How To Get Rid of Acne Fast: Tips and Tricks

Jeff Hautala
By Jeff Hautala, Co-Founder of Exposed Skincare

Everybody knows that pimples have a way of appearing at the most inconvenient times, and trying to get rid of acne fast can be challenging. Dermatologists 👩‍⚕️ typically warn against drastic ways to get rid of acne, and we recommend you rather go see a dermatologist or doctor in the case of severe acne. In this article, we’ve collated some of the best acne treatment tips and tricks for dealing with breakouts.

When you don’t have a lot of time to treat acne breakouts, there are still a few ways to make your acne less noticeable.

The Mechanics of a Sudden Acne Breakout

The best way to treat pimples is to understand how they form. In truth, this is a pretty slow-moving process, so odds are your sudden breakout isn’t actually that sudden.

Pimples appear when the three primary causes of acne come together:

  • inflammation 🔥
  • excess sebum (oil) production
  • bacteria 🦠

Acne can be influenced by all kinds of factors, but acne prone skin starts with inflammation, which causes the pores to constrict slightly, trapping oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria inside. If the numbers of bacteria 🦠 trapped in the pore are limited, a blackhead or whitehead will form, but if there are significant numbers of bacteria in the pore, then a pimple or cyst will likely form.

The 3 Best Overnight Acne Treatments

If you’re lucky, you might catch an acne breakout the night before a big event instead of in the morning, just moments before you have to be out the door. In those cases, you have all night 🌙 to try and get rid of the breakout, and we know acne the treatment tips and tricks that can do it.

Green Tea, Aloe Vera, and Tea Tree Oil Mask

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon freshly brewed green tea 🍃

3 drops tea tree essential oil

1 tablespoon aloe vera

This mask is designed to decrease inflammation 🔥, kill acne-causing bacteria, and protect the skin from any irritation. Several studies have been published on the anti-inflammatory properties of green tea when applied topically. Simply brew a cup of green tea ☕ and add one teaspoon to a mixing bowl.

We’ve added tea tree oil to this mask as well because it has also been studied thoroughly and researchers have found it to be incredibly effective in killing bacteria, including the specific type of bacteria that causes acne.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and may help reduce sebum production.

However, it should never be applied directly to the skin. Instead, add a few droplets to your green tea and the tablespoon of aloe vera in the mixing bowl, and stir the ingredients until they’re thoroughly blended. Apply a very fine layer to your skin, let it dry, then head to bed!

Lavender Oil Diffusion

Ingredients:

Lavender oil

Essential oil diffuser.

Another quick way to get rid of acne is to use lavender essential oil. If you consistently get pimples right before important events, there may actually be a reason: stress. Studies show that chronic stress can be an inflammatory trigger. If you know stress tends to get to you, try putting lavender oil in an essential oil diffuser and let it run overnight. There’s significant research showing that lavender oil aromatherapy can relieve stress and its physical effects. If your stress only creeps up on you at the last minute, you can save the diffuser for the night before 🌙, but if you know you’re going to start getting stressed about your event several days in advance, use the diffuser each night leading up to the event.

Going the Extra Mile

Ingredients:

Your usual products

If you have acne products that work well for you, you can use them to your advantage when trying to prevent a major acne breakout. Simply follow your routine as you normally would, then apply a little extra treatment (preferably something containing benzoyl peroxide) to the area that’s starting to break out.

At Exposed, we take a different approach to the skin care routine and products. Why is this important? Well, many products work fast, but are harsh especially on the face, meaning they cause major skin irritation, which can lead to more acne. Our products 🏆, however, contain only the best acne-fighting ingredients 💪, from benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to tea tree oil, but in low concentrations that guarantee their gentleness.

Our Basic Kit is a great example of how to use this overnight technique. Simply wash your face 🚿 with the Facial Cleanser and apply the Clearing Tonic. Wait a moment for the tonic to dry completely, then apply an extra dab to the area where you’re concerned about a breakout. Let that dry as well, then apply the Clear Pore Serum. When this is dry, apply a little extra to the affected area again. This strategy can result in a little extra drying in the affected area, so you may want to apply a good moisturizer as well, like the Exposed Moisture Complex. The Exposed Moisture Complex is a moisturizer that gently protects your skin to help prevent acne, while the Exposed Expanded Kit contains everything you need in order to activate that extra fight against a last-minute breakout.

Exposed Kits help prevent unexpected breakouts on any skin type.
Exposed Kits help prevent unexpected breakouts on any skin type.

Tips To Banish Acne in an Hour

There’s no miracle product or trick that can completely banish acne very fast, but some helpful tools can make it less noticeable in a time crunch. If you notice a breakout and you still have a little time on hands, try these three home remedies 🏠.

Honey and Green Tea Spot Treatment

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of pure honey 🍯

1 teaspoon freshly brewed green tea 🍃

This recipe includes a great ingredient that we can’t recommend enough: honey, which is healing for many skin conditions.

There’s substantial research showing that honey can get rid of all kinds of microbes, including the acne causing bacteria P. acnes. Honey can also reduce inflammation🔥, and speed up the wound-healing process. In fact, hospitals often use honey-soaked dressings to heal all kinds of wounds.

It might sound extreme, but acne does qualify as a minor wound, and even though honey can’t completely heal your acne, it can make a significant improvement. Apply this mixture to your acne breakout and leave it on as long as possible.

Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 🍋

It might seem counterintuitive to use oil on acne, but it can be cleansing and nourishing to the skin. Fresh lemon juice exfoliates and removes excess oil by absorbing the moisture. However, we never recommend using it on its own as it’s far too drying. It might appear to reduce your pimples at first, but in a few hours, the skin will become red and inflamed, and the breakout will likely get worse. When combined with the soothing power of olive oil, however, lemon juice 🍋 can help calm a breakout without negative effects.

Lemon juice should never be used on its own, but it can be a powerful exfoliant when used with olive oil.

Popping

Practically everyone knows that popping is the cardinal acne care sin. In the words of a prominent dermatologist, Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital, NY:

“While popping a pimple is tempting, doing it the wrong way can lead to trauma to the skin, and possibly infections. If you have any open or raw skin it can increase your risk of infection.”

However, in some circumstances, popping may be necessary. For instance, fully formed pimples with large, white heads are unsightly and often painful. Never pop blackheads—rather use pore strips to remove them.

There are different ways to pop a pimple, but we recommend that you use the simple approach—with the pads of your fingertips (not your nails!), gently push down and in toward the pimple. Once any clear liquid or blood emerges, stop. Now apply a little honey 🍯 to help it heal.

How To Get Rid of Acne Fast—Like, 5 Minutes Fast

You’re headed out the door, running late, but when you see yourself in the hall mirror you see a breakout and immediately start rifling through your brain to find any solutions for how to clear acne fast—like, right now fast.

Green Tea Ice Cubes

Ingredients:

Brewed green tea 🍃

Ice cube tray 🧊

Freezer

This recipe involves brewing some green tea, allowing it to cool slightly, then pouring it into an ice cube tray and freezing for several hours. Keep the ice cubes in a plastic bag in your freezer. That way you can pull them out at the last minute any time you need one. The best part about this quick way to get rid of acne is that you can use it in the car on the way to work, school, a date, etc. Simply hold the ice cube 🧊 and use a paper towel to catch any melting drips. Press the ice cube gently to the breakout.

3 Last-Minute “Cures” That Actually Cause More Pimples

A lot of information about acne solutions is spread through rather unreliable networks: our parents, who were raised in a time where we knew much less about acne, the Internet, and our friends 🧑‍🤝‍🧑, who often learn their tips from their parents or the Internet in any case. And about some things, the truth gets lost somewhere. Therefore, it remains important to question why certain acne treatment tips and tricks are supposed to work and to do your research to see if they really check out.

Toothpaste

We’ve all heard of it, and many of us have tried it or know someone who has, so you would think it has at least a kernel of truth to it, right? It might, but it’s a very small one.

Toothpaste contains many great ingredients for cleaning your teeth 🦷, but very few are good for your skin. One of toothpaste’s main ingredients is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is very harsh on the skin.

Sodium lauryl sulfate alone is enough to disqualify toothpaste from our docket of acne quick fixes, but it also contains a variety of chemicals that clog pores, and it generally doesn’t offer as much acne relief as many other options.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Many people think hydrogen peroxide works for treating acne is because it burns when you apply it. This is an incorrect assumption. Hydrogen peroxide does kill microbes 🦠, but it also damages your cells.

How To Stop Acne Before It Forms

There are three basic preventative steps that can help improve nearly any acne, no matter how severe—cleanse, treat, and moisturize regularly.

Facial Wash

A good facial wash is integral to preventing acne because it clears away the sebum and dead cells that can potentially clog pores. We recommend facial washes with low concentrations of mild acids like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, or citric acid. If your skin is dry or sensitive, make sure your face wash uses the lowest possible concentration, and test it out on your arm first.

The Exposed Facial Cleanser is a prime example of a face wash that includes great exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid, but is still gentle enough for your skin

Treatment Serum

Now that the excess oil and dead cells have been cleared away, it’s time for a good serum. Treatment serums typically focus on killing microbes and reducing inflammation 🔥.

The Exposed Acne Treatment Serum contains benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, green tea extract, and other great ingredients for fighting p. acnes bacteria and reducing inflammation.

Moisturizer

Most people with acne skip moisturizing, but it’s especially important for pimple prevention. Contrary to common belief, people with oily skin still need moisturizer, and moisturizer doesn’t clog pores. Choose one that won’t activate the oil glands, but that’s not too drying either 👍.

The Exposed Moisture Complex is a moisturizer that protects your skin to help prevent acne with gentle care.

Beyond Skin Care Products—Long Term Acne Treatment Options

Most of the home remedies and other treatments we have discussed so far are aimed at treating acne fast, but for severe acne, or acne scars, you may need a different approach. We have already mentioned that you should visit your dermatologist 👩‍⚕️ for medical advice regarding very stubborn or severe pimples, or for bad scarring.

Many dermatologists offer treatments (such as laser treatment) in their rooms, and these can be very effective, but a more long-term approach may be needed for long-term effects. This includes taking acne medication 💊. The side effects associated with some of the medicines can be pretty severe, but your dermatologist should be able to supply you with information in this regard.

Your dermatologist could also advise you of certain lifestyle changes that may help prevent pimples. Stress and the wrong diet, for instance, may cause or exacerbate acne.