Understanding acne and how to get rid of pimples? 

Acne is the skin condition responsible for pimples. Hormonal changes and conditions on and just under the skin’s surface play a role in their formation. Let’s take a closer look, before we dive deeper into different pimple remedies and treatments.

Pimples occur when the skin’s pores become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. This is thought to happen because of excess sebum (hyperseborrhea) and poor-quality sebum (dyseborrhea). 
The skin thickens and sebum gets blocked under the surface. The resulting comedones may become inflamed as Cutibacterium acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne, proliferates.
Pimples mostly occur on the face, chest and back. Although whiteheads and blackheads are the most common kind of acne lesion, in more severe cases, inflamed cysts and nodes may also appear. 

Find out more about what causes pimples. 

The first step to calm a painful pimple is to apply ice. Wrap some ice in a cloth or plastic bag and press it against the inflamed area for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat several times during the day to soothe the skin and reduce swelling.

Products containing salicylic acid can help remove excess oil and dead skin. Another important ingredient to look for is benzoyl peroxide as it also helps kill the bacteria that cause the pimples.

Many face masks target pimples and may well contain ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

If your pimples won’t go away, keep coming back or get worse, it is best to see a specialist. A dermatologist will be able to suggest the most appropriate treatment, including stronger prescription-only topical and oral options.

If you are looking for a natural alternative to remove pimples, you might consider essential oils. Several essential oils are known to kill bacteria. Thyme, cinnamon, and rosemary have all shown the potential to be effective against pimple-causing C. acnes. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Other natural ingredients like witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, green tea, and aloe vera are popular home remedies for fighting pimples without side effects like redness or dryness. For example, research suggests that witch hazel may fight bacteria and reduce skin irritation and inflammation, which can contribute to acne.

However, many of these pimple remedies lack scientific backing and require further research to determine their effectiveness. When applying essential oils or other natural remedies for acne, a little goes a long way. If you’re using other acne medication, talk to your dermatologist first to ensure there are no unwanted interactions.

Over time, numerous myths about how to get rid of pimples have circulated. Many are quite simply incorrect or unproven.

  • Eating chocolate and greasy food has not been proven to have any significant effect on acne.


  • Acne is not caused by dirty skin. Scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals irritates the skin and can make acne worse.


  • Cosmetics don't necessarily make acne worse, especially if you use oil-free makeup that doesn't clog the skin’s pores (non-comedogenic). 


  • Toothpaste won’t help get rid of pimples, especially as antimicrobial triclosan previously found in many formulas has been banned. 

By avoiding certain habits or actions, you can prevent your pimples from getting redder and help them heal quicker.

  • Firstly, and most importantly, resist the temptation to squeeze your pimples or touch your face too often, this is traumatic for the skin, leading to inflammation, infection, a longer healing process and possibly scarring.


  • Avoid suddenly and drastically changing your skincare routine with much stronger products, any changes should be progressive.


  • Try not to overdry the affected area – large amounts or a high concentration of ingredients like salicylic acid will irritate your skin.


  • Give makeup with pore-clogging ingredients a miss – why not opt for alternatives that contain ingredients like salicylic acid?

Can you get rid of pimples overnight?

Sadly no, there is no instant miracle cure. Pimples take time to go away. However, you can reduce the swelling and pain, and make the pimple less noticeable. Apply ice and then a pimple product containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If a whitehead forms, you could also apply a hot compress.