There’s nothing worse than having a gigantic monster-of-a-zit pop up on your face -especially before a big event! The key to damage control is knowing how to handle the pimple. Yes, pimples come in different forms -from surface whiteheads to deeply embedded cysts, so it’s important to know what kind of pimple you’re dealing with. There are four steps to wrangling a pimple: identify, extract, treat, conquer. Here’s how to give your unwelcome dermal guest the boot.
What You’ll Need
Sulfur/Zinc Acne Treatment (Margarite Zinc Cream recommended)
Healing Ointment (Pyratine XR Intensive Anti Redness Healing Ointment recommended)
Bandaids and/or Nexcare Acne Absorbing Cover
First and foremost, you need to understand what kind of pimple you’re dealing with. There are pimples that can be extracted and others that should definitely be left alone! Aggravating a deeply embedded cystic pimple yourself is a recipe for disaster. Those types of monsters should be left to the pros -dermatologists and estheticians.
So, how do you know what kind of zit you’re dealing with? First, does the pimple have visible whitehead or is it just a big red lump? Pimples that have visible whiteheads are ready for extraction. If the pimple is just a big red lump that is painful and deep with no head, leave it alone! If you attempt to squeeze a pimple without a head, you will make it much worse. In this case, you’re better off icing it and treating it with a healing ointment and bandaid. Or, if you have a big event the next day, we recommend getting a cortisone shot from a dermatologist. A cortisone shot will drastically reduce the pimple overnight, but it requires seeing a doctor and can be a little pricey -about $50 per shot plus the cost of the doctor’s visit.
1. Depending on what type of pimple you have, you can either extract with clean fingers, a tool or you may need a tool and a lancet. We also highly recommend using a magnifying mirror to help you see the pimple clearly. A magnifying mirror will help you identify if a pimple has a head and if there’s still pus left in it.
2. Next, if your pimple is mostly on the surface and has a head, wrap your index fingers in tissue and using a magnifying mirror, gently squeeze the pimple until it begins to drain. Wipe away contents and gently continue to squeeze until all the pus is removed. If the pimple is in an awkward spot or is difficult to squeeze with your fingers, use a metal extraction tool instead. A metal extraction tool will help you remove the pimple more quickly and with less damage than your fingers. You’ll know the pimple is done draining when the pus is gone and you begin to see clear fluid or blood. At this point, stop squeezing. Important: Always be gentle when extracting. You should never squeeze hard enough that you break the skin around the pimple.
3. Immediately wash your face and the affected area with a gentle cleanser. Washing your face after extraction will help remove any remaining bacteria that may have spread from the pimple extraction.
4. Spot treat the pimple with a thick layer of sulfur/zinc acne treatment. You can also use benzoyl peroxide, but it may cause more redness. A sulfur/zinc treatment like Margarite Zinc Cream will help kill the bacteria and reduce redness while still being gentle. (This is our go-to product. It’s also a tinted mineral formula in a great color that actually conceals the pimple.) The key here is spot treating. Only apply acne treatment to individual pimples. It’s not necessary to apply all over your face.
5. Next, apply a cold compress to the pimple for 10-20 minutes (the longer the better). Crushed ice in a ziplock bag works the best. This will help reduce redness and swelling.
6. Last, apply a pea-sized dab of healing ointment such as Pyratine XR Intensive Anti Redness Healing Ointment. This will help calm the redness, purge any remaining clogs, and reduce swelling overnight. As an alternative you can use Neosporin, though it’s not as effective as Pyratine XR. Cover with a small bandaid. You might also want to try Nexcare’s Acne Absorbing Covers. These handy little patches originated in Asia and they act like a vacuum to absorb oil and bacteria from pimples.
If you’ve done multiple extractions on your face and you’re generally red, check out our guide on relieving post-extraction facial redness: