How to get rid of spots fast
Navin Khosla has been a registered Pharmacist since 1995. He obtained his B.Pharm Degree in Pharmacy from the London School of Pharmacy, University of London in 1994, and has built a wealth of experience by working across the community pharmacy retail sector.
We’ve all been there. You’ve got a hot date, a job interview or just a night out with the boys. Then it happens – you get a breakout of spots or it’s one stubborn bad boy that just won’t go. You need to get rid of your spots fast. But can you?
Whether it’s the occasional prominent zit on the nose or an outbreak of adult acne, you can fight back. Here we explain some of the most effective ways to get rid of spots fast.
What causes spots?
You get spots when the follicles in your skin become blocked. The biggest culprits for blocked follicles include dead skin cells, sebum (that’s oil your skin naturally produces) and oily products you put on your face.
Blocked follicles form whiteheads and blackheads. If bacteria infect the blocked follicle and feed on what’s inside (nice hey?), the spot can become inflamed and produce pus. This gives you spots with white or yellow heads. If the bacterial infections spread and go deeper into your skin you can get more serious spots like cysts and nodules. Learn more about different types of spots and what causes spots in different places on your face.
What makes spots more likely?
So that’s how spots form, but what about what makes spots more likely? The following can all bring on spots:
- Not cleaning your face well enough: excess dead skin cells and a build-up of sebum on your face can make spots more likely.
- Using oily products on your face: these can block your follicles.
- Shaving: dragging a half-sharp razor over your face can irritate your skin and make spots worse. Shaving products can also block your follicles.
- Stress: when you’re stressed you might experience hormonal changes that increase sebum production. This makes spots more likely.
- Not sleeping enough: this can also cause hormonal changes that increase sebum production.
- Eating a diet rich in sugar, dairy and processed food: These foods have been shown to increase your insulin levels. Rising insulin can increase how much sebum your skin produces.
How to get rid of spots fast
Can you get rid of spots overnight? That’s a tall order. Even with the best treatments spots usually take a little longer to clear. But you can give yourself the best chance of getting rid of spots fast by:
Adopting a daily skin care routine
The best way to get rid of spots fast is to not get them in the first place. Cleaning your face as part of your daily routine can clear away the dead skin and sebum that blocks your follicles. Use a cleanser and a non-oil-based moisturiser. You can try other products like toners and astringents too. Learn more about skin care for acne.
Leading a healthy lifestyle
Another effective way to avoid getting spots in the first place is to improve your lifestyle. The following changes can all help keep your skin clear:
- Exercising regularly
- Actively reducing your stress levels
- Making sure you get enough sleep each night
- Cutting back on junk food and processed food as well as dairy and high glycaemic foods like white bread and pasta
Using an over-the-counter spot treatment
You can buy a whole range of spot treatments at your local pharmacy or supermarket. The best ones contain:
- Salicylic acid – this is a similar acid to the active ingredient found in aspirin. It can help clear your skin but also reduces the inflammation that accompanies spots.
- Benzoyl peroxide – this can kill the bacteria that causes spots and can also reduce inflammation.
- Retinols – these are an ingredient based on vitamin A that can speed up the replacement of skin cells, helping to remove dead skin and sebum as well as heal spots.
Using a prescription spot treatment
Prescription medications are amongst the most effective ways to clear spots and are particularly suited to stubborn spots and more severe forms of acne. Some of the best contain:
- Retinoids – these are a stronger version of the retinols mentioned above. Retinoids encourage your skin cells to replenish faster. This helps to remove dead skin and oil, heal spots and even lessen acne blemishes and scars.
- Antibiotics – can help kill the bacteria that makes spots worse and more stubborn to clear.
- Treclin gel – treclin combines the two above treatments into one effective spot treatment. Treclin gel includes a retinoid (tretinoin) and an antibiotic (clindamycin). It can clear your skin and fight bacterial inflammation at the same time.
How do you get rid of spots fast naturally?
Some people swear by natural remedies but there’s usually little scientific evidence to support them. But as natural remedies are often cheap and easy to buy, you can experiment to see if any work for you. Popular natural spot treatments include:
- Aloe vera
- Apple cider vinegar
- Tea tree oil
- Witch hazel
Can toothpaste get rid of spots?
No. Despite what well-meaning people might tell you don’t put toothpaste on your spots. Toothpaste doesn’t dry out your spots or kill bacteria. If anything, it’s more likely to irritate your skin and make matters worse. Stick to proven spot treatments.
What is the best thing to put on spots overnight?
You can try applying prescription medications to your face that contain retinoids and antibiotics. Or opt for over-the-counter products that contain retinols, salicylic acid or benzyl peroxide. You can also try natural remedies too, such as apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil. You should experiment to find what works best for you.