You want to look good on your date the following week, but a pimple just unceremoniously popped on your face. Or maybe you just have a stubborn pimple on your face that just won’t go away after days, weeks, or months.
You’re anxious to get rid of it quickly and want to know how long until it goes away. In this article, I’ll address this very common concern.
How long does it take for a pimple to go away? A pimple will generally take about 3 to 7 days to disappear. For more serious acne or pimple breakouts, it could take as long as six weeks for the pimples to go away. For long-lasting, painful pimples, consulting a skin specialist for proper treatment is the best option.
Popping or picking a pimple could cause an infection, which can also spread to other pimple-prone areas of your skin. If an infection develops, it will lengthen a pimple’s stay on your skin.
Thus, when an infection occurs, the best way to deal with it is to have it properly treated by a doctor or a skin specialist called a dermatologist.
Continue reading to learn more about how long it takes for a pimple to go away, as well as tips for making it go away faster.
How Long Does It Take for a Pimple to Go Away?
A pimple or zit is a papule or pustule that is composed of trapped dirt, dead skin cells, and sebum that clog follicles. When aggravated, it could result in infection and inflammation.
Pimples can go away by themselves even without treatment within 3 to 7 days, as the skin has an inherent natural ability to heal itself. However, when pimples get infected because of popping or scrubbing, they could last for several weeks and would require necessary treatment.
In severe cases, permanent scarring may even occur. So, don’t attempt to pop that pimple, and just wait for it to go away. It’s the best course of action that you can take.
Tips to Make Pimples Go Away Faster
Skincare products won’t effectively work if you don’t observe the basic rules of facial care. Here are tips that you must follow to get rid of your pimples faster:
1. Observe Personal Hygiene
Showering once or twice a day is recommended. You also need to wash your face at least twice a day: in the morning and before you go to bed. This way, you can prevent further pimple formation or infection. Also, don’t rub your skin as it would irritate the pimple and would further aggravate it.
Use a mild antibacterial soap and lukewarm water to wash the affected area gently. Afterward, you can splash cold water to close your skin pores and make your skin smoother. The lukewarm water will open the pores, so clogged dirt and skin debris can be flushed away.
2. Don’t Pick, Pop, Squeeze, or Burst Your Pimples
Never pick, pop, squeeze, or burst your pimples or zits, as they could get infected and spread out to other parts of your skin. Also, popping pimples will only cause irritation and further damage to your skin.
It’s common for people to wonder how long it takes for a pimple to go away after popping it; however, popping the pimple can make it worse. If you pop a pimple, it can take weeks for it to clear as it can scar.
Popping or squeezing pimples exposes the inner layers of your skin, increasing the risk of infection as microbes could enter the opening and infect your pores. It could result in permanent scarring when infection sets in. So let them heal on their own to avoid any infection.
The only pimples you should pop are clear whiteheads and blackheads. If you are going to pop whiteheads or blackheads, be extremely careful. Professor of medicine at UCLA, Howard Murad, M.D., says, “whiteheads that are not inflamed or red are very low risk.”
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of clinical research in dermatology at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, says, “it can be easy to pop or extract blackheads that have a fairly wide opening and have visible contents.”
If you carefully extract or pop one of these whiteheads or blackheads, the remaining pimple should go away on its own in only 2 or 3 days.
However, you should never pop or pick the red, underground, painful pimples. These bumps are likely cysts, not pimples, and they do not have a smooth connection to the skin’s surface.
If you try to pop or pick a cyst, you can harm your skin, and it can take weeks or months for it to go away. This type of difficult acne is best treated by a doctor or dermatologist who can inject cortisone into the skin.
3. Don’t Scrub Your Skin/Face with a Hard Material
Scrubbing your face or skin using hard clothing or a sponge could cause your pimples or zits to burst; so, don’t use them. Instead, you can use the gentle touch of your hands, soft tissue paper, or soft sterilized cotton.
4. Avoid Fatty Foods
Pimples continue to proliferate because of oily skin. Your diet can contribute a lot to the oiliness of your skin. Thus, avoid oily foods that contain bad fats, such as fast food and full-fat dairy products.
5. Hydrate Yourself Properly
Your body is composed of 60-70% water in the different tissues and cells. Your skin needs proper hydration, so your skin cells can function properly. Drinking water can also help maintain the moisture of your skin. Without sufficient water, your skin will become dry and unhealthy.
Also, water is a universal solvent that could get rid of impurities and dead cells from your skin through sweating. Water can also get rid of the toxic waste products of metabolism through your kidneys in the form of urine.
All cells in the body contain water; therefore, without water, they cannot thrive and perform their physiologic functions.
You must drink more than eight glasses per day to stay healthy and meet the requirements of your body. Coffee, sodas, and sweet drinks may hydrate you too, but they are not healthy substitutes for water. Water – without additives – is still the best hydrating substance for the body.
Proper hydration, along with a healthy diet, could help your acne, pimples, and zits go away much faster.
6. Eat Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fiber, essential vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that are important for skin health. Include them in your meals.
They’re not only good for your skin but are also good for your total health and well-being. Because of the fiber content, vegetables are good for your gastrointestinal tract as well.
7. Avoid Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks – even if they’re liquid – could not replace water for proper hydration. You must hydrate yourself with pure water and not any other liquid. Water without additives is best for your health. Carbonated drinks are considered acidic and tend to worsen your pimple.
The skin is slightly acidic (pH= 4.5 to 6.5). When the skin’s pH is too acidic or alkaline, it could affect your skin’s health. Unwanted bacteria may proliferate if your skin’s pH level is off.
It can also prolong a pimple’s stay on your skin. Skin infections and diseases could also occur as a consequence of altered skin pH.
8. Don’t Wear Make-up over Your Pimples
Wearing makeup over your pimples would only clog your skin pores all the more and could worsen the condition. Allow your skin to breathe and get rid of the dirt inside, naturally.
Moreover, makeup may have components that could aggravate pimple breakouts. If you wear make-up, your skin cannot breathe, and it could take longer for the pimples or zits to go away.
9. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help clear your face and skin. The reason is that when you exercise, your blood circulation and respiration are enhanced, and the toxic substances in your body are excreted properly.
When you exercise, your sweat eliminates excess oils and impurities from your body and skin, aside from promoting good health in general. As a consequence, your pimples would go away quickly.
Your skin would also glow and become smoother as toxic substances are eliminated from your body and skin.
So, do 30-minute to one-hour exercises every day. If you’re too busy, you can do it every other day for 1 to 2 hours. You can also walk or run errands as a form of exercise. If your workplace is within walking distance from your house, try walking instead of driving.
10. Wash Your Face Before Applying Any Medication
When your doctor recommends a treatment cream, make sure that you have washed your face thoroughly first before applying the medication. Also, remember not to scrub or rub your pimples when washing your face.
If you rub your face harshly or pop the pimples, it could take much longer than 10 days for them to go away on their own.
11. Use Warm and Cold Water
If you have pimples, your skin pores are clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. One way to unclog your pores is to wash your face with warm water first, followed by cold water.
After washing your face with warm water, use mild soap, and gently work the lather to dissolve the oil or sebum further. Be careful not to rub any pimples or zits.
Afterward, rinse with cold water to help close your skin pores. You can also use an ice pack as an alternative. This method will help smoothen your skin and minimize the size of your pores.
12. Don’t Apply Any Medication Unless Prescribed by Your Doctor
Self-treatment could be dangerous. Don’t apply any medication that your doctor didn’t prescribe. There are side effects of certain medicines that can be fatal to other existing conditions.
Products that Help Make Pimples Go Away Faster
1. Cellex-C Advanced-C Serum
The Cellex-C Advanced-C Serum clears away the skin of acne, wrinkles, pimples, sagging skin, and irritation to make it smooth and flawless.
The C-serum tightens the skin and reduces large skin pores and lines while eliminating dead skin cells. It’s one of the best anti-aging skin preparations, as it contains ascorbic acid, resveratrol, and ergothioneine collagen protectors.
2. ELEMIS Dynamic Resurfacing Night Cream, Skin Smoothing Night Cream
The ELEMIS Dynamic Resurfacing Night Cream is an excellent rejuvenating cream as it triggers the skin’s natural renewal mechanism. Its triple enzyme technology allows the skin to heal by itself, restoring the skin’s clarity and natural smoothness.
Wrinkles and lines are reduced with the antioxidant actions of samphire and rice hull. Moreover, its essential amino acids and polysaccharides restore the skin’s normal flora for clearer, brighter, and younger skin.
3. Clarisonic Mia Smart Complete Gift Set
The Clarisonic Mia Smart Set is a complete skin care gift set that any woman would want. It could also act as an ideal foundation for makeup. The cleansing brush head would also help blend your makeup beautifully.
This beauty set helps eliminate the signs of aging, such as wrinkles, lines, pimples, and acne.
Factors That Affect the Time It Takes for Pimples to Go Away
Aside from those previously mentioned, here are additional factors that affect the healing period of your pimples:
1. Type of Skin
Pimples tend to thrive more on oily skin. Your skin should have natural oils but not excess oil since the latter could lead to the formation of pimples and acne.
You can wash your face with warm water and soap to reduce its oiliness. Your skin should have enough amounts of moisture and natural oil to keep it healthy and glowing.
2. Presence of Infection
Skin infections could enhance the growth of pimples because bacteria would clog the skin pores and inflame the skin. If the infection is left untreated, pimples grow more and spread.
When you properly wash and clean your face, your pimples will go away after a few days. But if your face is dirty most of the time, your pimples would multiply as the dirt and oil on your skin would become more compacted.
4. Type of Food
Consuming oily and fatty foods, including foods high in sugar, enables pimples to develop. Sebum is a type of oily substance, so if you add more oil into your body, you’re providing more substances for the pimples to build on.
Conclusion – How Long Does It Take for a Pimple to Go Away?
So, how long does a pimple go away? The time it takes for a pimple to disappear depends on the type of skin and whether the pimple is infected or not.
For a single, non-infected pimple, it would heal by itself and would go away after 3 to 7 days, while an infected pimple could take several weeks (6 weeks or more) to heal.
Most infected pimples don’t disappear on their own and require medical treatment. Observe healthy practices and avoid skin infections by following the preventive measures mentioned above.