4 Ways to Reduce
Pimple Redness Fast
We’ve all been there: You wake up the morning of a big event and—OMG—there’s a big, red, inflamed zit that popped up seemingly out of nowhere. What can you do about it? Plenty, says Linda Stein Gold, M.D., a dermatologist in West Bloomfield, Michigan and an Acne Store advisory board member. But beware of some of the home remedies for reducing acne redness circulating the web. “There are so many folksy ‘cures’ out there,” she says. “But there are better options available.” We asked Stein Gold for her no-fail calming tips, so you can stop seeing red—at least in your blemishes.
1. Use these acne redness fighters
What to apply? Stein Gold likes over-the-counter acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide, which quells inflammation as it kills acne-causing bacteria, as well as adapalene, which increases cell turnover and has anti-inflammatory properties. Both ingredients reduce acne redness and the clog.
2. Keep your hands off that red pimpleWhen you have a really inflamed red pimple, it’s tempting to squeeze it away. “You think you’re going to get some of that stuff out, and that’s always quite satisfying, but you can also push some of it deeper into the skin,” says Stein Gold. And that triggers an inflammatory process, which can lead to more pimple redness, irritation, and eventually breakouts. So leave it alone—or leave it to the pros. “If we want to open an acne lesion, we do it sterilely to make sure we’re not going to induce infection or scarring,” she says.
3. Use concealer to reduce pimple redness the right way
“I’ll never tell someone they can’t cover a pimple with makeup,” says Stein Gold. “I cover up mine.” Apply a thin layer of your medication first, and let it dry before topping with makeup,” she says. You may want to try a green concealer, which neutralizes the redness (think about that color wheel from art class). Then cover with your regular foundation. If you have an open sore or scab, wear concealer and makeup only when necessary. Then cleanse your skin as soon as possible and apply medication.
4. Consider a compress for your pimpleYou may have heard that warm compresses can help reduce pimple redness faster—but it really depends on the type of acne you have. “If you have a lot of blackheads, warmth can help loosen them up,” says Stein Gold. If you have a red, hot pimple, that won’t help much—and may make it more red. Instead, use a cool washcloth to calm it down.
Linda Stein Gold, M.D.
Dr. Linda Stein Gold, Chair of the Acne Store Board of Dermatologists, is the Director of Dermatology Clinical Research and Division Head of Dermatology at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. She received her medical degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, completed an internship in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
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