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You have an important interview or a glamorous social occasion coming up, and then you notice it -- an emerging pimple. Although you may be desperate to get rid of a blemish quickly, home remedies such as applying Windex window cleaner may exacerbate the problem by irritating your skin, the Beauty Brains website warns. Safe and effective alternatives are available through medical treatment or over the counter that clear up pimples quickly and safely.
Steroid injections effectively treat large, painful acne nodules and cysts. A dermatologist or medical professional performs an injection directly at the site of the pimple. After the steroid injection, the pimple flattens and disappears, typically in two to four days, according to MayoClinc.com.
Steroid injections are effective for individual blemishes, but are not recommended as a treatment for widespread acne breakouts. Possible complications from steroid injections include telangiectasia, or small skin surface blood vessels, thinning skin and hypopigmentation, or skin lightening. The procedure must be performed under medical supervision, which means the cost can be prohibitive, especially if you need multiple treatments.
Two over-the-counter devices use heat to treat pimples: Zeno and Thermaclear. Each device applies heat below the surface of the skin to discourage an emerging pimple from developing into a full-blown whitehead or blackhead, "USA Today" reports. Zeno obtained approval from the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA in 2005; Thermaclear obtained FDA approval in 2006.
Zeno heats to a temperature of 118.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Users must apply the device to pimples for 2 1/2 minutes initially, then repeat the procedure two to four more times during the next four to 12 hours, according to the the Beauty Brains website. Thermaclear heats to a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The device requires a single two second application on each pimple.
Many people squeeze or pop pimples, especially on their faces. Squeezing or picking at pimples can make acne worse and may cause scars, the American Academy of Dermatology warns. Instead, apply cream or gel with a concentration of 5 percent benzoyl peroxide to pimples to speed the healing process, recommends Patrice Hyde, MD, writing for Kids Health from Nemours.
If a doctor's visit or over-the-counter device is beyond your budget and you absolutely cannot bear to wait for a pimple to heal on its own, the following procedure offers minimal risk, according to the Beauty Brains website, citing Acne.org. Use a sterilized needle to prick the pimple. Wrap clean tissue or toilet paper around your index fingers and apply gentle pressure to either side of the pimple until blood or pus emerges. Do not attempt this procedure with cysts or nodules.
- United States Food and Drug Administration: Zeno Approval
- United States Food and Drug Administration: Thermacare Approval
- MayoClinic.com: Acne Treatments -- Emerging Therapies for Clearer Skin
- The Beauty Brains: Anti-Acne Gadget -- the Thermaclear Zit Zapper
- "USA Today": The Heat Is On New Acne Fighters, February 11, 2007
- Veronika Surovtseva/iStock/Getty Images