Emailed question: Help! I have a date in 2 weeks and need a recommendation for a pimple treatment that can get rid of a pimple overnight! And how did I get these pimples?

Background information: 15year old female who is not allergic to any medications or taking any medications. She has not tried any acne medications (or pimple medications) and has oily skin.

Acne vulgaris or pimple is a common skin condition described as inflamed and/or pus filled skin lesions that are formed as a result of plugged up pores, over-active oil glands and/or presence of skin bacteria, P. acnes. Acne affects mostly teenagers and even some adults, and is generally localized in areas of the face, neck, chest, upper back and shoulders.

Since you are at the age of puberty, your body over-produces hormones that make you more prone to having pimples.

I hate to break the news to you, but there are no treatments that can get rid of a pimple overnight. Most treatments will take at least two to four weeks to see any skin improvement.

My recommendations for pimple treatments are as follow:

(1) Gently cleanse the affected area twice daily with a mild skin cleanser such as Cetaphil cleanser.
(2) At bedtime, apply any over the counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide 5% (Proactive, Neutrogena skinID, Panoxyl, Benzagel, Solugel, Clean & Clear, Clearasil etc), which helps to resurface the skin and has a mild antibacterial effect. These are available in forms of cream, lotion or gel. You should select a gel or alcohol-based product if you have oily skin.
Note: apply on the acne and around the affected areas

You can purchase a “3 Step anti-blemish system” from Proactiv to help get clearer skin. Some benefits of purchasing Proactiv include free online consultation with Dr Katie Rodan & Dr Kathy Fields, many positive testimonials from celebrities, and best of all it has a risk free, 60-days money back guarantee. Please visit for more information.

You can also purchase a personalized skin care treatment kit that is “made specifically to your skin type and lifestyle” after completing an interactive online questionnaire at Other benefits of purchasing from Neutrogena skinID: the products are clinically proven to work, with a 100% satisfaction or money-back guarantee and also you may have access to dermatologists support (for more details please visit

Other over the counter products contain salicylic acid or resorcinol

(3) Try to avoid or minimize use of the following (can cause or worsen pimples):

(1) Medications: coal tar products, hormonal treatments (such as progesterone), phenytoin (Dilantin), corticosterioids (such as prednisone, dexamethasone, etc), and lithium. **Note: please consult your doctor first**
(2) Skin trauma and irritation such as scrubbing and/or picking pimple can cause more inflammation (red and swollen).
(3) Certain cosmetics ingredients can plug up pores such as lanolins, cocoa butter and petroleum bases. You should try to select cosmetics products that are labelled “non-comedogenic” which means the products do not plug up pores or promote pimple formations.
(4) Hormonal fluctuations (eg. during your period) can trigger or worsen acne.
(5) Hot and humid environments may cause pores to be plugged up

Please see your doctor if there are no improvement in a few weeks. Your doctor may prescribe the following topical products:
(1) tretinoin (Retin-A, Stieva-A),
(2) adapalene (Differin),
(3) Tazarotene (Tazorac),
(4) erythromycin (Erysol), Clindamycin (Dalacin T, Cindasol, Clindets) or
(5) combination topical products such as
Benzamycin (benzyol peroxide/erythromycin),
Clindoxyl or Benzaclin (benzyol peroxide/clindamycin) or
Stievamycin (tretinoin and erythromycin).

If you have scarring or severe inflamed acne, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics (tetracyclines, erythromycin, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim or sulfatrim), oral contraceptives, or isotretinoin (Accutane).


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