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How to Get Rid of Pimples Overnight | 6 Natural Remedies

 How to Get Rid of Pimples Overnight

Acne is a multifaceated skin disease with many causes including inflammation, hormones, and poor hygiene. With so many things to consider, battling acne can be tedious and stressful. While completely getting rid of acne requires patience, there are home remedies and over the counter products you can use to reduce and prevent acne fast. Read on to learn how to get rid of a pimple overnight.

Treatments to Get Rid of Pimples Fast

There are a wide range of spot treatments that can help to speed up the pimple process and calm breakouts fast. Here are some treatments to try.

1.     Azelaic Acid

Azelaic is the secret weapon to reduce pimple redness overnight.

Naturally synthesized by yeast, azelaic acid is frequently prescribed for rosacea and other skin pigmentation issues. Modern forms of azelaic acid are synthesized in labs and most often included in anti-aging serums and skin brightening products.

When applied to the skin, azelaic acid works as a comedolytic, meaning it can help to break down pore blockages to open up your pores. As a keratolytic, azelaic acid can also help to dissolve dead skin cells and encourage their shedding, allowing for smooth, exfoliated skin and a lower chance of clogged pores. Azelaic acid also helps to kill the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacteria acnes and reduce overall inflammation. All of this equates to unclogged pores, a more even skin tone, and a brighter complexion.1

2.     Diluted Tea Tree Oil

Extracted from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, tea tree oil has been studied for its various pharmacological uses. Research has shown that tea tree oil possesses natural anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, suggesting that it can help to reduce acne-causing bacteria and soothe inflammation that may be contributing to acne. Studies also found that participants who used tea tree oil had less oil on their skin and smaller pores.2

However, it’s important to note that undiluted tea tree oil may be too potent and irritating, particularly for those with sensitive skin. This can result in discomfort and potentially just contribute to more acne forming on your skin. To get the best out of tea tree oil without the irritation, dilute one to two drops of tea tree oil in a larger amount of noncomedogenic carrier oil, like safflower seed oil, and apply to blemishes using a cotton swab or pad.2

3.     Salicylic Acid

Stop putting toothpaste on pimples overnight. A more effective ingredient is salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid features both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.3 It is also categorized as a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), a class of exfoliant that penetrates deeper into the skin than alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) to unclog the skin. Salicylic acid is also a desmolytic agent that works to unclog pores and shed dead skin cells by cellular junctions in the skin and pores.4 

4.     Benzoyl Peroxide

Of all the natural remedies, benzoyl is the most common ingredient used to shrink a pimple overnight.

Benzoyl peroxide is a type of organic peroxide. It has antibacterial properties and can specifically target acne-causing bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide also presents potential anti-inflammatory and comedolytic properties.5

However, while benzoyl peroxide is effective, it is commonly known to cause irritation, even at its lowest concentration. Furthermore, as a type of peroxide, benzoyl peroxide can bleach clothes and other fabrics. If you do use benzoyl peroxide, stick with the lowest concentration of 2.5%, which has been shown to be as effective as higher concentrations without as much irritation or negative side effects.6

5.     Cold Compress with Green Tea

Green tea is known to have a wide range of potential health benefits. Research suggests that polyphenols are one of the main active components contributing to these benefits. Polyphenols have been studied for their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which may help to soothe your acne.7

While drinking green tea can help, applying it directly to your skin may provide more direct results. Applying a cold compress with green tea to the face may reduce swelling, inflammation, and irritation and generally soothe the skin. To make a cold compress with green tea, place a green tea bag in a cup of water, then place the cup of water in your freezer until it is cold, about five to ten minutes. Remove the tea bag and press it to your pimple for 20 seconds or until the skin feels cool and numb. Repeat this step for up to 5 minutes, allowing the affected area to soak up the green tea.

6.     Hydrocolloid Dressings

The best way to heal a popped pimple overnight is using hydrocolloid dressings.

Better known as pimple patches, hydrocolloid dressings help to soak up any excess oil and fluid from a zit while simultaneously protecting the skin from bacteria, debris, and your own fingers. If you think of any pimple as an open wound, a pimple patch essentially acts as a bandage to help the wound heal without interference or infection. However, these patches are only effective on whiteheads. Blackheads and larger blemishes, like cysts and nodules, won’t benefit much from these patches aside from the protective factor.9

To use a pimple patch, clean your skin and apply to your pimple of choice. Do not leave the patch on for more than 12 hours. Any longer than that may actually cause irritation and make your zit worse.10

7.     Cortisone Injections

The fastest way to make a pimple go away overnight is through cortisone injections.

Although cortisone injections aren’t home remedies, they are highly effective and can easily be obtained through a dermatologist. Cortisone is a synthetic form of cortisol, one of the hormones produced by your adrenal glands. Cortisone shots, which can only be performed by a dermatologist, involve injecting steroids directly into a blemish. This is specifically reserved for larger blemishes, such as cysts, nodules, and papules.8

The procedure is short, lasting just 15 seconds at most, and relatively pain-free. The cortisone acts by dramatically reducing inflammation, pain, and swelling and allowing the blemish to heal faster. Within about 24 hours, the blemish should be completely gone. 8

As easy and effective as cortisone shots are, cortisone shots are meant only as an emergency solution, meaning that you should not resort to them as a form of regular treatment. Too much cortisone can actually cause pitting or depressions in the skin that can potentially turn into scars, which are difficult to treat and often permanent. Essentially, cortisone injections should be considered as a last resort, not a long-term treatment option.8

How to Reduce Pimple Redness 

1.     Azelaic Acid

As mentioned, azelaic acid is a commonly prescribed treatment for rosacea, a disease characterized by redness, flushing, and pimples. Used on acne, azelaic acid may help to reduce swelling and redness.

2.     Ice

Much like applying ice to a swollen joint, applying ice may help to reduce swelling and redness in inflammatory acne. While that can seem straightforward, don’t place bare ice onto your skin, which can damage your skin and potentially cause irritation. Start with a clean face. Wrap the ice in a towel or a thin cloth or use a cold compress. Apply the ice in one-minute increments. You can do this once after your usual morning and evening skincare routines or follow up with multiple applications, but leave about five minutes between each application to prevent skin damage. Never follow up ice treatments with hot compresses.11

3.     Low Dose Hydrocortisone Cream

Similar to cortisone, hydrocortisone is a synthetic form of cortisol. More often used for eczema, hydrocortisone cream is not an official acne medication, but it may help to reduce the inflammation, swelling, and redness of certain forms of acne. After cleansing the face, apply a dab of low dose hydrocortisone cream to the affected area.12

How to Get rid of Pimples Overnight DIY Summary


Mechanism of action for acne

Recommended dose

Suitable for sensitive skin

Help with comedones  (black and whiteheads)

Help with cystic acne

Help with redness

Help with hyperpigmentation

Azelaic Acid

Anti-bacteria, anti-inflammatory, Increases cell turnover


Yes, if moisturizer is used afterwards





Tea Tree

Anti-bacteria, anti-inflammatory

1-2 drops






Salicylic Acid

Increases cell turnover







Benzoyl Peroxide

Anti-bacteria, anti-inflammatory







Green tea cold compress


1-2 tea bags






Pimple Patches


Once a day








Over the counter 1%;, Injection: Consult a dermatologist







The Best Ways to Prevent Acne 

Maintain a skincare routine

The best place to start with acne prevention is with a regular skincare routine, which helps to control oil, remove dirt and debris, and directly treat your acne with an active ingredient.

Perform this routine at night:

  • Start by washing your face with a gentle facial cleanser.
  • Thoroughly dry your face and apply an acne treatment ingredient. This may include any of the ingredients listed above, like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
  • At night, use retinol. Follow this up with a non-greasy, non-comedogenic moisturizer, which helps to nourish and protect your skin and control your oil production.

For your morning routine:

  • Start by washing your face with a gentle cleanser.
  • Apply the acne treatment over wet skin.
  • End with a sunscreen.

Do Not Pop Your Pimple

Along with your skincare routine, avoid picking at your acne or touching your face altogether. Touching your face and popping pimples introduces more bacteria to your skin, resulting in infections and more acne. Popping incorrectly may also contribute to more acne, push pimples deeper into your skin, or result in permanent scarring. If you do have to pop a pimple, read more on our “How to Pop a Pimple” article.

While the above home remedies may help with acne overnight, there is no single, one-size-fits-all treatment for ongoing acne issues. Even with effective treatments, your skin can still have times where it just doesn’t respond, but try to be patient and understand that with the right steps acne can be treated. For further guidance and treatment options, read more about acne in our blog section and consult with your doctor or dermatologist.