Admit it: There has been a time in your life, if not multiple, when you've discovered a pimple at the worst possible moment, either on your nose, your chin or smack dab in the middle of your forehead. Before you panic and reach for the DIY hacks that'll likely not work, breathe: Mic asked a few dermatologists just how to get rid of the zit that creeped up on you, in less than 24 hours.
"The best, most effective way [to remove a pimple] is to see your dermatologist for a cortisone injection, which will shrink a pimple down within 24 hours," Dr. Christine Choi Kim said in an interview. These shots are made of a diluted formula of anti-inflammatory steroid medication triamcinolone.
If you are unable to get to a dermatologist in time or would prefer to stay away from a shot, Kim suggested a medicated sticker or a concealer that has salicylic acid in it (something that many brands like Neutrogena and Cover fx sell.)
DIY spot treatments
As for all of the old wives' tales you've heard that miraculously shrink zits, like diaper rash cream or toothpaste? Dr. Kim does not recommend them. "Toothpaste may temporarily dry out a pimple but can be harsh and irritating," she said. "I've seen skin burns from application of oregano oil and apple cider vinegar."
RealSelf contributor Dr. Eric Schweiger added in an interview, "Fight the urge to do bathroom surgery and don't try and pop it yourself."
Due to hormones and stress, it's nearly impossible to stop all random breakouts before they happen. "My best advice is to use a consistent skin-care regimen everyday, even when you don't have a breakout," Kim said.
She recommended products that are oil-free, noncomedogenic, contain zinc or niacinamide and are sulfur-based — and suggested staying away from products with a high alcohol content.
Other things to avoid? "Falling asleep with makeup on is detrimental to your complexion, as is constantly touching or picking at your skin," Schweiger said.
Bottom line: It's best to contact your dermatologist before playing doctor and applying whatever lotions or oils you can get your hands on.