How Can I Treat Sudden Pimples or Breakouts?

Pimple breakouts happen like clockwork now that I'm using lots of face makeup (doing stage acting). What's best way to get rid of acne breakouts?

Doctor Answers (6)

How to Treat Sudden Pimples

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When wearing stage makeup regularly, it is important to use a cleanser with salicylic acid to clean out the pores daily.  Regular use of a cleansing brush can also help to keep your pores clean.  If acne breakouts still pop up, there are a few great treatments to consider.  The most effective treatment is to visit your dermatologist for a tiny injection of an anti-inflammatory medication; this medication (a dilute corticosteroid) can flatten your sudden pimple within 24-48 hours.  Your dermatologist can also perform in-office treatments, such as Isolaz therapy, which help to reduce inflammatory acne quickly.

If you can't make it in to your dermatologist's office, you may apply topical medications, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, directly to the pimple.  Lastly, if you are having sudden pimples regularly, it is important to begin a preventative acne regimen (often with topical retinoids and anti-microbials); you should discuss this with your dermatologist.


New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

How to treat acne breakouts

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Dear patient,

Your acne needs to be under control and then maintained. Depending on the severity of your acne, one option would be chemical peels with glycolic and salicylic acid for mild to moderate acne. For more severe acne, I would suggest photodynamic therapy with levulan. For more information I would highly recommend you consult with your physician.

Teanoosh Zadeh, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Acne breakouts - treatment

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There are multiple ways to treat breakouts. If you have breakouts all the time, the treatment has to involve a retinoid (to help prevent this). Oral antibiotics or acutane may be needed. If you breakout with a couple pimples per month, using a benzoyl peroxide can help.

Gary Goldenberg, MD
New York Dermatologist

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Treating a sudden acne pimple

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I recommend you wash your face thoroughly after your stage performance. Choices of cleansers are Purpose by J&J and neutrogena foaming wash. Also, to keep your skin looking smooth, but to prevent acne flares, you may apply nightly a thin layer of a retinoid cream (differin, retin A, Tazorac). If a pimple does happen, the best treatment for a quick resolution is to have a very low dose of cortisone injected into it conservatively by a dermatologist. However, successful treatment at home can be done applying simultaneously at home twice daily creams that contain: benzoyl peroxide & clindamycin (benzaclin) plus a sulfur/sodium sulfacetamide cream (avar, ovace, etc) that successfully 'dry' and eliminate the pimple in several days. Good luck, Dr. Bowes

Leyda Elizabeth Bowes, MD
Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Prevention is Best Treatment

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I am sure you you have heard this before, but prevention is the best medicine.  There are many over the counter products which could help with this.  You will likely want to use some products, perhaps cleansers, toners or lotions, that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide and even sulfer (providing you are not allergic).  You can spot treat with any of these as well.  There is not one best treatment for pimples, once you have them.  If you have a large pimple, sometimes called an acne cyst, a dermatologist can inject a little cortisone to reduce the inflammation.  Make sure you wash off the make up, and perhaps try different brands to see what works best for you.  Depending on what is involved in the make up, there may be an ingredient in adhesives and makeup removers called isopropyl myristate.  This can cause acne.  Also, make sure your diet is really clean. Drink plenty of purified water and fresh foods.  Avoid sodas, juices, processed foods.  Dairy can make you break out as well.

Lisa Benest, MD
Burbank Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Acne treatment for sudden pimples

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Acne treatment takes into consideration many variables: type of skin (oily vs dry), number of acne lesions, type of acne lesions (ie pustules, blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, cysts), age, sex (female has different issues vs. male)- so in short there is not a canned response.

However, there are many great treatments now available by prescription that were not available even 2 years ago. I would recommend seeing a dermatologist and getting a prescription that you can use daily to minimize the outbreaks that you have. Some of the newer topical treatments include Ziana gel and Epiduo.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.