February 05, 2010

Get Rid of Zits Fast

Fast fix: In general, it's a bad idea to attempt a home extraction right before you want your face to look its best. Picking at a pimple with your nails can cut your skin, leaving the area red, scabby, and swollen. But for this particular occasion, getting rid of the gunk trapped inside is the only way to bring down your bump, so here's how to do the self-surgery safely: Apply a warm washcloth to the area to open the pore, making it easier to squeeze, says Kate Somerville, a Los Angeles celebrity aesthetician. Sterilize a lancet-try the Sephora Complexion Extractor With Lance ($18; sephora.com)-with rubbing alcohol and gently pierce the blemish. Then wrap your pointer fingers in tissue (to prevent spreading germs into the wound, which could lead to infection) and use them to gently push against both sides of the pustule. If nothing comes out, stop, pat with hydrogen peroxide, and leave it alone; your best bet is to cover the bump with a medicated spot treatment that conceals and heals (try MD Skincare Correct & Perfect Spot Treatment, $28; mdskincare.com). If you're able to empty the pore, treat it with antibacterial ointment. If the blemish remains large and painful and there's still time, see a dermatologist, who can give you a cortisone injection that should bring the bump down within 24 hours. After the big event, cleanse with an exfoliating salicylic acid wash to keep the rest of your pores clear. We love Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Clear Scrub ($8; at drugstores).


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