Fast-Acting Acne Remedies Found at Home -

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When I think of "overnight breakouts," I always remember that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the heroine wakes up on the morning of her nuptials with a giant zit on her lip. The cure? Cover-up. Lots and lots of cover-up.  Her husband, on the other hand, cures a similar problem with Windex. Hmmm….

We've all been there. A pimple catches you off guard on an important day. A swarm of eruptions overtakes half your face, severely hindering your photogenic abilities. You reach for makeup and cover-up, skin-drying acne creams, or whatever home remedy your mother swears will zap it quickly.  Some of these options will do the trick, it's true, but that's a lot of work for mixed results. Or to end up wearing so much makeup you look plastic.

But what else can you do? You can't leave it there, glaring at people, can you? No, and I won't ask you to do that. The next time you suffer your own acne eruption, be prepared with these proven home remedies and tricks.

Surprising Household Remedies

One great resource, simply named How to Get Rid of Zits, offers a list of surprising remedies you'll find in your kitchen, pantry, or bathroom cabinet already. Some of my favorites include:

  • Baking soda. Mixed with water to form a paste, this handy kitchen must-have works like a mask. Just slather it over your zits before you go to bed then rinse it in the morning.
  • Toothpaste. For a quick anti-redness trick, cover your pimples with toothpaste, leave for 10 minutes or so, then rinse. (Try to avoid complicated whitening formulas, as these can cause reactions to sensitive skin types.) For a deeper cure, cover the toothpasted pimples with a bandage and leave overnight. Wash the toothpaste off in the morning.
  • Shaving cream. Dab onto pimples, let dry, then rinse away.
  • Cornstarch. Make into a paste with water, then use the mixture as a mask.  This will also help you to exfoliate a little bit!
  • Garlic juice.  Nice and easy, just dab some garlic juice onto the pimple and allow it to dry. While this one works effectively, just be aware that you'll smell like garlic for the day…

Cures from the Pharmacy

Other suggestions from the article Fast Acting Home Remedies may involve a quick stop at the local CVS or Rite Aid. And yes, I've checked the shelves: you can find all of these items in Burlington's pharmacies.

  • Tea tree oil. A natural antibacterial, tea tree oil is something you should probably have on hand anyway. It's a great cleanser for the skin, offering a natural way to heal the pimple from the inside, killing off the p. acne bacteria that caused the breakout in the first place. You can also check out the specialized anti-acne line (made with real tea tree extract) at The Body Shop in the Burlington Mall. Their Tea Tree skin care line is one of the best, one I've sworn by for years.
  • Witch Hazel. This natural extract has anti-inflammatory properties in addition to antibacterial ones. Meaning it will help control the redness of the breakout as well as the root cause (that p. acne bacteria I mentioned). Apply directly to blemishes as needed or use it with a cotton ball as an astringent (or toner) once a day to control oily, acne-prone skin.
  • Hemorrhoid cream. Gross, I know, but this one works, and for good reason to. The same ingredients that control the swelling, inflammation, and irritation of an, ahem, hemorrhoid have the same effect on pimples. Just dab some on. For some, that might be better than smelling like garlic, right?

…On "Popping" Pimples

Here's one last disgusting topic no one wants to hear about. But as a skin care professional, I must ask you to stop popping pimples immediately.  Yes, it's a quick solution to the pimple problem. Pop! Gone. Then you just clear up that redness. But popping one pimple can have a ripple effect on the "healthy" pores of your skin. Pores are a cylinder, so when you squeeze them, stuff comes out the top and the bottom. When you pop a pimple, you're really pushing that dirt, oil, and pus into surrounding pores under the skin. Voila! One pimple becomes a breakout!

Don't want to pop them anymore, do you? I know, gross.

Luckily, I've got one last tip to share.  Go to the mall and hit up your local Sephora. Ask one of the nice employees there for a pimple extractor, sit still long enough to get the how-to-use instructions, and then only (ONLY) "pop" pimples with your new tool. You'll spend around $20, but the easy extractions will make your life easier and your skin happier.

So take this advice and run with it! Good luck curing those blemishes!

About this column:

A column featuring advice, tips and discussions on heath, beauty products and skin care.

21 Sep, 2011

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