Pimples Home Treatments
Most pimples can be treated with OTC pimple medications. Many medications are available over-the-counter as creams, gels, masks, pads, scrubs, soaps, and toners. The more effective ingredients include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids.
You may have to try different medications and combinations to find a treatment plan that works. Expect it to take several days before you will be able to tell if a treatment is helping, but it may need up to 3 months to be fully effective.
What is the best treatment for pimples?
Retinoids, like adapalene (Differin), are a form of vitamin A that work by keeping pores unclogged. They are one of the most effective pimple treatments. Retinoids are available as a cream, gel, and lotion. Since they can dry out and irritate the skin, it is best to start with a low-dose version, using it once every day or two. You can increase the strength and frequency as you tolerate it. Retinoids are also available in prescription strength.
Salicylic acid prevents pores from clogging. It is in many OTC products, like toners, pads, and creams.
Benzoyl peroxide is an antimicrobial medication that removes bacteria from the skin. It is good for inflammatory acne.
Alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid and lactic acid, remove dead skin cells and reduce inflammation.
See a healthcare provider if your symptoms have not improved after trying OTC pimple medications for 3 months or if your skin gets worse while using OTC meds.
How to get rid of pimples: home treatment
- Start with an OTC pimple medication that has benzoyl peroxide.
- Use a medicated facial cleanser twice a day to remove oils and bacteria.
- After using a cleanser in the morning, apply a light moisturizer and sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to protect your healing skin from sun damage.
- After cleansing in the evening, apply a retinoid product and then an oil-free moisturizer to keep skin from drying out. Dry skin can irritate acne.
- Retinoids make skin sensitive to the sun so apply them at night.
- OTC products can be used with prescription medications.
- Apply small amounts of acne treatments to avoid irritating your skin. Using too much can dry out skin and make acne look worse.
- Scrubbing skin can worsen acne.
- Try not to pick, pop, or squeeze a pimple. It can take longer for your skin to heal and make it more likely to scar.
- Try to keep your hair and hands from touching your face.