If you can’t stop a pimple from coming, freezing it is the next best thing to do. While ice is the most common way of freezing, there are other ways of cooling them off.
First, a confession about the post title. The methods we are going to see are not exactly cool. They are cool-ing, more like.
Cooling a pimple brings down the redness and swelling by narrowing the blood vessels around it. You can reduce the size of a cystic under-the-skin bump with this method.
Take out some ice from the freezer. Wrap it in a thin cloth (a handkerchief will do). Twist the cloth around so you have a club like apparatus with ice at the head. Now touch the cloth-covered ice pack to the pimple. Keep it for as long as you can bear. You don’t have to give yourself frostbite, but try to keep it for 20 seconds or more. Repeat this for between 5 and 15 minutes.
Remove it if the face feels numb or if you see an increase in redness. Do not place ice directly on the pimple – wrap it in a thin cloth or a cellophane bag.
To use the icing method to reduce the swelling of a pimple, you need to act fast, as soon as you feel it surfacing under the skin. You can use ice made from plain water, or if you want to get adventurous, green tea or mint.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel gives a cooling sensation when you apply it. Apart from that, it also has anti-inflammatory properties which help with reducing the swelling of the pimple. It also helps to reduce the redness of a pimple.
Remember all the aloe vera gels with artificial green coloring we keep poking fun at? Turns out the green, aritficial or not, can help additionally (apart from the good old aloe vera in it) to cut out the redness of the pimple. You see, green pigment kind of cancels out red pigment on the color wheel.
So if you are using any of the green aloe vera gels like Aloe Veda Aloe Vera Gel, Brihans Aloe Vera Gel or maybe even Patanajali’s, you will notice a reduction in redness and swelling. The green colour will mask the redness to some extent, too.
While not always cooling, eye drops work on the same principle as ice to reduce redness – by blocking blood vessels to the site of the pimple.
In the west, especially America, Visine Eye Drops have been part of all kinds urban legends. Make-someone-drink-Visine-to-give-them-diarrhoea for one. Here, our goal is much humbler.
Read this detailed guide to using eye drops to reduce redness of a pimple. It also mentions which Indian brand of eye drops to use.
Clays and calamine
Clays like Kaolin clay, dead sea mud, fuller’s earth (multani mitti), bentonite clay all impart cooling to the skin. They also absorb some of the excess oils from the pimple, drying it up as a result. Pick any inexpensive mud mask (powders are safer than creamy tubes) and dab some on the spot. Leave it overnight for a better effect.
Calamine lotions such as Calak lotion contain calamine plus bentonite clay, both of which cool and soothe the skin. A popular brand of calamine, Lacto Calamine, doesn’t work for everyone because its castor oil clogs pores in some people. Calak is a safer choice as it has no castor oil.
Cooling a pimple prevents it from coming to a head. When a pimple comes to a white head and pops, you are likely to be left with a hole like scar. What you want is for the pimple to just shrink and melt down into the skin instead of becoming a red, angry bump with a white head.
Now for some disclaimers. While cooling off a pimple will help, it will not magically make it disappear. These treatments are all for daytime when you have to quickly reduce the redness say before an important meeting. At night, using a medicated spot treatment in addition will help to heal the pimple faster.