How to Heal a Breakout

A woman looks in the mirror, towel around her hair, covering a spot with her finger

credit: Getty Images


We've all had that sinking feeling of waking up with a massive breakout. Nothing can ruin your day quicker. Breakouts have a way of showing up when you least want to deal with them and always overstay their welcome. We have some tips on how to heal those pesky pimples:

 

Let's Cool Down

Acne is the result of inflammation in the skin, and fresh bumps tend to make inflammation even worse. If you’re going to heal a breakout, addressing the inflammation is the first step.

Ice is very helpful in calming redness and swelling — wrap a single ice cube in a paper towel and hold it over the bump for five minutes. If you’re experiencing a cluster breakout or if the rest of your skin also feels heated or itchy, hold a cold compress (a bag of frozen peas or something similar) onto your skin for a couple minutes. Anything you can do to keep your skin cool is helpful against inflammation.

 

Spot Treat Carefully

Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sulfur masks have long been the standard go-tos for spot treatments. While these ingredients definitely effectively dry out spots, they can also leave them flaky and even more irritated than before.

Rather than reaching for a drying treatment, spot treat with a hydrocolloid bandage that will draw out the infection while keeping the spot hydrated.

 

Do It Correctly

We all know we shouldn't pick but if you really can’t stand not to pick at a bump, be sure you’re doing it the right way. A pimple must have a visible white head before you consider popping it. If the bump doesn’t extract easily with one or two attempts - STOP! Give it some time to come closer to the surface, as this is the only way to avoid scarring and hyperpigmentation.

If you have a white head, steam your skin or take a shower to loosen up the pores. Make a warm compress with a washcloth and hold it over what you hope to extract. Only use clean fingers and slowly squeeze. Do not use tweezers or tools as this causes more damage.

 

Fade It Away

After care of a breakout is just as important as tending to them, as they tend to leave behind discoloration that can be stubborn to correct. Use a exfoliator and some redness colour corrector to help.