It always happens at the worst possible time.
You wake up, stumble over to the bathroom with sleep still in your eyes, catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and—the horror—are greeted by the sight of a giant, throbbing pimple smack in the middle of your clear complexion.
Annoying, gross, and of course, inconvenient. Pimples are never welcome, especially if they’re whiteheads. We know that there’s a right way to treat a giant zit: Call up the derm and book an appointment for a cortisone shot—and no picking! But we’re not made of money … and honestly, if we headed to the doctor every time we had a rogue skin flare up we’d be there at least once a week.
In the heat of the moment—when you’re facing down a whitehead the size of your pinky nail—the internet can be your best resource. Especially Reddit’s super popular thread SkincareAddiction.
r/SkincareAddiction is basically a treasure trove of crowdsourced skincare tips from hundreds of thousands of people who have problem skin; the best tips get upvoted to the top of the thread, so if you hop onto the site you’ll see only the most helpful skincare hacks.
The most upvoted thread on the subreddit is titled, “[Acne] How to use hydrocolloid bandages to treat active breakouts.” Obviously, as a sometime acne-sufferer, I was intrigued when I saw the original post had racked up hundreds of comments—a sure sign that it’s worth paying attention to. Clicking into the post and scrolling through the comments, I wasn’t disappointed. User after user exulted in the miracle of hydrocolloid (what?) bandages, claiming the method was the ultimate way to clear up a breakout literally overnight.
Too good to be true? I was skeptical at first, too. But the hydrocolloid bandage—which is basically a blister-type bandage that restricts oxygen flow to the wound or pimple—absorbs moisture from the wound into the bandage. This effectively dries out the zit and protects it from bacteria, keeping it from getting infected. If your skin isn’t sensitive, you can spot treat pimples with salicylic acid or tea tree oil for extra fighting power.
If your pimple hasn’t come to a head, use a warm compress for a couple of minutes to coax it out.
Clean the area. Or you know, just wash your face as you normally would and then work on spots.
Identify your zit’s center and use a lancet to lightly pierce the skin. You can buy lancets in any pharmacy’s diabetes section or you can use any needle and sterilize it with rubbing alcohol.
Treat the spot with some BHA (Stridex, PC, etc) EDIT: Some people have reported chemical burns when using tretorin or BHA under a bandage, skip this step if you have sensitive skin. Also remember to dispose of them properly.
GENTLY squeeze with q-tips or clean fingers (no fingernails!) until you’re sure the skin has been pierced and the gunk has a way out
Slap a bandage over the area and leave overnight
That’s it! Just pop the offensive pimple, apply the hydrocolloid, and you’ll wake up the net morning to blemish-free skin. We’re scooping up some of these bandages on Amazonbefore it happens to us!