Natural Remedies for Curing Redness and Swelling After Popping Pimples

15 DIY Acne Treatments

Natural Remedies for Curing Redness and Swelling After Popping Pimples

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No acne cream in your medicine cabinet? No problem. Expert dermatologists reveal home remedies for pimples that really work.

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You may have prayed for your pimples to go away when you were in high school, but the sad truth is that most adults still deal with blemishes from time to time.

And if you feel a zit only pops up when you don't have any store-bought acne treatments on hand, you're not alone. That's why we asked dermatologists for their favorite home remedies for pimples.

These treatments use ingredients you probably already have on hand in your kitchen or medicine cabinet.

Watch the video: How to Get Rid of Blemishes



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The active ingredient in aspirin is salicylic acid—the same key ingredient in many topical acne products. “Crush one aspirin in water and make a paste,” suggests Debra Jaliman, MD, New York City-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. “Apply the paste directly to the pimple with a cotton swab and leave on for 10 minutes.” Then rinse off with warm water.

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“Tea tree oil is a mild antiseptic and mild anti-inflammatory,” says Jessica Krant, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Put a few drops of tea tree oil onto a cotton pad, and then gently dab it onto your blemish, Dr. Jaliman suggests. “Leave it on for a few hours or overnight,” she says. Try Now Foods Tea Tree Oil ($18; amazon.



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Just as ice controls swelling on a sprained ankle, it can reduce inflammation in a pimple, says Dr. Jaliman. “Wrap an ice cube in a wash cloth and hold it on the pimple for a minute,” she says. “It will vasoconstrict the blood vessels and take down the redness and swelling.”

RELATED: How Inflammation Affects the Body

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For a DIY toner, dilute one part apple cider vinegar with three to four parts water (use four if you have sensitive skin), and then apply all over your face using a cotton ball or pad.

“It may kill surface bacteria and give a mild chemical peel,” Dr. Krant says. What's more, adds Dr.

Jaliman, apple cider vinegar contains citric acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid—added to many over-the-counter acne products.

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apple cider vinegar, lemon juice contains citric acid. It also boasts L-ascorbic acid, a natural astringent and antioxidant, says Dr. Jaliman. “Wipe it across your pimples with a cotton ball and leave on overnight,” she suggests.



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You can't go wrong with garlic (well, besides the smell). “It has mild antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which may help when applied topically, and garlic in the diet is extremely healthy, with both anti-cancer and anti-clotting properties,” says Dr. Krant.

Crushed garlic also contains allicin, an antibacterial compound, says Dr. Jaliman. She suggests making a paste of crushed garlic and water, applying it directly to the blemish, and then washing it off after 5 minutes.

RELATED: How to Make Garlic Paste in a Baggie

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“Egg whites are an age-old beauty secret,” says Dr. Krant. “The protein and vitamins in egg whites help to tighten and draw oils the skin, which may help unclog pores and reduce inflammation.” Dr. Jaliman recommends smearing egg whites over your problem areas and leaving on 10 minutes before rinsing off with water.

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Spot treat a pimple with a dab of honey, or use the sweet stuff as an all-over face mask. Leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse off with warm water, says Dr. Jaliman. But you won't want to use the regular teddy-bear honey you probably have in your pantry.

“Raw, organic Manuka honey has been shown to aid in wound-healing with its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Dr. Krant. “Regular honey may help, but it's not as proven medically.” Try Wedderspoon Organic 100% Raw Manuka Honey ($25; amazon.



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This kitchen staple has many surprising beauty uses, including as an acne-clearing facial cleanser and mask.

Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and rub into your face with gentle, circular strokes. Leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

“Baking soda is drying and removes oil,” explains Dr. Jaliman. “It also makes a great exfoliant.”

RELATED: Beauty Uses for Baking Soda

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“Banana peel applied with the inside layer against the skin has been a reported cure for plantar warts on the soles of the feet, so there's reason to think it may be helpful applied to pimples as well,” says Dr. Krant. Gently rub the peel over the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes, and then wash your face.

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Potatoes have been applied to bruises and wounds for a century; the tubers are anti-inflammatory and may also be antiseptic, says Dr. Krant. Plus, Dr. Jaliman adds, potatoes contain niacin, which may help lighten acne marks. She suggests applying shredded white potato to the skin a mask and massaging for 2 minutes.


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Ever put cucumber slices over your eyes to reduce puffiness? They may also help reduce the swelling associated with acne, says Dr. Krant. Cucumbers are cooling to the skin, hydrating, and full of vitamin C. “Take a cold cucumber slice and apply to the skin to hydrate and alleviate discomfort from acne,” says Dr. Jaliman.

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Orange peel can help improve your skin's all-over appearance, says Dr. Jaliman. Why? Because the rest of the fruit, the peel contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that's essential for skin regeneration. “Grind the peel with water to form a paste and rub onto the skin,” she says. Rinse off after 10 minutes.

RELATED: 12 Foods With More Vitamin C Than Oranges

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Toothpaste may help spot-treat a pimple in a pinch, but be sure to use the kind that's all white. “The white part has the ingredients that help heal acne, which are baking soda and hydrogen peroxide,” says Dr.

Jaliman, who suggests leaving a dab of toothpaste on a pimple for a few hours.

You'll want to refrain from using this treatment regularly, though—toothpaste is made for your mouth, not your skin, and anyone with sensitive skin may break out in a rash.


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Eye drops reduce redness in your eyes, and they can do the same thing for your skin. Soak a few cotton swabs in a redness-reducing drop Clear Eyes ($3; or Visine ($7;, and then store them in your freezer. Next time a zit pops up, grab the swab, apply it to the blemish, and watch the redness go away.


4 Ways to Get Rid of a Cystic Pimple, Fast

Natural Remedies for Curing Redness and Swelling After Popping Pimples

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There are few things more frustrating than going to bed with clear skin and waking up with a mammoth zit on your face.

And if it's a cystic blemish — the kind that's super sore and swollen and never comes to a head — it can be especially maddening since it seems all you can do is wait, spackle it with concealer, and tell people it's a mosquito bite.

While it's true that nothing short of a dermatologist-administered cortisone shot will get rid of a deep zit, there are some at-home steps you can take to bring down the swelling and redness.

These steps are best followed at night, since benzoyl peroxide and hydrocortisone creams dry white and you can't apply makeup over them.

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1. Start with salicylic acid.

Slathering on traditional acne meds won't have the same effect on a cystic pimple, which lives below the surface of your skin.

Instead, you want to gently exfoliate with a salicylic cleanser, Philosophy's Clear Days Ahead or Cosrx's Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser, to get rid of excess oil and create a clean slate for the rest of the products, says Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. If you have dry skin, stick to your normal cleanser and use the salicylic cleanser ( Murad's Clarifying face wash or Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleanser) only on the blemish.

2. Then tackle the swelling.

“Ice-cold temperatures help constrict blood vessels, so wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and hold it against the bump to reduce redness and bring down the swelling a bit,” says Zeichner, who recommends icing three times an hour in 10-minute intervals (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off). You want to do this after you wash your face since washing after icing would warm the skin right back up.

3. Kill the bacteria.

“Benzoyl peroxide destroys the acne-causing bacteria that are trapped within the follicle, causing inflammation,” says Zeichner.

To prevent irritation, make sure you prime the skin with a light moisturizer first, then spot-treat the cyst with a super-thin layer — seriously, less is more here — of the lowest percentage of benzoyl peroxide.

“If any burning or stinging occurs when you apply it, you'll know it's too strong and you should wash it off immediately.” Try Clearasil's Ultra Rapid Action Vanishing Treatment Cream or Proactiv's Emergency Blemish Relief (we love the latter because it's invisible).

4. Reduce the redness.

An over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream ( this soothing Aveeno version) contains a low dose of steroids that can help shrink pimples and soothe redness. The more you pile on and the longer you let it sit, the more effective it will be, says Zeichner. Just wait for the benzoyl peroxide to dry first. (We this gentle spot treatment from Neutrogena.)

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So You Popped a Pimple. Here’s How to Keep It From Scarring

Natural Remedies for Curing Redness and Swelling After Popping Pimples

Pimples are often the first skin-care issue we come up against. And figuring out what to do with a popped pimple is often the second. As it turns out, there are some very important do’s and don’ts to abide by while your skin heals that will help avoid infections, inflammation, and scarring.

Why shouldn’t you pop a pimple? Aside from the fact that you’d be interfering with your body’s normal healing process, popping a pimple—or even just prodding around in the area—can cause inflammation and make the area more prone to scarring. And that scarring will end up lasting much, much longer than any pimple would.

“I try to stress upon my patients that the impact [popping a pimple] has on scarring can last so much longer than acne,” Nada Elbuluk, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology (clinician educator), Keck School of Medicine of USC, tells SELF.

You can end up with scars divets in the skin or hyperpigmentation, “all things that take much longer to go away than a pimple,” Mary L. Stevenson, M.D., assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. “I tell my patients, ‘Take your mirrors down. Keep your paws to yourself.’ ”

But, as Dr. Stevenson says, it’s a “natural habit” to want to pick and prod at that little bundle of pus. Sometimes not popping it just isn’t an option. And sometimes a popped pimple just happens by accident!

So, if you did happen to pop a pimple—no judgment here—make sure to use these tips from our experts to keep the area clean and help it heal, hopefully without a long-lasting scar.

1. First and foremost, keep the area clean

Think of the crime scene as an open wound, Dr. Elbuluk says, especially if you see any bleeding. That means you want to avoid contaminating the area with bacteria that may be on your fingers or just out in the world and which could cause an infection. So the first step is to wash the area with a gentle cleanser.

2. Make sure to keep it moisturized

If you’re bleeding enough, you might need to apply pressure with a clean paper towel or washcloth until it stops before moving on. But once the bleeding has stopped and the area is clean, you can apply a gentle, relatively bland moisturizer to the area.

You don’t want to use anything “that’s going to irritate the skin,” Dr. Elbuluk cautions, so it’s best to avoid moisturizers that might also be used for antiaging or exfoliating purposes. Seriously, stick with the gentle stuff here!

3. Only use gentle products while it’s healing

You don’t want to do anything that would interfere with this area while it heals, including using products that might be irritating. The skin is also extra sensitive and vulnerable during this time, so you should stay away from using products chemical exfoliants or vitamin C serums, which might sting.

“Avoid anything that would cause further irritation, using scrubs or getting a facial,” Dr. Elbuluk says. “It’s already basically injured skin.” Really, the only things you need to use right now are your gentle cleanser and moisturizer.

4. Avoid picking at or touching the area while it heals

It’s crucial to avoid the temptation to keep prodding at the wound or to keep touching it. And if the area scabs over, don’t pick at the scab. “People end up in this rabbit hole and keep making it worse and worse,” Dr. Elbuluk says. Interfering with it at this point just makes infection and scarring more ly.

5. You may want to keep it covered too

Not only does covering the area with a hydrocolloid bandage, part of a silicone sheet, or a thick layer of moisturizer keep the healing skin hydrated and protected, it can also help keep you from picking at it, Dr. Stevenson says.


How to Get Rid of Acne Fast: 10 Natural Home Remedies

Natural Remedies for Curing Redness and Swelling After Popping Pimples

Acne and pimples are two of life’s most annoying and prevalent skin curses. Most of us have been in a situation where an ugly red spot has appeared the day before an important event or date. The question is: can you do anything about it without having to indulge in expensive medication? The answer is yes!

Let’s understand the formation of acne first and learn about what natural home remedies we can try to clear pimples clearly.

How acne is formed

▲ Inflammation caused by hormonal changes forms the red spots on our skin.

Acne is commonly found on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. It’s because there are more oil glands on the skin of these areas. The function of oil glands is to excrete oil substance (sebum) to lubricate your skin to make it look glowing.

When your body produces an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells due to hormonal changes, the two can block your hair follicles and form soft plug, which is a favourable environment for bacteria to thrive. When the clogged hair follicles get infected and result in inflammation, the follicle wall will bulge and form a pimple.

Why you should not pop your pimples

▲ Popping pimples can lead to loss of tissues that finally results in acne scars.

Popping pimples seems to be the quickest way to make the red spots on our skin disappear.

But it can permanently damage your skin! When you squeeze a pimple, you’re actually forcing the oil substance and dead skin cells deeper into the follicle.

The extra pressure exerted will make the follicle wall rupture, and spill the infected materials into the innermost part of our skin. This skin damage will lead to the loss of tissue, and finally cause acne scars.

So if popping pimples is not a good way to get rid of acne, what else can we do to regain our radiant skin? We have 10 natural home remedies for you and you don’t need to spend much money and time on them for the ideal effect. Here’s how to get rid of acne.

1. Aspirin mask

▲ Aspirin mask can effectively reduce inflammation on your skin!

Aspirin is anti-inflammatory so it can be a quick and cheap way to help reduce a pimple. The other plus is that most of us always have aspirin lying around at home.


  1. Make a paste with 3 parts water to 1 part aspirin
  2. It is optional to add honey or plain yogurt
  3. Once the mixture is thickened, take a Q-tip and apply to the aggravated area
  4. The paste will take roughly half an hour to harden and begin to flake off
  5. Wipe the paste off with a west tissue or face cloth.

2. Aloe Vera gel

▲ Aloe vera gel has a pleasant soothing effect on the skin.

This bad boy is a triple threat. Not only does it cool your skin down, it also reduces the inflammation of pimples and removes the oiliness from your skin. Apart from buying aloe vera gel from organic markets and drug stores, you can also make your own one.


  1. Cut a aloe vera leaf into section about 8″ long
  2. Turn your blade to its side and slide it just under the skin to get the flesh
  3. Cut the flesh into 2 or 3 pieces and place in a clean bowl
  4. Put the flesh into your blender and blend it smooth
  5. Keep the smooth gel in your refrigerator
  6. Paste the aloe vera gel on the infected area of your skin

3. Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a good option if you have a mammoth pimple that you want to take care of quickly.

It is effective because it contains silica, which is the same substance that can be found in bags of beef jerky to keep moisture out.

As such, toothpaste has been know to dry out and reduce the size of pimples over night. Simply apply some to the affected area before sleep and wash it off in the morning.

▲ The stickiness of honey helps remove dirt from your skin.

In addition to being delicious, honey is a natural antibiotic which makes it perfect for healing and reducing pimples. As an added bonus, its stickiness helps to remove excess dirt and impurities from your skin. You can utilize honey by making a simple mask.


  1. Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon and two tablespoons of natural honey (preferably Manuka honey)
  2. Rinse your face and pat it dry
  3. Apply the paste to the blemishes and leave it there overnight

5. Garlic

Garlic is fantastic for fighting acne due to its high levels of antioxidants, as well as its’ anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. There are two ways you can use garlic to clear up acne. The first is a preventative measure, which is simply by adding more garlic to your diet.

This helps your general health as well as purifies your blood, which can help to stop future break outs. For more immediate results, take a peeled clove of garlic and rub it on the troubled area several times a day. If your skin is sensitive, try crushing the garlic and mixing it with some water.

6. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is renowned for being good for your skin. In addition to this, it also contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes it highly beneficial for acne treatment.

In fact, studies that compare tea tree oil to the acne medication benzoyl peroxide shows it to be just as effective.

But please remember to dilute tea tree oil before you use it; otherwise, your skin may get irritated.


  1. Mix tea tree oil with water in a 1:9 ratio
  2. Wash your face with warm water
  3. Apply the diluted mixture to the affected areawith a cotton wool ball or Q-tip

7. Cucumber

Cucumber works as an anti-inflammatory, which is why people use cucumber slices to combat puffy eyes! They work just as well for pimples and will help to reduce the angry redness of them. You can make a cucumber face mask for instant effects!


  1. Peel one-half of a cucumber and chop it into pieces
  2. Toss the pieces into a blender
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel
  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. Apply the mixture on your skin and leave it for 10-15 minutes
  6. Rinse it off with warm water

8. Egg white mask

Egg whites are effective in removing pimples and scars formed by pimples. They contain vitamins and amino acids that help rebuild the skin cells.


  1. Separate 3 egg whites from their yolks
  2. Whisk the egg whites for 3 minutes
  3. Apply the egg whites to the affected area with your finger tips
  4. Wait for the egg whites to dry and then repeat the whole process for 4 times
  5. Leave the mask on your face for 20 minutes
  6. Rinse the mask off and apply skin moisturizer afterwards

9. Baking soda

Baking soda is a well-known natural remedy for pimples. Its antiseptic properties make it effective in destroying bacteria in the affected area. Also, baking soda has restorative function as it stimulates the growth of new skin cells.


  1. Mix equal portions of baking soda and water to form a thick paste
  2. Apply the paste on your skin for 30 minutes
  3. Rinse it off with warm water

10. Steam

No, not the software. Although I do recommend that also.

Steam can be helpful for treating acne because it helps to open up your pores, which prevents them from being clogged. Steam also moisturizes and detoxifies your skin.


  1. Boil a small pot of water and pour it into a bowl
  2. Add herbs or essential oils into the water
  3. Drape a towel over your head and hold your head over the water for around 10 minutes
  4. Close your eyes and breath deeply
  5. Use a mask to pull the impurities from the pores on your face


Ice on Pimples: Does It Work?

Natural Remedies for Curing Redness and Swelling After Popping Pimples

Pimples can be challenging to get rid of, and they’re even more tempting to pop. You already know that popping is a complete no-no. Still, you may also be turned off by conventional treatment methods that might be harsh on your skin.

Natural skin care remedies are growing in popularity, including those used in the alternative treatment of acne. Ice is one such touted treatment. There are potential benefits to ice on pimples, but the question is whether this method is effective enough to fully clear up your breakout for good.

How it works

The idea of using home remedies for acne treatment is to help get rid of pimples without leftover side effects from chemicals.

While salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are widely available on the market, overusing such products can make your acne worse.

In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends staying away from alcohol-based products altogether. These include astringents, toners, exfoliants, and more.

Icing pimples can work by reducing swelling in inflammatory forms of acne. These include:

  • cysts
  • nodules
  • pustules
  • papules

Ice is unly to work for noninflammatory types — these are also known as blackheads. By reducing the inflammation of your pimples, you’re directly reducing the size. In theory, gradually reducing the size of your pimple with ice can eventually make it go away entirely.

When used on inflammatory acne, ice also has the potential to decrease redness, thereby making your pimples less noticeable. It can also treat pain that occurs with cystic and nodular acne. This is due to the short-term numbing effect ice creates.

Despite such benefits, there’s no research available to indicate that ice alone is an effective treatment for pimples. Ice may be considered as a part of a smart skin care routine that includes:

  • regular cleanses
  • a moisturizer designed for your skin type
  • noncomedogenic makeup

How to use it

Icing your pimples seems a straightforward process, but there are some specifics to keep in mind before applying it to your skin. First, you’ll want to make sure you cleanse your skin, just as you would do before applying any other type of treatment.

Before placing the ice against your skin, wrap it in a thin cloth or thick paper towel. You can also use a cool compress instead, if you don’t want to mess with the aftermath of melted ice.

Apply the ice to your pimples in one-minute increments only. You can try this for one minute after your morning and evening face cleanses. If your pimple is extremely inflamed, you can follow up with multiple increments — just make sure you leave about five minutes in between each minute. This helps to prevent skin damage.

Sometimes ice can also work well to treat pimples when used in conjunction with warm treatments, such as compresses or steamed towels.

By using warm treatments first, you can help remove any debris that’s trapped in your pores.

After applying warmth for 5 to 10 minutes, you can then follow up with ice for one minute to decrease inflammation and swelling. You can repeat this process daily as needed until the pimple clears up.

However, you should never follow up ice treatments with hot compresses, as this can damage your skin.

What to know before you try this method

Icing your pimples over time can encourage debris to rise to the surface of your skin. As tempting as it might be, you should never pop the gunk your pores. Picking at your pimples at any stage can make them spread. What’s worse, the popping and prodding process can also lead to scarring.

It’s easy to get caught up in working at a pimple with ice and forget the potential dangers of applying frozen materials to your skin. To prevent frostbite, it’s important to only apply ice in short intervals.

While frostbite is more commonly associated with being outside in extreme temperatures for too long, it can also occur when using cold packs, ice, or other frozen items against your skin for long periods of time.

Stop using ice immediately and call your doctor if you notice:

  • extensive redness
  • blistering
  • long-term numbness
  • changes in your skin color

When to see a dermatologist

Ice has the potential to treat pimples without the side effects that are sometimes seen in conventional acne treatments. Still, there’s no proof that ice is more effective.

Many natural remedies can also take longer to work, so it’s important to be patient as your pimple gradually disappears. Avoid picking or scratching the area, as this will make any redness and inflammation worse.

In the meantime, consider mineral makeup to conceal the area, as desired.

If your pimples fail to resolve with ice or other treatments within a few weeks, it may be time to see your doctor. A dermatologist can help you drain the pimple without side effects.

Talk to your doctor about your preference for natural remedies — they can recommend specific products and lifestyle habits that may help prevent future breakouts.

As a rule of thumb, the AAD recommends giving any new treatment measure at least four to six weeks to work before following up with your dermatologist.