One of the most effective ways to treat an active acne lesion is to spot treat it. We recommend using an anti-acne over-the-counter medication, such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or sulfur when spot-treating acne. All of those ingredients work well when it comes to zapping a zit. Benzoyl peroxide infuses the pimple with oxygen, which kills the p. acnes bacteria. Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that aids in shedding cells inside the hair follicle. It’s the buildup of cells that blocks the pores and causes zits. Sulfur also helps to get rid of the cells that clog pores.
But what happens when you overdo it in the spot treating department? The zit and the skin surrounding it becomes red, flaky, itchy and inflamed. Often it looks worse than if you had done nothing at all. The best way to treat a pimple that has become dried out and red is by gently dabbing on a fragrance-free moisturizer that contains a humectant, such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin. You will want to refrain from using any products containing retinoids or any other cleansers or treatments with harsh ingredients in them until the redness and dryness has disappeared.
It’s still much better for your skin to spot treat than to pick at it. The best thing you can do for an inflamed pimple is to head to the dermatologist’s office for a cortisone injection. This will treat the pimple and flatten it out within 24 hours. It will also take away the temptation to pick.