The Right Treatment for Every Type of Pimple

Updated 11/26/19
Beautiful woman with pink lipstick and eyeshadow
Imaxtree

Not all pimples are alike. Which is why the one-size-fit-all treatment strategy doesn’t always work. When we spoke to celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau, she shared some pimple treatment insight that’s just too good not to pass along. Scroll through for her tips on treating every kind of pimple.

Meet the Expert

Renée Rouleau is a celebrity esthetician based in Austin, TX. She is also the founder and creator of her eponymous skincare line.

Papules and Pustules
 Byrdie
Kate Somerville EradiKate acne treatment
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment $26
Shop

Rouleau says when you get a red, painful blemish, one of two things will happen: Either it will remain a papule or, most often, “the infection inside the blemish will work its way up to the surface of the skin, resulting in a whitehead.” This type of blemish is called a pustule. Her advice for treating these kinds of pimples is to choose and use your spot treatments wisely.

“The best course of action is to not act the minute you feel it coming on; instead wait a day or two for the infection to appear on the surface. Waiting will allow you to effectively control the blemish without damaging the skin.” Once you can see the whitehead, gently extract the infection and apply a spot-drying treatment (we like Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Acne Treatment).

The treatment will make its way into the skin to stop the breakout at the source. “If you apply a drying treatment before the whitehead is on the surface, it will simply dry out the surface of the skin, keeping the infection trapped underneath for longer,” Rouleau says.

Cysts and nodules
Byrdie
Renée Rouleau Anti Bump Solution
Renée Rouleau Anti Bump Solution $47
Shop

For nodules and cystic pimples (which Rouleau notes primarily occur on the chin and jawline areas for women), “it’s important to remember that cysts are like submarines; they are meant to stay under the skin. No matter what method you employ, cysts will never rise to the surface of the skin,” says Rouleau. This means absolutely no picking.

No matter how tempting it is, picking will only make the inflamed area look worse. Your body will eventually reabsorb the infection, but it can take weeks. Rouleau says the best way to treat cysts and nodules is with her Anti Bump Solution. The combination of ethyl lactate and citric acid will dissolve the infection and prevent discoloration.

Next up: How to tell the difference between hormonal acne and other breakouts.

Related Stories