Pimple Problem

By Chandra Orr

March 5, 2010 5 min read

Pimple problems? No worries.

From DIY remedies whipped up in the kitchen to medicine cabinet staples that pull double duty, there are plenty of ways to banish that blemish if you can't make it to the store for your favorite acne treatment.

First things first: Don't pick it. You run the risk of making it worse and causing permanent scarring. Instead, hit the fridge for a natural face mask.

Whisk together one egg white and the juice from half a lemon. Apply to a clean face, paying particular attention to the blemished area. Let the mask dry, and then wash it off.

"Lemon contains alpha hydroxy acid, which sloughs off dead skin, promotes skin elasticity and enables new skin cell growth from underneath," explains beauty expert and holistic practitioner Aimee Raupp, author of "Chill Out & Get Healthy: Live Clean To Be Strong and Stay Sexy." "The lemon juice flushes out pores and keeps your skin feeling fresh and bright. The egg white is a natural astringent that will both dry up the blemish and make your overall facial appearance brighter and tighter."

Plain lemon juice, dabbed on trouble spots twice a day, also works well, according to cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, resident beauty expert for Allure magazine and founder of BeautyStat.com. "The citric acid in the lemon is mild to the skin but just strong enough to safely peel off the epidermis, revealing fresh new skin underneath," he explains.

For a slightly stronger solution, Robinson recommends adding a few of Mother Nature's more intense astringents to the mix.

Mix together 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of grated horseradish root, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and 3 drops of rosemary oil. Dab the mixture on acne scar spots for a fresh, clean appearance.

A simple saltwater solution also works wonders, according to dermatologist David E. Bank, founder and president of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of table salt in 1 cup of warm water. Dip a tissue into the mixture, and press it against the blemish for 1 minute. "Hold the warm compress on the breakout for 5 minutes to open it up," Bank says. "Once open, it should go away in 24 hours."

*Medicine Cabinet Staples

Other blemish-busting standbys may be lurking in your medicine cabinet. "If you find yourself without your favorite acne-zapping solution the day of your event, try using some toothpaste over the breakout," says licensed aesthetician Wendy Garcia. "This will help dry out the lesion -- but don't leave the toothpaste on too long or go crazy with it. It could cause irritation. It just depends on the type of breakout and how sensitive your skin is."

Because blemishes are often the result of bacteria trapped in the pores, a touch of triple antibiotic cream can help soothe swollen skin.

"If you run out of acne cream, dab Neosporin or another antibacterial product from your medicine cabinet on the pimple to clear up the affected area," Bank says.

Follow up with an aspirin paste to reduce any lingering inflammation. Crush one aspirin pill in a small bowl, and add enough water to make a thick paste. Apply the mixture to the trouble zone before bed.

"It gets rid of redness and brings down swelling associated with pimples," Bank says.

*Quick Cover-ups

To mask remaining redness, reach for loose mineral powder -- but use a light hand. Too many products layered on top of blemishes will only draw attention to the affected area.

"Loose minerals are great for oily and acne-prone skins," Garcia says. "You can camouflage any lesion, redness or pimple by patting on loose mineral powders and layering them until you get the coverage you want."

Look for a talc-free mineral powder, which will blend onto the skin without irritating or clogging pores, Robinson says.

For the best coverage, apply a lighter shade of powder to blemishes with a small concealer brush. Follow up with an all-over application of mineral powder that matches your skin tone. Use a large fluffy powder brush to blend the layers.

Don't have any mineral powder on hand? Try traditional cover-up.

"Honestly, cover-up works great," Raupp says. "Look for a light, pastel green concealer to apply first. It will help cover up the redness."

Top it off with a dab of foundation or concealer that blends with your skin tone.

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