Pimples possess such remarkable tenacity you’d think they were living, breathing, sentient beings. They show up unannounced. They stare you down from the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning. They beg you to pick at them discreetly as you sit at your desk. They third wheel dates, while adding absolutely nothing of value to the conversation. They even watch you sleep.

I’m sure you all have an ad hoc method for dealing with unwelcome breakouts. Some involve whatever’s in the bathroom cabinet coupled with blind faith, while others have more to do with ill-informed decisions (I’ll admit that I’ve gone in with a “sterilised” sewing needle and would not advise doing the same).

Put those needles away along with that blind faith – we’ve pulled together a 3-step guide to combating pimples from all sides, at all stages of infection.  

Roll up your sleeves and wash your hands. We’re going in.


STAGE 1: The Blind Pimple = draw it out

What do you do when you can feel, but not see a breakout? This vexatious phenomena, otherwise known as a blind pimple or acne cyst, can leave one feeling a little helpless, because, like most things in life, it’s difficult to address an issue until it’s out there in the open. All I can say is that this is not the time to go poking around with fingers and needles. Hold yourself together. Summon your powers of self-control and seduction. Lure the fugitive out with a mixture of hot water and Tea Tree Oil. It’s simple: dip a clean face cloth into the DIY solution, wring out the excess, hold it over the problem area for a few minutes, and repeat morning and evening until that blind pimple forms a head.


STAGE 2: The Whitehead = dry it out and extract (if you must)

Before going to town on your newly formed whitehead (cute), you’ll want to exercise yet more self control. Instead of irritating your entire face and running the risk of yet more breakouts, go local with a powerful spot treatment. We love the award-winning Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, as well as Dermalogica’s Special Clearing Booster – both work like magic vacuums, unclogging blocked pores and drying up infections like nothing else. Keep the rest of your complexion radiant, calm and decongested with Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Acid Toner. And if that whitehead is still looking like it’s ready to pop off like Cardi B on a rocket ship? Repeat step 1 to soften and cleanse the area, take a clean tissue, and gently squeeze on either side. GENTLY! If it doesn’t want to come out, you might want to leave it alone a little while longer.


STAGE 3: The Scar = exfoliate and erase

Ok. Phew *wipes sweat from forehead*. Now that you’ve performed an excavation that feels as laborious as pulling coal from the earth’s centre, it’s time to erase the scarring and red marks left over from all that picking we warned against. But hey, I just admitted to using a sewing needle to pop a pimple, so really, I am in no position to throw stones. You have a few options here. A potent vitamin C serum works wonders for healing skin, as well as brightening its overall tone and texture. But if you want to really speed things up, go for an AHA, BHA or retinol serum. Be warned, though: because these last two options fast-track cell renewal, you may be left with a bright and even, yet highly sensitive complexion. Luckily, we’ve already detailed everything you need to know about vitamin C, retinol and AHA/BHA’s.