Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 3/10/2022
When you spot a pimple, chances are you want it gone — stat! At least, you’ll want to get rid of any pimples within five minutes.
Seriously, unsightly blemishes can ruin your plans for a flawless face and they always seem to pop up at the most inopportune times.
So, it would be ideal if you could get rid of them within just a few minutes — right? But is that actually possible? And, if so, what do you have to do to nix those pimples as soon as you see them?
Read on to learn whether or not you can get rid of pimples in five minutes — and how to banish them for good. But, first, learn a bit more about how pimples even happen in the first place.
Pimples are the result of sebum and dead skin cells mingling and building up to block pores and hair follicles.
Unfamiliar with sebum? It’s an oily substance created by sebaceous glands to help lubricate your skin and hair — which is important. Sebum also protects skin from bacteria and other not-so-great environmental factors.
So, sebum isn’t all bad — unless too much is produced and it starts blocking your pores.
Excess sebum can be caused by:
Hormonal imbalances (a la the ones caused by your period)
Genetics, which can also factor in
Bad habits, like washing your skin too much
But if those dead skin cells mingle with sebum, it can block pores and cause zits.
However, you can make some moves that will either help pimples go away faster or you can at least reduce their unsightliness. For example, try applying ice to the zit. This can reduce inflammation and redness, so your pimple won’t be as noticeable.
Just wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and place it on the pimple for five to ten minutes. Give your face a ten-minute break and repeat again. With each ice application, you’ll notice your pimple looks better.
One warning: Never pop a pimple on your own. It can push the infection and bacteria deeper into your skin, and make your pimple worse.
While there may not be a fast fix for pimples, there are plenty of things that can ultimately cure acne.
Ready to learn how to banish blemishes? The following treatments are commonly suggested by healthcare professionals. Each takes longer than five minutes to get rid of pimples, but the important thing is that they often work and help clear your skin.
Topical treatments (also called spot treatments) are exactly what they sound like: You put them on a zit and they penetrate your skin to address the infection causing your breakout.
You’ve likely heard of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, as they are some of the most common topical treatments you can purchase over the counter. Both remove dead skin cells to deal with clogged pores and also have antibacterial properties.
Salicylic acid may also reduce swelling caused by the infection (which is what causes the red bumps associated with pimples). A warning: Benzoyl peroxide irritates some people, especially those with sensitive skin, so be careful if you are using it for the first time. If you do notice irritated skin after using it, you may want to consult a healthcare professional.
In addition to these, there are prescription topicals for helping to heal and prevent acne. Tretinoin is one. It encourages your skin to shed dead skin cells that cause breakouts.
Birth control pills are sometimes prescribed to treat acne. Specifically, the FDA has okayed a few combined oral contraceptives for this purpose. They lower levels of certain hormones that can lead to acne, while also diminishing your skin’s production of sebum.
Isotretinoin is another prescription oral medication that can reduce sebum. But that’s not all! It can also help stop dead skin cells from gunking up your pores and hair follicles.
If bacteria is going crazy and causing breakouts, a healthcare professional may prescribe oral antibiotics to prevent acne from spreading and to get it under control.
It’s also wise to make sure the bottle of face cleanser has the word “non-comedogenic” printed on it. This means it won’t clog your pores. Hers has a facial cleanser that is all these things and more.
Moisturizer is equally as important as cleanser —nand no matter your skin type, you should use it. Yes, that means even if you have oily skin.
While it may be tempting to try and dry out your skin to dry out pimples, that’s a mistake. When your skin is dry, it tells your sebaceous glands to produce even more oil. Hers facial moisturizer is oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it great for acne.
Finally, never forget sunscreen. Again, the sun can dry out skin, causing it to produce more oil. Plus, sunscreen prevents you from things far worse than pimples. The American Academy of Dermatology says it is wise to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30.
Not to burst your bubble, but getting rid of a pimple in five minutes is going to be tough. That said, there are things you can do to help — like applying ice to minimize inflammation (read: pimple size) or seeing a healthcare provider for a cortisone shot to reduce the zit.
There are also a ton of other treatments that, thought they take longer, can help your acne in the long run. That way, you don’t have to worry about trying to get rid of a pimple in five minutes. These treatments include topical creams (like salicylic acid) and oral medication.
If you are dealing with a breakout or have acne-prone skin, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional. That person can look at your acne and give proper recommendations on acne treatments that can help you.