How To Get Rid Of Pimples 

Picture this — it’s the morning of your first day of work and in the bathroom mirror, you see a big, red pimple on the tip of your nose. Now, you’ll go around greeting new coworkers looking like Ronald McDonald. As Singaporeans would say, that’s damn suay

Okay, even if having a pimple isn’t the end of the world, we can all admit that life would be better without sore blemishes popping up on our faces. To help you out, we’ve compiled a guide to pimples and how to get rid of them. 

How are pimples formed? 

Pimples are formed when your pores become clogged with excess sebum, dead skin cells, or dirt. When bacteria grows in your pores, it leads to a nasty infection which forms pus-filled bumps. 

What should I not do when I have pimples? 

Though it might seem tempting to wash your face frequently when you have pimples, over-washing your face can actually cause your breakout to become worse. It can leave your skin feeling tight, dry, or worse, irritated and when this happens, more painful bumps may appear. 

Also, make sure not to use harsh soaps and chemicals on your face — no matter how badly you want to get rid of your pimples. Doing so can end up making your acne worse. 

If you have itchy fingers, you’ll need to keep this in mind — do not pop your pimples. Doing so can increase the amount of time needed for them to heal and cause scarring. 

Pimple creams and ointments


There are many pimple creams on the market. But, not all of them may work on your skin. Instead of randomly picking a pimple cream from the shelves in Guardian or Watsons, consider researching different acne products online. Take a close look at the ingredients in each ointment to see which type of cream suits you best.

Below, we’ve added some information about the two most common active ingredients in pimple creams. 

1. Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that helps to chemically exfoliate the skin. It is a keratolytic, which means it has the ability to break down the outer layers of the skin and remove dead skin cells. This can help to unclog pores. 

What’s more, salicylic acid also encourages cell turnover, which means that pimples can heal faster. When used consistently, it helps to prevent future breakouts. 

2. Benzoyl peroxide

Unlike salicylic acid which works best on blackheads and whiteheads, benzoyl peroxide is most effective for getting rid of red, pus-filled pimples — aka pustules. Note that products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide should not be used together as they can dry out your skin and cause peeling. 

Benzoyl peroxide helps to remove excess oil and dead skin cells. In addition, it is also able to kill acne-causing bacteria, which helps to reduce inflammation and cure infections. 

Pimple patches 

Pimple patches are godsent with their ability to reduce swelling and protect our pimples from further infections. More often than not, a pimple patch left on overnight can significantly calm down an angry pimple. 

There are two main types of pimple patches — hydrocolloid patches and patches with microneedles. 

1. Hydrocolloid patches 


Hydrocolloid is a polymer that forms a gel when in contact with moisture. When used to manufacture pimple patches, it results in a patch that is able to absorb any gunk that flows out of your pimple, like pus. 

Additionally, the hydrocolloid gel also helps to create a moist environment for your broken skin to heal. Since it covers your pimple up, it prevents more bacteria from entering the open wound.

Unfortunately, hydrocolloid patches do not work on pimples without any fluid. They are unlikely to help with getting rid of blackheads and whiteheads. 

2. Patches with microneedles 


For early-stage pimples, opt for pimple patches with microneedles. These patches have very fine darts that pierce through the skin and deliver active skincare ingredients — like salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid more efficiently. 

If you’re afraid of pain, fret not as these pimple patches do not hurt at all. You may feel a slight prick when you first use them though. 

Aesthetic Procedures 

1. Chemical peels


If you find yourself having to use acne patches all over your face, it may be time to pull out the big guns. Consider getting a chemical peel at a clinic, which helps to remove the topmost layer of your skin to reveal a new, untouched layer. This means that you can say goodbye to dead skin and acne. Besides the initial removal of dead skin and acne, chemical peels also increases the rate at which your skin absorbs skincare products.

Solutions used in chemical peels typically consist of different types of acids, like lactic acid, salicylic acid, and carbolic acid. Sometimes, they will also include retinoids, which unclog pores and help other chemicals be more effective. 

After a chemical peel, make sure to moisturise your face frequently and apply sunscreen whenever you go out. For at least 48 hours after the peel, do not wear makeup or expose your skin to the sun excessively as it may cause irritation.

2. Laser treatments


While laser treatments can help to reduce acne, you should not rely on them alone to clear your skin. Instead, pair them with topical treatments that are prescribed by your dermatologists after your laser sessions. 

Laser treatments help to control sebum production, reduce inflammation, speed up recovery, and prevent scar formation. Most importantly, it prevents the further development of acne — undergoing multiple treatments will significantly decrease your risk of breakouts. 

It can be confusing with so many different types of lasers to choose from. To be safe, consult your dermatologist who will analyse your skin and pinpoint the perfect laser treatment for you. 

3. Cortisone shots


For days when you need to get rid of a pimple ASAP, heading to the dermatologist for a cortisone shot is your best bet. In such situations, the doctor will inject a diluted corticosteroid directly into your pimple to reduce its swelling and inflammation. In one or two days, your pimple should be flattened and less red. 

However, keep in mind that cortisone shots are only reserved for cystic acne. They do not work on typical pustules. 

4. Surgery


For large painful pimples and cysts, you may need to resort to acne surgery. There are two common types of acne extraction surgery — an incision and drainage procedure, as well as a blemish extraction.

During an incision and drainage procedure, your dermatologist will create a small cut on your cyst or nodule with a needle or a scalpel. Then, they will drain the blemish accordingly.

A blemish extraction is less extreme. Instead of making an incision, your doctor will use a special extraction tool to push the gunk out of your pimple. 

5. Cryotherapy 


Cryotherapy is typically used to treat warts and skin tags. But, they can also be used to remove pimples. The procedure involves spraying a cold liquid onto your pimples, like liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide. As the liquid comes into contact with your skin, it promotes skin cell turnover and reduces inflammation. 

After a while, the pimple will start to freeze. Typically, there will be multiple rounds of freezing and thawing your pimple to ensure that it sloughs off. 

Foods that can cause pimples 

Other than genetics which are beyond our control, diet affects your body a lot more than you think. In fact, what you consume can have a significant impact on your skin. 

Here, we’ve included some foods that increase the likelihood of pimples. If you have acne-prone skin, it’s best to avoid these foods, or at least eat them in moderation. 

1. High glycemic foods 


High glycemic foods are foods that cause your blood sugar to rise quickly after they are consumed. While these foods can give you a much-needed energy boost, they can actually cause acne — if consumed excessively. 

When your blood sugar rises expeditiously, it stimulates the release of a type of insulin-like growth factor. Having an excess of this hormone in your blood can result in your oil glands working overtime, producing too much sebum — which in turns clogs your pores and forms pimples. 

High glycemic foods include white rice, white bread, french fries, and pasta. 

2. Dairy 


Surprisingly, too much dairy can also cause acne. This is because some of the hormones in milk can exacerbate inflammation. What’s more, just like high glycemic foods, dairy products can stimulate the release of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) into your bloodstream. For context, this hormone is also released in significant amounts during puberty — which is why so many teens experience breakouts when they mature. 

3. Eggs 


Eggs are probably one of the most versatile ingredients out there. I mean, you can fry them, scramble them, boil them, you name it. However, eating too many of them can cause breakouts. 

Since eggs are extremely rich in biotin — a type of vitamin B — eating too many of them  can result in excess keratin production. The extra keratin produced can then end up clogging the pores of our skin, resulting in the formation of pimples. 

Foods that are beneficial for the skin 

In contrast, here are some foods that are effective in combating acne. 

1. Pumpkin seeds


Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which reduces inflammation and increases skin turnover. As a result, pimples can heal more effectively. Moreover, zinc can help to regulate the amount of oil on your skin. This reduces the likelihood of your pores clogging up and hence, lowers the risk of you breaking out. 

2. Quinoa and lentils 


Consider replacing your daily grains like rice and noodles with quinoa and lentils. Not only are they delicious, but they also act as a home remedy for acne. 

Both are low-glycemic foods. While lentils are rich in zinc, quinoa contains a significant amount of vitamin B3 — niacinamide — which, like zinc, helps to regulate oil production in skin. 

P.S. Niacinamide also helps to treat hyperpigmentation. Add some quinoa into your diet and you can look forward to your pimple scars fading. 

3. Berries


Whether it’s straw-, blue-, or rasp-, berries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. Not only do they boost your immune system, but they also help to repair damaged skin and prevent breakouts, since they are rich in antioxidants. 

For the unacquainted, antioxidants help to reduce inflammation and hasten the skin’s renewal process. Some antioxidants even stimulate the production of collagen, which helps to strengthen, plump, and hydrate your skin. FYI, dry skin can cause acne since it increases the likelihood of dead skin cells clogging your pores. Ew.

Can ice heal pimples?

While ice cannot magically make your pimple disappear, it can give that effect by decreasing swelling and redness. 

Since ice numbs the skin, it can also alleviate the pain of severely inflamed pimples. However, while using ice to calm pimples down is common and generally safe, you should not ice your skin for too long; it can cause frostbite.

Clear Up Your Skin With This Guide On How To Get Rid Of Pimples 

As much as I hate to admit it, pimples are natural, and getting them every so often is ultimately inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean that we need to be okay with having painful, pus-filled bumps on our faces. Hopefully, this guide will make dealing with pimples that much easier, so you can put your best face forward. 

Cover image: Source

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