When you ask a question like “what’s the craziest thing you’ve done to a pimple,” you’ll be paid generously with very crazy answers. Such was the case here, when ITG presented that exact question last week. Hey, everyone’s been there. ITG readers are brave enough to share. There was the spit trick, the breast milk dab, the Borax mask, the...oh! Confused? Then get scrolling. ITG readers have seen every kind of zit, and tried every kind of out-of-this-world treatment to get rid of them.
The Sewing Club
Just needles. No thread required.
“My mom is a celebrated acupuncturist, so when a pimple gets really bad I let her needle it. It’s totally different from lancing a pimple—the needles are hairline fine and go in at the margins of the red spot only. I always immediately see a reduction in size, then after a night’s sleep if I’ve been doing as she says (no alcohol, spicy foods, etc), the angry red cyst is completely flat and replaced with a slightly pink mark; then it just disappears from there. No scarring, no pus-scab (don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean) from popping, better than any steroid injection.” —
“My dad is a dentist and would take my brother and I to his office, sit us in a chair and use his dental needle to pop our zits.” —
“I used to buy little needles that diabetics use to prick blood to pop whiteheads :/” —
“I can up your sterilized needles... I use the round edge of a bobby pin. Works like one of those fancy (I know they cost like $11) pimple poppers. Unsterilized, of course, every time.” —
The Burn Unit
Things got heated.
“I was always taught that heat would help bring a pimple to the surface—I had a pimple on my chin that I wanted to eviscerate, so in a brief lapse of judgement, I held a bowl of oatmeal (straight out of the microwave) on my chin for god knows how long. Instead of killing the pimple, it burned off about a quarter-size layer of skin.” —
“I've had too many horror stories to count. I swear I never learn. The worst one though was when I was in middle school there was a device that heated up and was supposed to get rid of pimples (I don't even, to this day, know how that was supposed to work). I, being 11 and dumb, decided to apply the same principle of heating up a spot by literally burning a pimple on my face with a mini flat iron. Did nothing besides singe my skin.” —
“My deepest, darkest moment having a pimple was when I was 15 and decided that it might be a good idea to put a wart treatment on the sucker. This treatment contained high doses of formic acid, which is not recommended to apply on facial skin... It burned really bad and left me with a red mark that I had to cover up for years.” —
“I put straight, non diluted apple cider vinegar on two pimples I had on my upper lip. I remember being so proud of myself and telling my mom I was gonna get rid of them naturally. Like 15 minutes later she looked at me in horror and said I had a red mustache. I burned the shit out of my skin. It was so raw and gross I had to slather it with lotion. It did shrink my pimples though so now I dilute it. Lesson learned!” —
These are just... different.
“When I was a teenager I put Borax on my acne. Yeah, laundry Borax! WHYYYYY! It just got more red and angry, of course.” —
"Once I put Compound W 17% salicylic acid wart remover gel on a pimple ooof!" —
“I once put some crazy 90 proof Ukrainian vodka on a zit hoping to dry it up. It didn't work. Obviously.” —
Apparently not all beauty creams work the same.
“I’ve applied just about every cream one can find in a bathroom to my face (this includes Orajel one time, which did help with the throbbing zit pain from cystic acne!)…Honestly, I’m just glad I still have a face.” —
“I can't praise the diaper rash cream enough for what it's done for my skin! Three years, $100's of dollars later, it's the cheapest and most effective thing I've found to combat my occasional dermatitis outbreak, and ever so consistent cystic acne. As soon as I even get a hint of a new cyst forming under the skin I apply it, and within the next few days the acne has either flattened, or if it does surface it's reduced significantly in size. If you're picking it up, pay attention to the ingredients! Try to look for something with zinc oxide listed as the only ingredient.” —
"So, the craziest thing I’ve put on my face for acne is Vagisil 😬 embarrassing but true. I thought it would kill any bacteria (yes, I now understand that yeast is not the same as bacteria, but I was about 13 then haha). I figured if it was safe for your V-zone, it would be safe for your face. Made me look like a greasy mess. On the other end my favorite ever weird acne remedy is using a spritz of Triamcinolone nasal spray (like Nasacort) right on the skin. The reason: Triamcinolone is the active compound in the cortisone injections done for acne. The concentration of this ingredient in the nasal spray is within the range derms use, and the inactive ingredients are almost identical. So obviously doesn’t have as dramatic of an effect just being used topically, but it does absorb in the skin and I swear it helps cysts calm down A LOT in terms of swelling/redness." —
“Oh, good god, everything. Toothpaste, lemon juice, baking soda, charcoal, aspirin, honey, sulfur paste, Neosporin, Visine (thanks ITG!), ice, calamine lotion, milk of magnesia, acv, blister bandages, Preparation H, pieces of potato and yes, the dreaded sterilized needle in an attempt to relieve the pressure of cystic acne, which of course turns you into Sisyphus.” —
Melts on your face, not in your hands.
“In the name of clear skin, I have tried all of the below:
- The potato thing, except I didn't tape them so I just had to lie very still with wet root vegetables on my face
- Rubbing the inside of a banana peel all over my face
- Putting cuticle remover all over my face for one minute (exfoliating!)
- Rubbing ice cubes all over my face
- Steaming my face over my stovetop” —
“My sister-in-law's breast milk. I had a pesky zit on my chin that would not go away so she asked if I'd like a Q-tip dabbed in breast milk to spot treat it because she heard that it can nip zits in the butt. Can't really say much if it worked or not...I was at my family cabin and the zit came pre cabin trip. I don't think the "treatment" stood a chance to the thick layers of sunscreen I was applying when I wasn't in the water.” —
And Finally, A Very Natural Remedy
Spit is the new blood cream.
“The craziest thing I do that works is dab spit on mine throughout the day. Clean hands. dab dab dab...I read that the good bacteria in your mouth kills the germs in your pimples. There have been days where I had a pimple speed up and pop by the end of the day or next morning doing this.” —
Photo via TK