Top 5 Things to Put on Pimples

A cleansing pad containing salicylic acid can effectively reduce pimples.

Photo: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

A pimple can appear out of nowhere. You go to sleep with clear skin and you wake up the next day to find a whopper of a pimple on your forehead. Unfortunately, a pimple never seems to vanish as quickly as it appears. But there are a few different things you can put on pimples to help them disappear.

Salicylic Acid

Check the ingredient list for many acne products and you'll see that many of them contain the active ingredient, salicylic acid. It's a favorite among dermatologists because it stops oil from clogging pores and exfoliates simultaneously. Salicylic acid gently peels away the top layer of skin, allowing pores to breathe. Then, it dissolves the excess oil that causes pimples. When choosing a cleanser, opt for one with salicylic acid to exfoliate as you cleanse away dirt.

Glycolic Acid

Similar to salicylic acid in function, glycolic acid also helps to exfoliate skin and reduce excess oil. It's commonly used in over-the-counter facial peels and masks that help remove dead skin cells to reveal brighter, more youthful-looking skin. Consistent weekly or biweekly use can help clear pimples trapped beneath your skin. Those with sensitive skin should not use glycolic acid, because it can cause minor peeling and redness.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Pimples thrive on oil as well as bacteria. You can kill the bacteria that promotes acne with benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient is found in many on-the-spot acne treatments, making it a sound choice for homing in on problematic areas. Dermatologists also recommend benzoyl peroxide for its effectiveness at reducing the recurrence of acne. Those with sensitive skin should perform a patch test before committing to benzoyl peroxide, because it can cause dryness and irritation.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, a natural, antibacterial pimple-reducer, is available at your local health food store. According to researchers at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia, it performs as well as benzoyl peroxide with fewer side effects. Its only drawback is that it doesn't work as quickly as benzoyl peroxide. But for long-term results, tea tree oil is an excellent natural substitute for treating pimples.

Kaolin Clay

If you've got oily skin, a kaolin clay mask is a superb weekly treatment for clarifying pores and reducing oil. It's also an excellent spot treatment for pimples, because it draws out the oil pimples thrive on. Since the clay sucks the oil out of your skin, it can leave your skin feeling very dry. It's important that you follow up with a moisturizer that won't clog your pores to keep skin from becoming parched.

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