Learn How To Get Rid Of Pimples

When it comes to acne—pimples, zits, blackheads or whatever you call them—everyone wants to find a solution and the faster the better. Unfortunately there are plenty of myths, half-truths and flat out lies claiming to teach you how to get rid of pimples quickly.

In order to find the best pimple treatment for you, it’s best to understand what pimples are, how they form and what causes them. Once you realize that chocolate and fast food aren’t directly related to pimples, you can start finding out what does and how to get rid of them.

What Are Pimples?

Pimples are small inflamed areas on the skin, usually the face, neck and back. Usually pimples are accompanied by pus which is a result of infected oil glands. The term ‘pimple’ refers to many forms of acne including whiteheads, blackheads and zits but commonly are referred to by dermatologists as ‘papules’.

Unlike whiteheads or blackheads however, pimples are typically brown, pink, red or purple in color. Although pimples are often associated with puberty and adolescence it is not uncommon for adult acne to persist or happen via random breakouts.

Popping pimples is not an effective treatment.

Popping pimples is not an effective treatment.


Causes & Symptoms

There isn’t one set factor that causes pimples to form, but rather several different factors. Before you can determine the cause of pimples you need to know how pimples form. We have oil glands, called sebaceous, that are attached the hair follicles all over our bodies. When testosterone levels are elevated, in both men and women, these oil glands are over stimulated and pimples pop up.

Pimple breakouts are more prevalent during puberty because of the surge in hormones, however it is not uncommon for adult males and females to experience elevated hormones that cause an increase in oil production.

Oily skin is a sign that you may need a better pimple treatment plan.

Oily skin is a sign that you may need a better pimple treatment plan.

The visible pimple forms because the increase in oil production changes the way skin cells grow so they are more likely to clog the pores, which produces the bumps we associate with pimples. So the key to learning how to get rid of pimples is to find a way to limit or eliminate excess oil production.

The symptoms of pimples usually occur on the face, chest, shoulders, neck and back. While pimple breakouts usually last just a few days or weeks, they can last months or even years. If you want to know how to get rid of pimples fast you have to be able to identify the symptoms as quickly as possible.

If you suffer from mild acne breakouts the symptoms will include blackheads and whiteheads that if left untreated will turn into full-blown pimples. When that happens the red or pink bumps may be sensitive, form with crust or ooze pus. Severe acne breakouts can result in pimples that are quite deep and very large, known as cystic lesions. These can cause pain and leave scars if you do not employ the correct pimple treatment.

Back pimples, shown above, can often be worse than face breakouts.

Back pimples, shown above, can often be worse than face breakouts.

Natural Home Remedies

One of the best natural methods to get rid of pimples fast is a spot of toothpaste. In fact there are several home remedies to get rid of pimples that are spot treatments. A dab of toothpaste on pimples—not your entire face—will pull the oil and bacteria from the pore, drying it out and decreasing it in size until it is gone.

Another great way to get rid of pimples overnight is an apple cider vinegar or lemon swab. Check your pantry for apple cider vinegar or lemon and dip one edge of a cotton swab into the liquid before applying directly to pimples only. Of course this can also be used—diluted—as an astringent, it is best to simply use this as a spot treatment.

Tomato masks can provide an effective pimple treatment.

Tomato masks can provide an effective pimple treatment.

Tomato juice is a perfect astringent that pulls oil from offending pores because it is less acidic than vinegar or lemon. Many people swear fresh tomato juice is effective for getting rid of acne scars as well, but since you can never know how your skin will respond to any pimple treatment it is best to begin with a spot treatment directly on the pimples.

If you often suffer breakouts on your back you have probably wanted to learn how to get rid of pimples on back for a long time without success. The best home remedy for back pimples are scrubs and masks. For masks the base will be cosmetic clay, which can be found online. For scrubs raw sugar or sand will be the base. Both scrubs and masks can be blended with lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus or wintergreen oils.

Masks should be left on overnight and scrubs should be washed within five minutes, with warm water.


There is much debate in the scientific world about how diet can affect pimple breakouts. While as of yet there have been no direct link to greasy, fatty foods and acne, one cannot discount the fact that the increased usage of hormones in meat and vegetables can have an effect on oil production. If you are producing more testosterone that you should—naturally or with food assistance—it is likely your diet will contribute to more frequent pimple outbreaks.

Likewise if a healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables can help clear up pimples, then it would stand to reason that greasy, fatty foods will worsen it.

Over The Counter Treatment For Pimple

There are many pimple treatments available over the counter if you want learn how to get rid of pimples on your own. Usually found in the pharmacy or cosmetic section of your local store, you should seek out acne treatments that feature specific ingredients.

Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient often found in over the counter treatments for pimples because it has been shown effective for killing the bacteria that causes pimples to form. Additionally benzoyl peroxide also dries the skin out to a degree so that the pores are unable to clog.

Salicylic acid is another ingredient found in products that treat pimples due to its ability to prevent pore clogging and neutralizing the bacteria that causes pores to clog and pimples to form. These treatments come in the form of face washes, scrubs, masks and toner or astringents.

What Can Make The Pimples Worse? 

There are some things that you can do to that can worsen your pimple outbreaks. Avoid touching your face, specifically pimples, with unclean hands. Along those same lines do not pick, squeeze or scratch at pimples because it can cause further infections as well as acne scars.

Any accessories that are near your face including hats, headbands, bandanas, caps should be clean and loose-fitting. Tight items can cause undue friction that can irritate pimples or rub them off, causing scarring. Wearing oily or unclean accessories can cause a bigger breakout and worsen clogged pores.

Picking or popping pimples will make your breakout worse.

Picking or popping pimples will make your breakout worse.

Oily hair, especially if it is long can make pimple breakouts worse. Keep long hair away from your face and be certain to wash hair regularly.

If you wear makeup, make sure to remove it before bed each night. Leaving oily or greasy cosmetics on your face overnight can render pimple treatments ineffective as you’re giving all the oil time to seep into your skin and clog pores, allowing pimples to form.


Most of us are constantly learning how to get rid of pimples because we learn more with every failed product. But the key is to come up with a cleansing regimen that will allow you to minimize breakouts and treat them quickly as they occur. Use these tips to get rid of pimples fast:

  • Use skin care products for your skin type (i.e. oily, sensitive, combination)
  • Add a scrub or mask to your cleansing regimen at least once per week.
  • Invest in cleansing pads or pore strips to clean oil production during the day.
  • When possible, use natural oil-free cosmetic products.
  • Wear loose clothing if you experience frequent breakouts on your back.
A clean face is the best way to prevent pimple breakouts.

A clean face is the best way to prevent pimple breakouts.


The best pimple treatment is prevention and no method of preventing pimples is as important as a clean face. This means using a mild cleansing agent—face wash or soap—with warm water. This serves to get rid of excess oil, dirt and bacteria and dead skin cells that cause pimples.

Although it may seem counterproductive to moisturize an area that is producing too much oil, the fact is that many cleansing agents (not to mention hard water) can dry the skin out too much. When that happens you need a moisturizer to minimize the drying so you don’t have cracked or peeling skin. Knowing your skin type can help find the moisturizer that will work with your current pimple treatment.

Use natural ingredients for hair, face and even laundry detergents to prevent breakouts. Harsh chemicals can lead to pimple breakouts and skin irritation.


If you notice that your pimple treatment isn’t working or is causing your breakout to worsen, consult your physician or dermatologist immediately. There are some skin problems such as rosacea, razor burn and folliculitis, that present like pimples but are not. If over the counter treatments are not working, you may have a different skin issue altogether.

What seems a simple breakout could be more.

What seems a simple breakout could be more.

If pimples worsen and you notice larger and deeper blemishes, see your doctor right away to ensure it is nothing worse than severe acne.

Scars due to pimples can be difficult to clear up and may require further medical treatments.


Written By Kayla Harris

Dr. Harris is a dermatologist certified by the American Boards of Dermatology and Pediatrics. She has also received a certification in the sub-specialty of Pediatric Dermatology. Dr. Harris received an undergraduate degree biology from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Harris earned her Medical Degree at the University Missouri. Dr. Harris completed her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital at the University of Colorado where she also completed her residency in dermatology just one year later.


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