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How to Get Rid of a Pimple

You can treat acne with this expert advice on beating breakouts.

Don't you hate when you wake up in the morning and see a gigantic pimple has sprung to life seemingly overnight, usually on the day you have an important work meeting or an even more important date? While it may seem like the pimple came out of nowhere, that's not the case. "Acne is a function of how your skin cycles," says Lance H. Brown, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. "Healthy skin sloughs off every three months. When this doesn't happen properly, your pores become clogged and the oil feeds the bacteria, creating white heads, blackheads, and pimples."

Follow these dos and don'ts if you want to get rid of pimples.

Don't wash too much. Washing your face in the morning and the evening is sufficient to remove acne-causing bacteria. Any more and you risk stripping your skin of its natural, and helpful, oils - which will only cause more redness and irritation.

Don't pick a pimple at home. Squeezing can lead to an infection if it's not done correctly. You should never pick a cystic pimple (the hard kind under your skin). For a pustule or white head, see a dermatologist or an aesthetician, who can remove it carefully with sterile tools, advises Robb Akridge, PhD, creator of the Clarisonic.

If you can't resist the urge, very, very gently, squeeze it yourself. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water to remove bacteria and germs first, then use a tissue and squeeze the white head until it bursts, and then stop immediately. Extra squeezing can damage skin, spread infection, and leave a mark. Finish with a light application of an anti-bacterial cream, like Neosporin.

Don't overtreat. While sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol products are proven acne fighters, when overused, they can cause your skin to dry out. This will cause more irritation and make your breakouts worse.

Do try an at-home anti-acne device, such as the Zeno Heat Treat Blemish Clearing Device. It gently warms skin to kill 99 percent of the bacteria without harming healthy skin cells.

Do wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is absolutely not a cause of acne and sun exposure can cause acne scars to get darker, making them harder to get rid of. On top of that, some acne medications make skin more photosensitive - meaning you'll burn more easily. Look for a non-oily, non-comedogenic light lotion variety, advises Akridge.

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