Zits are the worst. Like an annoying ex-boyfriend, they’re never welcome and always manage to have the most terrible timing. And as if they weren’t already the most unpleasant part of our lives, some zits manage to go above and beyond levels of “bad” by sticking around for more than just a day or two. We don’t want you to go through life with a month-long pimple problem, so we’ve come up with a few tips on how to give these blemishes the boot.

How to Treat Acne

Whatever You Do, Don’t Pop It

This is the stuff of Skincare 101. While popping or picking that pesky zit that’s been the bane of your existence for the past week may bring you instant gratification, it could bring some added stress in the form of acne scars and infections shortly thereafter. Popping a pimple actually causes you to rip the skin. Couple that with dirt and bacteria from your fingers and you’ve got a gnarly situation on your hands face. So, just resist the urge and think about the catastrophe you’re avoiding by keeping your hands to yourself.

Calm It Down

Instead of attacking your blemish, take a more peaceful approach with some calming products and treatments. Boston-based dermatologist Emmy Graber suggests starting off with an anti-inflammatory to reduce the redness. You can take ibuprofen orally or crush it up, mix it with a bit of water and place it directly on the zit. You can also fight redness with a bit of hydrocortisone, which also helps in shrinking down the pimple.

RELATED: 5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Acne

Use Tried-And-True Ingredients

Agents like sulfur and benzoyl peroxide have long been used to fight acne and breakouts. Dr. Graber suggests using a spot treatment containing one of these ingredients to help shrink the pimple and keep it sterile. Our faces pick up a lot of bacteria and toxins, which can aggravate breakouts and prolong the process of getting rid of them. So, using cleansers or moisturizers with these ingredients could also be helpful in keeping your face as clean as possible as you go about your day.

Product Recommendations: Kiehl’s Acne Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Treatment, SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

When In Doubt, Speak to a Professional

If weeks have gone by and you’ve attempted all of the above with nothing to show for it but a stubborn pimple or blemish, it might be time to pay your dermatologist a visit. He or she will be able to give you some insight on why the breakout isn’t fading, along with the steps you need to take to get your face to a pimple-free state.

Model: Erica Souza


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