Whether you choose to call it acne, zits, pimples or spots, know that you're not alone. Over 80% of teenagers will experience an outbreak of pimples at some point, which means science and reason have worked overtime to devise ways to treat them as quickly as possible (the demand is certainly right up there).
Before we begin looking at how best to deal with them, a few must-know facts are in order. Below the surface of our skin, the sebaceous glands produce sebum in order to lubricate our skin and keep it moist. Sometimes they can become overactive and block the pores of our skin and cause -- you know it -- pimples. It is important to realize that while not every treatment may work, and outbreaks can re-occur and become persistent in certain individuals, they are neither dangerous nor contagious.Removing pimples fast, therefore, becomes a question of aesthetics (which is also undoubtedly important) rather than a health concern.
Our Plan Of Action
There are many ways to treat acne, from home remedy tricks to commercial products. We'll deal with them all briefly and work our way to long-term solutions to keep them off.
Salt water method - Take a bucket or container and fill it with warm water. Once it's almost full you're going to add a copious amount of salt to it. When I say copious, I mean a lot. Keep going until it's really salty, then add a little more simply because you can't go wrong. Dip a cotton ball into the solution for a minute or so and then apply it gently to the pimple in question and hold it there for several minutes (patience is the key). When you remove it you may be surprised to find that it may have discolored somewhat, great! But we're not done yet. Now dip two more cotton balls and flatten the spot by pressing firmly from either side of it.
Garlic - Garlic contains natural antibiotic properties that can take care of zits. Rub a clove of garlic on the spot in question several times a day, avoid doing this on date-night for obvious reasons!
Cucumber - Covering the spot in question with grated cucumber for fifteen minutes can be used to treat and prevent pimples. Especially good at removing post-zit removal marks on the skin.
Lemon and orange peel paste - Break down lemon and orange peels and mix it with water, flour and honey to make a viscous paste which can be applied to any part of the body which houses pimples.
This article isn't about advocating any commercial solution over another, I may mention one or two names in passing, but my focus will be on active ingredients rather than brand names.
Benzoyl peroxide - Is a substance which directly attacks the bacteria that causes the breakout (propionibacteria acnes).
Proactiv® - A very popular treatment that involves three distinct steps (you can read more about their pimple removal steps here).
Laser Treatment - If speed and severity are key, laser treatment can level the playing field after a week or so. I only really recommend this if it's a bad outbreak since it can be horribly expensive as well as mildly annoying.
Sulphur Based - Commercial products based on sulphur products try and catalyze removal of dead skin, thereby freeing the clogged up pores. Not a rapid solution, but a natural one.
Acupuncture - If taking medicine of any kind isn't really your thing, acupuncture has reported some success over the course of a handful of session.
Antibiotics - Some people may be prescibed oral antibiotics such as Tetracycline in order to combat acne. I have some personal reservations about this -- but they are personal.
Types Of Pimple
Know thy enemy. There are various kinds of pimples, learn to tell them apart!
Whiteheads - Flesh colored and minute.
Blackheads - Often confused with dirt.
Cysts - Painful and contain pus.
Papules - Pink solid and round.
Nodules - Akin to papules but bigger.
Pustules - Visibly contain pus on top, red below.