Asian woman applying pimple treatment on her cheek.

If there’s one thing humanity can agree on, it’s that we can all do without zits. Yet, many adults are still beholden to the threat of a big pimple appearing at the most ill-opportune moments. Got a date tomorrow? Perhaps an important presentation or a fun party? Rest assured, a blackhead or, worse, a cystic bump is on the way. If one has predictably popped up on your face just now, here are some tried and tested ways to make it go away overnight.

Why Do Pimples Have Terrible Timing?

Breakouts are notorious for having bad timing, but is it all random or is there something about exciting events that triggers them? The Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology journal notes that certain things about stress can aggravate acne, especially in adult women. For example, stress stimulates the into producing more oil, which can clog the pores and result in a big pimple. So, if you’re stressing over something more than usual, you’re likely to get a zit.

Another sneaky cause? The out-of-the-ordinary products and beauty treatments that go on your skin when you’re prepping for something special. Getting a chemical peel a couple of days before a wedding is not a good idea, especially if you’ve never had one before. Similarly, when using new ingredients like or always give your skin a few days (or a week) to adjust and recover from any reactions.

How to Make Your Big Pimple Significantly Smaller Overnight

A big pimple doesn’t have to rain on your parade, but you can’t make it go away without a trace overnight. What you can do is reduce the inflammation and hopefully avoid making things worse. If you act the moment you feel it inching its way to your skin’s surface, you can make it significantly less noticeable. Here’s how.

Wash your face but not too much.

Keeping your face clean is crucial when you have acne-prone skin. However, resist the urge to go overboard just because you “feel oily.” Although that squeaky-clean post-wash feeling is refreshing, it’s also a sign that you may be drying out your skin. Consequently, this makes it more prone to irritation and slow to heal. Go ahead and wash your face before going to bed – no more, no less. 

To avoid feeling oily, switch to a lightweight sunscreen and use serum-based makeup (or none at all!). You could also carry blotting paper to dab on shiny areas and, of course, drink lots of water.

If it’s an inflammatory pimple, try a cold compress.

If your big pimple feels painful and swollen or has a bit of pus, it’s inflamed. The bad news is it will take a few weeks to heal. The good news? You can calm the inflammation with a cold compress.

Wrap an ice cube in a clean washcloth and press it on the affected area in one-minute intervals to reduce redness and swelling. It will still be there the next day, but at least it won’t be a glaring lump of pus. P.S.

If it’s a giant blackhead, try massaging it with cleansing oil.

A cold compress won’t work on a , but an oily massage might. Take a cleansing oil or balm and gently massage it onto the affected area using the pad of a clean finger. No nails, please! If you’re lucky, this will loosen up the blackhead. After massaging, cleanse the area with a gentle facial wash like Dove Facial Cleansing Mousse Oil Control Care. Repeat the process in the morning. When it’s ready, the blackhead should come out on its own. Do not squeeze it out.

Use a spot treatment on the affected area.

A salicylic acid spot treatment is also a saving grace for acne-prone skin. It’s a that aids the skin’s natural exfoliation process, sloughs away dead skin and clears clogged pores. Apply it on your big pimple to reduce inflammation and treat it at the root. Try Eskinol Pimple Relief Spot Gel Corrector, which also has and cica extracts to keep the skin hydrated and nourished.

Get a cortisone injection from your doctor.

If you must get rid of a big pimple at all costs, visit your dermatologist and ask for a cortisone injection. They’ll check your skin’s condition and assess the zit. If it meets the qualifications (deep, tender, full of pus), brace yourself for a mildly painful but quick experience. The best part is you’ll wake up the next day with one less pimple on your face.

Stop looking at it.

Seriously. Fixating on a big pimple can only lead to disaster. You’ll be tempted to touch and examine it. Maybe even squeeze it a little. It will seem like it’s growing before your eyes. You’re better off hiding the mirror while your not-so-little friend marinates on your skin. Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away and hope for the best.

When all else fails, apply concealer.

If your pimple does not disappear (surprise, surprise), you can always camouflage it with a creamy concealer. You can try applying a green one to on your skin, but if that’s unavailable, a yellow-toned concealer works, too. Lightly press some of the product on the area and let it sit for a few seconds. Blend the edges with a sponge and then set with powder.

You can’t shrink a big pimple overnight, but you can calm the inflammation and treat it anyway. It will go away eventually – don’t let it get in the way of a fun, memorable time.