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So You’ve Popped A Pimple — Here’s Exactly What To Do To Speed Up Healing

Other than using ice to bring down the swelling, some topicals can help the inflammation and redness ease–like chamomile, which has been used for centuries for treating wounds and skin irritations in traditional medicine, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe angry, inflamed skin.

And remember: You’re now dealing with an open wound, so it’s important to keep it clean and away from bacteria. Shamban touts tea tree oil (diluted, of course) as an effective remedy: In addition to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, researchers have also seen an increase in white blood cell activity associated with tea tree oil use, which is integral when it comes to the acne-healing process. In some cases, a derm might recommend a dab of antibiotic ointment to speed up healing (so if your popped pimple is super painful or isn’t getting better, we always recommend visiting your doctor).

However, you might not want to pile on any heavy-duty antibacterials, like hydrogen peroxide. “Yes, it can and does kill harmful bacteria, but it can irritate, burn, or otherwise exacerbate the open wound and also slow the healing process and formation of the scab,” says Shamban. Stick to gentle methods while the skin is healing–and on that note, you don’t want to exfoliate the area until the skin is completely healed.

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