We’ve all been there – a giant (and often painful) pimple pops up at the worst possible moment, and you just want to get rid of it ASAP. The truth is, you have to wait it out or see a dermatologist, says New York dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali.

“If you want to avoid paying for expensive lasers later, it’s the smartest thing you can do,” he told INSIDER.

But what if you can’t wait for a doctor’s appointment? There are at-home remedies for acne (although not every dermatologist recommends DIY surgery, as INSIDER tells us).

“Acne breakouts seem really common, but there are special ways to prevent complications,” says California dermatologist Jennifer Channual. “When you squeeze a pimple, you’re not only pushing the contents on the surface, but under the skin, which can cause inflammation and take longer to clear,” she told INSIDER.

So how do you avoid all the irritation and just get rid of acne? INSIDER talked to board-certified dermatologists to get their best advice on how to get rid of blemishes the right way.

Be aware of the risks.
Compressing your own acne can have many side effects, so it’s best to do it only in an emergency, says Jennifer Kitchin, MD, a dermatologist in New York. “Picking and scratching your pimples puts you at risk of scarring and infection, and it’s not a smart solution to your acne,” she says. “See your acne dermatologist for a personalized acne treatment regimen so you can have acne treatment and prevention at your fingertips.”

Focus on reducing inflammation, says New Jersey dermatologist Avne Shah. “Pressing on your pimple can cause pus to come out, but it usually causes severe inflammation at the bottom, which tends to leave red or brown spots,” she says. “The less inflammation, the better the spot will heal.”

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