My Mom's Medicine Cabinet Trick for Quickly Getting Rid of a Blemish

From ordinary household staple to breakout-busting cure.

Pimples just don't get the memo. They don't know how to read the room. They're the uninvited guest at the party who didn't even deign to bring a bottle of wine or a batch of cheese straws for the trouble. Pimples, sorry, are the absolute worst.

Whether it be a regular pesky pustule or one of those world-shattering, under-the-surface cystic spots, waking up with a blemish can really kick the week off on a dumpy note. What's your first instinct? Oh, what you want to do is pick that sucker until it's red, angry, and ready to make you pay. Do. Not. Do. This. (If we can impart one snippet of street smarts we acquired in our teens and early twenties, it is to never hunker down an inch in front of the mirror and try to pop a pimple. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.)

Woman Blemish
Getty Images/fizkes

When I used to call my mom when I was in college, on the brink of a full breakdown before a big event—and with a giant, life-sucking red pimple on my chin—she would tell me to, firstly, calm the heck down and, secondly, to grab my bottle of aspirin. This gentle journey of damage control starts with an at-home spot treatment you can find in your medicine cabinet.

If you're out of your cult-fave Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, crushing up an aspirin and mixing it with a couple drops of water until it forms a paste is the best spot treatment a gal can wish for—because the active ingredient in aspirin mimics salicylic acid, the acne-fighting powerhouse that dries up excess oil, clears your clogged pores, and calms inflammation. You know, all the things making that morale-crushing pimple stronger and more sinister by the second.

Let the paste sit on your blemish for as long as you please (we love to sleep in it!), but just make sure to keep it on at least 30 minutes to an hour. Other than that, applying a cold compress or ice cube to the blemish—particularly those painful, under-the-skin spots—in the morning and at night will curb inflammation and kickstart the healing process. Rub on the spot for 20 seconds, let it rest for a minute, and then repeat four more times.

The fact of the matter: Pimples pop up at the worst times, especially when you're stressed, busy, traveling, or veering from your daily routine. As long as you have a bottle of aspirin to the rescue, you'll make my mama proud—and get rid of that angry blemish in record time.

Staying home doesn't have to be boring, especially when it comes to keeping up with your beauty routine.

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  1. Dotto C, Lombarte Serrat A, Cattelan N, et al. The active component of aspirin, salicylic acid, promotes Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation in a PIA-dependent mannerFront Microbiol. 2017;8:4. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.00004

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