That surge of panic you feel as you notice an incoming breakout is totally normal, especially if the pimple is already under your skin preparing to unveil its ugly head (literally) any time soon. Luckily, there are ways to get the situation under control. Below, Dr. Raissa Francisco-Pasion of SKIN Dermatology and Laser Center shares the ultimate game plan for any incoming pimple:
Step 1: Don't touch it.
If there's one thing you shouldn't do to an emerging zit, it's picking at it. "Most people will keep touching a new pimple or try to squeeze it out with their fingers. Resist the urge to do so as you will be inducing further trauma and infecting your pimple more. This will lead to possible scarring and hyperpigmentation after," explains Dr. Raissa. Leave the spot alone, guys and girls!
Step 2: Spot treat.
The only contact you should have with your breakout is when you're trying to treat it. According to the derm, spot treating with products with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, clindamycin, or benzoyl peroxide can speed up the process. "It is best to consult a dermatologist to know which product will work best for your specific skin type and the kind of acne that you have," she notes.
Step 3: Use ice.
Dealing with a swollen volcano? Try icing it to tone down the swelling. Dr. Raissa instructs, "Wrap an ice cube in gauze or [place it] in a ziplock bag, then apply on the pimple for two to three minutes, repeating several times during the day."
Step 4: Or, have it zapped by a professional.
In case you need that pimple gone ASAP, it's time to run to a pro. Visit your dermatologist and ask for a corticosteroid injection, which Dr. Raissa says will help reduce swelling in less than 24 hours.
However, at the end of the day, the derm stresses that prevention is still key to acne. "Instead of treating pimples as they appear, it is more effective to regularly use products that prevent them from occurring. This approach prevents you from having to deal with breakouts regularly," she explains. So if you're acne-prone, consult your doctor for an anti-acne regimen and always keep a spot treatment on hand for emergencies. Good luck!