It happens to the best of us. No matter how diligently you abide by your daily skin care regimen or lead a healthy lifestyle, we still get that unwelcome surprise courtesy of a pimple that seems to come out of nowhere. Perhaps you had a stressful week at work, have been clocking in less sleep than usual or are experiencing a reaction from that new serum that is all the rage on Instagram—but whatever the cause, waking up to find an angry zit is enough to send anyone into panic mode. So how do you deal with it? Important Dos and Don’ts Most teens struggle with acne during puberty, but the truth of the matter is, breakouts spare no one and can persist well into adulthood. And with causes ranging from hormones and pollution to the general stress of adulting, it’s no surprise that you still get that occasional zit long after you’ve emerged from that awkward teenage phase. Luckily, there’s a quick fix for almost anything in this day and age—that is, if you know how to weed out unproven hacks from what actually works. Below are some expert tips and important dos and don’ts on how to get rid of pimples fast: DO Keep Your Cool. “First of all, calm down. Stress makes pimples worse!” says board-certified dermatologist Anna Guanche, founder and director of Bella Skin Institute. Instead, she suggests cooling the area off with a cold compress or ice cube and spot-treating with a vasoconstrictor to take away some of the redness and throbbing. DON’T Give In to Temptation. We all know the feeling of seeing that all-too-familiar red bump rearing its head and looking determined to put a damper on an otherwise beautiful morning—especially when you have a big presentation or a meet-the-parents situation coming up in just a few days. Once you’ve gotten your initial horror out of the way, you may think the simplest and most logical solution is to just pop that thing. But think again! “When you ‘pop’ a zit, you are rupturing the lining of the oil gland, where the bacteria is contained and allowing it to spread into the surrounding tissues,” says Dr. Guanche. “You are also abrading or rubbing off the surface of the skin, which will then require a longer healing process,” she explains. And if that’s not enough to make you resist the urge to pick at your pimple, Dr. Guanche adds that popping a zit can also increase the risk of marks and scarring. DO Go for a Warm Soak. Here’s more proof that there’s nothing a warm shower or bath can’t fix: “In the case of a pustule, it’s very difficult to go around with a pus-bump on your face. I recommend taking a long, steamy shower and then gently unroofing the white portion without squeezing the base,” suggests Dr. Guanche. DO Check In With Your Dermatologist. When a pimple is too big or causing you physical discomfort, a quick visit to your dermatologist is in order, says board-certified dermatologist Rhonda Klein of Connecticut Dermatology Group. “You can always pop over to your dermatologist for a steroid injection if a pimple is deep and cystic. This helps to shrink it down within one to two days,” she adds. DO Spot-Treat. One of the most effective ways to get rid of pimples and other blemishes fast is to use a spot treatment that will dry out the affected area and keep inflammation down. DON’T Fixate. This may be easier said than done since we all know how pimples can make us incredibly self-conscious, but Dr. Klein says over-scrubbing and obsessing can only make things worse. While exfoliation is key in preventing clogged pores that can lead to acne, Dr. Klein also suggests opting for a “low-carb, low-sugar diet and probiotics to help decrease the chances of breakouts.” What Acne-Fighting Ingredients to Look For When choosing the best spot treatment for acne, both Dr. Klein and Dr. Guanche suggest looking out for tried-and-tested anti-acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Fast-acting and accessible, benzoyl peroxide is one of the most popular go-to solutions against acne and works by killing off the acne-causing bacteria and reducing redness and inflammation. On the other hand, salicylic acid is an exfoliant that dissolves surface impurities, clears pores and has anti-inflammatory properties to help minimize swelling and irritation. Other proven acne-fighting ingredients include niacinamide or vitamin B3 and natural ingredients like tea tree, witch hazel and willow bark. Looking for the best products that will help restore your clear skin? We’ve got you covered! Here are our top picks for the best treatments for acne and blemishes. 1. Eminence Organic Skin Care Acne Advanced Clarifying Masque Having oily skin makes you more prone to having clogged pores and acne, so keeping your sebaceous glands under control is key. This two-in-one mask and acne treatment features encapsulated salicylic acid, an oil-absorbing clay mixture, sulfur and basil oil that all work to combat acne while preventing future breakouts. It minimizes pores, removes surface impurities and leaves your skin feeling cool and refreshed. 2. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta® Universal Daily Peel - Jar An at-home peel that treats breakouts and keeps wrinkles at bay? Yes, please! Infused with retinol, antioxidants from vitamins A, C and E, alpha hydroxy acids and green tea extract, these ready-to-use pads stimulate collagen production to delay common signs of aging like fine lines, sagging and loss of firmness. It gently exfoliates and clears your skin of surface impurities and effectively treats stubborn conditions like acne and rosacea. 3. Sunday Riley SATURN Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask Featuring 10 percent sulfur, four percent niacinamide, one percent zinc PCA and dipotassium glycyrrhizate, this treatment mask is an anti-acne powerhouse that effectively targets all forms of bumps and blemishes, including clogged pores, rosacea and inflammatory and hormonal breakouts. As an overnight treatment, it dries out acne and reduces redness and inflammation while preventing new pimples from forming and boosting skin’s radiance. 4. PCA Skin Acne Cream It’s easy to see why this acne cream has almost a hundred five-star reviews on Dermstore! Featuring five percent benzoyl peroxide and lactic acid, this fast-acting treatment cream goes deep into your pores to wipe out the cause of inflammation while gently exfoliating and moisturizing your skin. It’s also infused with tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic that helps cleanse and brighten complexion. 5. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment with Benzoyl Peroxide If you need to zap that zit away pronto, look no further than this double-acting acne treatment. Formulated with 5.5 percent benzoyl peroxide and 0.4 percent micro-exfoliating LHA, it dries out blemishes and penetrates deep into your skin to unclog pores and remove blackheads and whiteheads. 6. Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots These clear, adhesive dots are all you need to clear up clogged pores and pimples in no time! Infused with a potent blend of salicylic acid, tea tree oil and hyaluronic acid, it sloughs away surface impurities, fights off and prevents acne-causing bacteria from spreading and reduces the risk of pigment marks and scarring by boosting cell repair and skin rejuvenation. 7. Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment In a clinical study, 97 percent of respondents reported that this vegan formula improved the appearance of blemishes after just one day of use. That’s not surprising considering that this lightweight acne treatment is infused with a potent blend of salicylic acid along with pine and thyme extracts that exfoliate and unclog pores while fighting off irritants and preserving the skin’s balance. 8. Indie Lee Blemish Lotion This blemish treatment lotion is as gentle as it is effective in targeting and restoring skin tissues damaged by breakouts and other irritations. Featuring salicylic acid and mineral clay that disinfect pores and draw out impurities, colloidal sulfur that absorbs excess oil and camphor extract that soothes redness and inflammation, this lotion is an ideal spot treatment to dry out pimples overnight. 9. Epionce Purifying Spot Gel Blemish Clearing Tx Sometimes, the temptation to pick at your pimple is stronger than your inner voice’s warnings about post-acne scarring. Fortunately, this clinically proven gel acne treatment not only banishes zits but also clears your skin of all their traces. Featuring four percent sulfur, coconut oil, herbal extracts and resorcinol monoacetate as key actives, it refines the appearance of acne lesions and prevents the formation of new blemishes without drying out or irritating your skin. 10. Glytone Acne Tinted Spot Treatment This spot treatment makes sure you’ll never have to hide from the world because of a breakout! Infused with two-percent sulfur and two-percent resorcinol, it works by penetrating the pores and helping control and prevent acne formation. The best part? It comes in a tinted formula that conceals blemishes as you allow your skin to heal!