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Red Alert: Reduce Pimple Swelling in 3 Easy Steps

Manage surprise pimples with these quick fixes — and long-term solutions.

We’ve all been there. It’s the day of an important presentation, a first date, or maybe even your own wedding — and you’ve woken up with a red, angry pimple smack dab in the middle of your forehead. Since there’s a clear correlation between stress and acne, perhaps it’s no surprise that pimples pop up on our most important days. But freaking out about the pimple will only generate more stress, and in turn, more pimples.

With these tips, you can stay cool the next time disaster strikes — and avoid the cardinal sin of dermatology: popping your pimples. Follow these three easy and effective steps to minimize swelling the next time a pimple appears on your face at an inopportune moment.

1. Ice

A dash of ice is your best bet for reducing redness, swelling, and pimple size. For this pimple management method, wrap a piece of ice in a paper towel, hold it on the affected area for about 20 minutes, and then remove it for 20 minutes. Repeat this process twice for best results. One caveat: limit the icing time to 20-minute intervals to prevent further inflammation.

2. Eye Drops

If you’re crunched for time, reach into the bathroom cabinet for Visine. That’s right — the product used for reducing eye redness will help combat facial blemishes in the very same way. Apply the solution using a cotton ball or q-tip, wait for it to dry, and you’re good to go. Keep in mind, however, that eye drops are only a temporary, cosmetic fix, and will not reduce your inflammation long-term.

3. Aspirin

I bet you didn’t know that Aspirin, a medicine cabinet staple, also contains salicylic acid — a common pimple-fighting ingredient. If you’re far from your skincare products, concoct a makeshift spot treatment using aspirin and water. Crush up one pill and mix with a dash of water until you’ve created a paste. Apply the paste to the inflamed area using a Q-tip. Wait for the paste to dry, and then rinse it off with warm water. While this isn’t an instant fix, it will help reduce the prominence of your pimple.

While undoubtedly helpful, these methods should only be used in dire straits. Contact a dermatologist to find a care plan that improves the overall health of your skin — rather than simply banishing the occasional whitehead.

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