5 ingredients to fight acne quickly

  • To get rid of acne quickly, try bacteria-killing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and sulfur.
  • Tea tree oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent that can also help.
  • Use witch hazel to get rid of acne and tighten pores.
  • Visit the Insider Health Reference for more tips.

Acne is not fun, and when it does appear on your face, chances are you want it to go away as soon as possible.

The time it takes for a pimple to disappear varies. Smaller pimples can disappear within a few days, and cysts can take weeks. Michelle Greene, M.D., a dermatologist with private practice.

However, you can speed up the process a little by trying some of the following treatments.

1. Benzoyl peroxide

This popular acne-fighting ingredient has been medically proven to be effective in treating acne. It works attacks acne causing bacteriasays Green. Plus, it minimizes excess sebum, also known as oil, and removes dead skin cells to help clear clogged pores.

How to use it:

Benzoyl peroxide is found in facial washes, scrubs, and blemishes. If you’re just trying to get rid of one or two pimples, Green recommends opting for a spot remedy or a gel that contains benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient is especially helpful when you are dealing with cystic pimples as it has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce redness and swelling.

2. Tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil – natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agentGreen says, which means it can kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce the inflammation, swelling, and redness associated with acne.

Small 2017 study 14 participants who used tea tree oil gel twice a day for 12 weeks found it to significantly reduce facial acne.

How to use it:

Tea tree oil can irritate the skin and must be diluted before application. Green recommends adding one or two drops of oil to a moisturizer and then applying it to the pimple. Alternatively, you can look for products containing this ingredient if you don’t want to dilute the pure oil yourself.

3. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel acts as an astringent, meaning it dries out excess oil and also tightens the pores of the skin, which prevents future skin clogs, Green says.

Besides, 2014 overview who analyzed studies of 52 moisturizing ingredients in conventional acne treatment products, concluded that the anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel made it an effective weapon against acne.

How to use it:

Commercial witch hazel is sold in liquid form. So moisten a cotton ball with it, and then apply it to your skin after washing, says Green.

4. Sulfur

Sulfur also kills acne causing bacteria and reduces inflammation. However, according to Green, it is slightly less irritating than benzoyl peroxide, which may make sulfur a better choice for sensitive skin.

According to Overview 2009 With various acne remedies, the drying and antibacterial properties of sulfur make it an effective option and it is suitable for sensitive skin.

How to use it:

For larger breakouts, you can use face masks that contain sulfur, but for some acne, you can apply sulfur as a spot treatment. Green says that spot remedies can usually be used up to several times a day, but masks should not be used more often than a few times a week.

5. Prescription drugs

If you have severe acne and acne is a common problem, such as if your acne is genetic or hormonal and cannot be treated without a prescription, Greene says prescription oral medications may be needed to reduce the flare-up. Examples of these:

  • Antibiotics such as erythromycin or clindamycin (also available in topical form)
  • Hormonal drugs such as spironolactone.
  • Oral retinoids such as Accutane.
  • Topical retinoids such as Retin-A

Green says these drugs work by reducing surface bacteria, excess fat, and inflammation. “Topical prescription acne medications such as retin-A or clindamycin contain higher concentrations of the respective acne-fighting ingredients than those sold over the counter,” Green says.

Other medications, such as accutane (an oral retinoid) or spironolactone (a hormonal drug), regulate the internal processes that contribute to acne, Green said.

How to use them:

Follow your dermatologist’s medication instructions. Oral medications are usually taken once a day, while local prescriptions are usually taken once a day. But be sure to use as directed to avoid side effects.

These treatments are longer-term solutions and can take weeks or months to see results, but they are designed to provide clearer skin, so ideally you shouldn’t have to deal with breakouts in the first place.

Insider’s conclusion

If you are dealing with annoying and unsightly acne, try these remedies and see which works best for you. By reducing bacteria and inflammation, you will be on the right track for reducing those pimples.

You can also take steps to prevent acne in the first place. Green recommends using a mild cleanser containing an acne-fighting ingredient like salicylic acid twice a day.

If your acne struggle is serious and you don’t respond to over-the-counter treatments or remedies, see a dermatologist for help.

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