Ah, acne. Nobody tells you that it’s not just something you’ll have to deal with as a teenager, but something you’ll be forced to deal with for the rest of your life. Maybe you won’t have to deal with cystic acned for forever, but you can bet that unless you’re some kind of vampire, you will likely welcome quite a few blackheads, whiteheads and other blemishes throughout the course of your life. More often than not, zits are merely annoying, but when you have something big coming up, such as, say, a job interview, a first date or your wedding day, they are a straight confidence killer. Fortunately for you, we’ve rounded up the top 33 ways to get rid of acne before it has a chance to wreak havoc on your self-esteem. Here they are below:
Free or Almost Free Methods
1. Make Use of Cold Compresses
You know those zits that take days to come to fruition? Yeah, we hate those too. Now you can speed up the time it takes for a pimple to become a white head by pressing a cold compress over the infected area. Within minutes your zit will come to a head and, as a bonus, you’ll bypass the swelling and irritation stages.
2. Name Your Zit
No, we’re not being gross or weird. Identify which type of acne you’re dealing with to find the most effective solution and STAT. Apparently, most products specialize in one kind of acne, so if you’re dealing with comedonal acne and your friend swears by a treatment for her nodulocystic acne, her product may not be worth your time or money as the two types of acne are very different.
3. Drain it With a Warm Washcloth
While popping your whiteheads can be strangely satisfying, it’s actually really bad for your skin as it pushes all that pus back into your face. Also, all that dirt and grime from your fingers gets into the open wound, increasing your odds of developing a new pimple. You can pop pimples in a safe manner by placing a hot washcloth over the blemish until the cloth is no longer hot. Then slide the cloth over the whitehead. The top should come off. If it doesn’t, repeat the process. It shouldn’t take more than two or three times to get rid of the blemish.
4. Clear Your Skin From the Inside Out
Your immune system, digestive tract, stomach, kidneys, heart, liver and lungs all react positively or negatively to foods and drinks you put in your body, so why shouldn’t skin react as well? Well, apparently it does. Load up on green tea, avocados, red wine, dark chocolate, oysters, salmon and other foods found on this list to promote healthy skin from the inside out. Oh, and for all you pumpkin spice latte lovers out there, you’ll be happy to know that pumpkin made the list as well.
5. Take a Skin Care Quiz
Not sure what type of acne you have? Take a skin care quiz on a trusted beauty site such as Sephora or Soko Glam to better understand what type of skin care issues you’re dealing with. Quizzes on these sites analyze your skin care concerns, product preferences and age to come up with fitting recommendations.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Yeah, yeah, yeah, eight glasses a day–you know! You may know that you need eight glasses of water a day, but are you actually drinking that much? You say yes but your skin might say otherwise. Chug plenty of H2O throughout the day to help flush out toxins and clear your skin up faster. If you partied too hard this past weekend, you may want to up the daily dose to fight both toxins and dehydration.
7. Take a Face Mask Quiz
Like acne products, face masks aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions. Take a face mask recommendation quiz to skip all the trial and error and find the mask that truly does work wonders for you.
Acne Fighting Products
Sure, it would be nice if we all had such cooperative skin that our issues could be cleared up with a few glasses of water and a cold compress, but alas, many of us aren’t that lucky. If you’re acne is a bit more stubborn, fear not and give one of these supposed miracle workers a try.
8. Drying Out Your Zit
According to user reviews, drying lotion stuff is so powerful that it can literally dry up a zit that hasn’t even come to head yet. Just place a single drop of this stuff on the infected area, go to bed and wake up to a clean and clear face. You can buy Majestic Pure Acne Drying Lotion on Amazon for just $15.98, free shipping.
9. Aztec Healing Clay #FTW
Apparently this stuff is like a vacuum for your pores. According to 13,128 Amazon five-star reviewers, this stuff, when mixed with apple cider vinegar, destroys every single pimple that has the audacity to emerge. That said, it does bring underlying pimples to the surface, but so far, no users have complaints about that, as it just means that the clay is doing its job–it’s ridding the skin of toxins. You can find this ancient secret for just $8.30 at Amazon.
10. Spot Treat Your Acne
If you suffer from cystic acne, TreeActiv Acne treatment is for you. It is designed to reduce inflammation, fight infection and get rid of acne within 24 hours. When broken down, the product contains the following ingredients: bentonite clay (to draw out toxins, eliminate zits, and calm irritated skin), pink grapefruit essential oil (to reduce inflammation and swelling), vitamin C (to produce repairing collagen), witch hazel (to clear away excess sebum and balance oil), peppermint and spearmint water (to kill bacteria within pores and decrease excess oil production and scarring), tea tree water and essential oil (to moisturize and tone), lemon essential oil (to exfoliate away dead skin cells) and aloe vera (to promote the production of vitamins E and C for healthier skin).
11. Peel Away Debris
Do you get so oily that your t-zone literally shines whenever even the dimmest of lights hits your face? Do you have trouble wearing makeup because it just slicks right off when the humidity index soars anywhere above 70 percent? This 10 minute exfoliating facial achieves all the results of a professional peel but without the hefty price tag. Your skin tone will even out, your glow will be of the positive variety and your skin’s tiny bumpy inhabitants will be no more. You can get it for $13.20 on Amazon.
12. Use a Pimple Patch
If you feel a pimple coming on, or if you have one in full force, put a pimple patch over the blemish right before you go to bed. While you sleep, the patch will suck the pus out of the zit. Gross and cool at the same time. The method is far more effective than popping as it leaves no scar or angry red mark. Winning!
13. Roll a Pimple Away
The TonyMoly Scrub Stick is a cute little octopus looking gadget that contains a blend of black mud, marine plant extract and charcoal. You roll the stick over a blemish or acne prone area to clear clogged pores far faster than any charcoal strip ever could. Users claim to see real results immediately after using. But don’t forget – rinse your face after using otherwise you’ll be left with black strips across your face. You can buy this cute little guy for $12.50 on Amazon.
14. Target Bacne
Bacne is the worst, as even though many people get it, it seems to convey the message that the sufferer is, well, less than clean. Also, it can put a real damper on your summer wardrobe selections. If you want your back to look as cute as your face, use a Neutrogena body wash that contains salicylic acid, vitamin C and grapefruit. You can get this full-body solution for $5.56 on Amazon.
15. Nourish Your Skin
Nourish your skin, target discoloration, reduce pores and breakouts and make your overall complexion brighter with this powerful vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E serum. Users swear by this product, with many of them basically saying that it saved their lives. If you’ve struggled with acne all of your life, pick your bottle up for $9.99 on Amazon.
16. Mist Your Pores Clean
Unless you’ve gotten a professional facial before, you may be skeptical about this little doo-dad, but trust us when we say that it truly does help you achieve baby-soft skin. Just lean your face over the machine and let it work its magic. What type of magic does it work, you wonder? Glad you asked. It removes dead skin, oil, dirt and makeup buildup and clears your pores, leaving your complexion feeling as smooth as a baby’s behind. You can buy your own gadget for $24.99 on Amazon.
17. Go Old School…
…With a bar of soap. Okay, don’t go 1950s old school, but do pick yourself up one of these Herbivore bamboo charcoal soap bars. Its powerful yet gentle formula draws out toxins from deep within your pores and exfoliates oily skin so blemishes are extracted before you climb in the shower. Bonus: it’s vegan and cruelty free! You can get a bar of the good stuff from Sephora for $12 or something similar from Amazon for $4.19.
18. Strip Away Your Pimples
The Dr. Oracle Peeling Stick is essentially a Q-tip packed with lactic acid, which effectively lifts dead skin cells while glycolic acid works to exfoliate the region and resurface the skin. While those components may sound harsh, don’t worry–they’re combined with tea-tree extract, lemon extract and bamboo extract to provide your face with much needed protection against the damaging effects that the former ingredients could otherwise have on sensitive skin. Just run a swab over the infected area and watch break outs disappear in almost as short a time as it took to apply the swabs in the first place.
If you’re iffy about the “harshness” of the chemicals in these swabs, you’re not alone. However, user reviews are here to put your mind at ease. Here’s just one promising review from a real user:
“I was a little nervous to try this product because it seemed like it could be harsh. I was incredibly amazed when it wasn’t at all harsh on my skin and it helped my blackheads and whiteheads on my chin (problem area) overnight! The texture of my chin has been really off as well (dry patches, yet blackheads and whiteheads) and it immediately rectified that. I was super pleased with this purchase and will definitely be buying it again.” —Julia A.
You can get a 10 pack for $24 from Soko Glam.
19. Heal the Zit Away
If you’re not a firm believer in essential oils, you’re missing out. Tea Tree Oil from The Body Shop–which is 15 percent natural tee tree oil–helps you battle painful blemishes without losing peace of mind. Just dab some on those unsightly buggers and watch your zits disappear over night. You can find some at Amazon for $9.03 or a similar product from Walmart for $6.88.
20. OTC the Heck Out of Unwanted Intruders
Who says you need prescription meds or fancy face washes to remove blackheads and whiteheads? Clean and Clear contains 2 percent salicylic acid acne medication, which is proven to dramatically reduce swelling, redness and size while you’re asleep. Just give your face a good scrubbing right before bedtime and wake up to less carnage than what was there the night before. Within weeks, your face will be completely smooth, and without all that dreaded scarring that comes with using prescription acne meds (at least, according to user reviews that’s the case). Find yours at your local drug store for right around $6.
21. Clearasil Comes in Clutch
Clean and Clear isn’t the only OTC face wash that can help you battle acne and random pimples. Clearasil has always been a leading acne-fighting face wash, but recently it’s stepped up its game and come out with a fast-acting face mask/face wash. You read that right! This mask-wash acts as an acne-fighting blanket and exfoliates and cleanses the skin of oils and harmful bacterias at the same time. Just apply, let sit for a minute and then rinse to see almost immediate results. According to one user, this product helps combat oily skin as well, which is a bonus for summer time and, you know, those times of the month when your hormones kick into overdrive. You can buy it from Amazon for $7.31 or from Walmart for $5.97.
22. Treat Acne From Head to Toe
Neutrogena’s cleansing pads make it easy to wipe away grime and acne along with it anywhere on your body. While most people don’t get acne on their feet (though, who knows), these pads are super handy for killing that dreaded bacne or for wiping away sweat, salt and dirt from your chest after a hard day’s play. The pads contain maximum-strength salicylic acid acne medicine, which is super effective in halting breakouts before they even have a chance to begin. While you might think that these pads dry out your skin, you’d be wrong–they actually leave the skin feeling clean and smooth. You can pick up these bad boys at Amazon or Walmart for $6.97.
23. Blow Your Pimples Away
Okay, well, not literally, but the name Innisfree Volcanic Pore Clay Mask makes it seem like that’s what this product does. This fast acting serum tightens pores, removes sebum and exfoliates dead skin cells in a matter of minutes. Just apply to your face, let sit for a few minutes (or, on especially unsightly blemishes, overnight) and let it do its work. If you have oily skin, this product will be your new BFF. Buy this hit at Amazon for $13.80 or a similar product from Walmart for $8.49+.
24. Rely On an Ancient Remedy
Turmeric is apparently some amazing natural ingredient that has anti-inflammatory and other healing properties, and apparently it’s been used by eastern civilizations for thousands of years as a medicine. So why we’re only recently discovering it, I know not. That said, while older generations never got to benefit from this amazing ingredient, YOU can. In addition to being capsuled as a vitamin supplement, Turmeric has been bottled into a tube with a few other ingredients and named Cocokind Turmeric Spot Treatment. Just rub the treatment onto the irritated spot, wear for 20 minutes and watch redness and irritation disappear. In addition to Turmeric, the treatment contains four other fast-acting ingredients: sunflower oil, beeswax, ginger root and tea tree oil. You can get it from Free People for $8.99.
25. Wish Your Warts Away
Okay, so pimples aren’t actually warts, but sometimes it feels as if they’re the modern equivalent. Use E.L.F’s roll-on spot gel to reduce redness, calm swelling and heal pimples. So, why does this wonder gel work so well? Because it’s loaded with salicylic acid, camphor, witch hazel, great tea, tea tree and aloe, all ingredients proven to fight inflammation and kill bad bacteria. Get yours for $2 at any participating retailer.
26. Pull Impurities From Deep Within
If you don’t even want to RISK having a whitehead ruin your look, use Biore’s Charcoal One-Minute Mask to bring impurities to the surface and out of your skin for good. This product is excellent for merely deep cleaning your pores or kicking cystic acne in the butt. Get yours from Amazon or Walmart for $5.82.
27. Turn to Mother Nature
We must tout the benefits of essential oils once more…Natural oils such as eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, neem oil, rose oil and chamomile oil (to name a few) contain anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Many are great for sensitive skin, some are designed for dry skin and almost all are great for wound healing and fighting acne. Check out the chart below for an idea of what type of oil to use on your face.
When all else fails, or if you have to GO, use one of these five concealers to cover up your blemishes and look good as new.
28. Plug the Pimple That Won’t Stop
We get it–popping the pimple can be so tempting sometimes! However, if you’re in a hurry or worse, out in public, and you pop the wrong guy before he’s ready to heal, you may be stuck with an oozing mess on your hands. NYX Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer dams the pus (gross) so you can head out the door without looking like a hot mess–and you can get it for just $6.99 delivered right to your door, courtesy of Amazon. You’re welcome.
29. Control, Conceal, Completely Love
Hide your cystic acne or any other type of breakout with this weightless, natural looking, basically-sunscreen product. This BB cream acts like a foundation in that it conceals imperfections, but that’s about it. It features SPF 40 and offers 12 hours of protection, controls oil and, best of all, doesn’t clog the pores. At $39, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but user reviews indicate the price is well worth it.
30. Neutralize a Breakout’s Appearance
Just because you can’t beat a breakout doesn’t mean that you have to go out and introduce your friends to Henry, the stubborn pimple who refuses to be bested. Get a color-correcting palette to do everything from correcting discolorations to concealing pimples, and from contouring your features to brightening your complexion. Don’t know which color to use and when? This handy table should help. Buy the palette at Tarte for $20.
31. Conceal the Intruder
Step up your hiding game and get this concealer brush and green and regular concealer combo to achieve a photoshop effect. Just dab a bit of the concealer onto the sore, blend and admire your totally smooth complexion. You can find the concealer brush at Amazon for just $4.49. Recommended concealer products are NYX green concealer for $10.16, and regular Maybelline concealer for $5.03.
32. Go Full Coverage
Tarte Full Coverage Foundation is a miracle worker–seriously. If you don’t want to test multiple concealers to find the one that is right for you, just get all-over coverage. This stuff makes your skin look photoshop perfect and hides Mt. Everest better than a cloudy day. As if that’s not awesome enough, its clay formula provides a matte finish, oil control and 12-hour coverage–without creasing or caking. Yes please. Get it at Tarte or Sephora for $39.
When to Call the Professionals
33. Get a Facial
Sometimes, there’s no cure like a professional cure. If your breakouts are just that bad, and if you’ve tried every at-home and store bought remedy, it may be worth your while to invest in a professional facial. A professional can evaluate your skin type and help you determine the best solution for you. Plus, facials are just plain relaxing, and dang it, you deserve a treat every once in a while!
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