring – as long as you go about it the right way.
The three most important rules of thumb to follow in a pimple extraction are:
- Use tools, not your fingers. Dirt and bacteria on your fingers or under your nails can easily transfer to already irritated pores. Pick up a professional extractor kit – they’re not expensive – and use these in lieu of fingers. They’re more exact and sterile.
- Disinfect everything. This includes your face, your hands, and all the extraction tools you’ll be using.
- Choose wisely. Not all pimples are pop-able – only go for the ones that have a white or yellow-ish head. This indicates the sebum is already close to the surface. Don’t try to extract blind pimples without a head – you know, the painful bumps under your skin – because trying to force these out will only piss the pimple off and make it grow larger and you’ll irritate the skin around that pimple.
Before you begin extracting a pimple, we recommend steaming your face for at least a few minutes to open up your pores and make the extraction easier. The heat from the steam also softens the clogged sebum inside your skin and make it easier to squeeze out. If you don’t have a facial steamer, you can hold your head over a bowl of heated water with a towel over your head to trap the heat.
When your face is clean and prepped and your extractor tools are disinfected and ready to go, you’re ready to extract! Use the flat round or oval ends to exert pressure on pimples, use the needle end to release trapped sebum, and know when to give up!
And make sure you do proper aftercare for your popped pimples to help them heal. Disinfect them with rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, or even a diluted mix of apple cider vinegar. Then dab on something soothing like aloe vera, antibiotic gel, or an acne cream. Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion is great for this since it has a combination of soothing, drying ingredients as well as disinfecting alcohol.
Eliminate Pimples with Cortisone Shots
If you’ve got a real rager on your hands, your best bet may be to shoot your pimple.
The truth is that for big, red, inflamed cystic pimples, there’s not much that you can do for it to make it go away overnight.
But your dermatologist can. It’s a procedure called intralesional corticosteroid injection (aka steroid shot, cortisone shot, or cyst injection), and it works like this: a dermatologist injects a diluted corticosteroid directly into your pimple.
These steroid injections are anti-inflammatory so you’ll see immediately relief from pain and redness. In a few hours, your pimple will be smaller. Within 24 hours, it’ll pretty much be dead and gone.
It’s like magic.