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How to Get Rid of a Pimple

A few weeks ago, my friend had “a scary zit,” as she called it. Remembering that garlic has antibacterial properties, she took a clove and smashed it. She put the garlic juice on her pimple for a few minutes until it dried, and then she went to bed. (“I smelled like garlic bread,” she laughed.) But when she woke up the next morning…her pimple was gone.

Have you ever tried this? Would you? I almost want to get a pimple so I can see if it works. Do you have any other natural beauty tricks? (My sister used to crack an egg on her head in the shower for shiny hair, and our babysitter swears by coconut oil as face lotion.)

P.S. How to do anything.

(Top photo by Garance Dore, bottom photo by Saveur)

  1. Love these tips. I use zit clay & tea tree oil, too (also recommended by my esthetician). But I also go to her probably once every other month to do a deep-clean acne facial (even if I don’t have any acne), because it really just cleans everything out. Ever since I have started doing that, I have had little to no breakouts in the last 3 years!

  2. Jenn says...

    Be careful with coconut oil?I had a horrible reaction of cystic acne in every pore!!!!! It required a derm visit and $$$ scripts

  3. Weird! I’ve never heard of this but now I want to try it!!! And I love garlic so that’s a plus.

  4. Eda says...

    I have a funny story! After reading that post I tried the garlic on my pimples before going to bed. Next morning my skin was looking awesome! I washed my face several times but people around me kept asking each other “do you smell something it smells like someone has been cooking” :D

    so another hint from me try this at the weekend.

  5. Jem says...

    Huh, I haven’t had any sort of burning reaction to garlic, and I’ve used it several times =/ It doesn’t usually do much (works a little, sometimes makes them a little less lumpy) but there definitely isn’t a negative reaction O.o

  6. These comments with tips are amazing! I have used cocunut oil, garlic, lemon juice (good for marks and scarring) and apple cider vinegar for problems ranging from dandruff, yeast overgrowth and acne and they all work better than anything I’ve been prescribed.

    Honey, tumeric and cinnamon powder I’ve heard good stuff about too.

    Defo going to try teabags for those annoying, cystic pimples that end up being a bump on your face for weeks!

    – Lubna
    (Cultural & Lifestle Blogger – /www.thedigitalreview.co.uk/)

  7. Please dot advocate this method!! I had a major pimple and decided to try this out and ended up with a very very infected pimple which has lead to 5 days of antibiotic shots!!! I mashed the garlic and put it on the pimple and now the skin around the pimple looks like it has burned off, it’s all black and peeling .. please don’t advocate this method it has messed up my skin I wish I never tried it!!

    I explained to my GP what I did and she said that garlic can increase chances for infection as it did in my case.

    PLEASE JO WARN YOUR READERS SO THEY DONT HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT I AM NOW.

    DONT TRY THIS IT JUST MAKES THE PIMPLE WORSE OR BADLY INFECTED!!!

  8. I tried this and I can’t endorse this method. I put a fresh piece of raw, organic garlic on a whopper the other night out of curiosity. After a few seconds, my pimple and the surrounding area started to burn. I held it for a couple minutes trying to wait it out, but it became too uncomfortable. The burning continued for a while after I disposed of the garlic – and the next day my pimple was none the smaller.

    I normally have very resilient skin, but wow this was uncomfortable. I’m going to stick with eating garlic!

  9. I CANNOT endorse garlic… my daughter had severe reaction to this so-called zit remedy and suffered with red splotches and blisters (the equivalent of a CHEMICAL BURN according to her doctor).

  10. I CANNOT endorse garlic… my daughter had severe reaction to this so-called zit remedy and suffered with red splotches and blisters (the equivalent of a CHEMICAL BURN according to her doctor).

  11. use tooth paste on your pimple…it takes about 2 days..depend on size.
    Use yogurt (no fat free) as a face masque and get a glowing fresh look after rinse it when dry.

  12. Nice tips..
    Lemon Juice, Potato, Ice and turmeric are also very beneficial to remove pimples.. for more information about to reduce health care visit @ http://bit.ly/1nVitZc

  13. Tea tree oil! I had a really disgusting wart on my thumb when I was pregnant and tried to have it burned off twice, after trying over the counter gels and wart remedies. It was making my nail grow wavy and wouldn’t go away. Then I got some tea tree oil, put it on twice a day and it was gone in two weeks! I had been fighting it for 4months prior! Amazing and natural!

  14. Oils are a great. They keep skin moisturized and clean. Before you sleep you should not be wearing any makeup and the face should be clean. And yes water intake is the best solution to the problems.
    melbourne makeup artist

  15. Gosh! I tried it yesterday and now I have a horrible burn on my face. I wish I haven’t done it. I think this post should be edited so people don’t continue making the same mistake?

  16. Gosh! I tried it yesterday and now I have a horrible burn on my face. I wish I haven’t done it. I think this post should be edited so people don’t continue making the same mistake?

  17. I had the same experience as Nidhi Dube and Sparkle Freckle. I got the most nasty burn from the garlic and a day later I had to peel out my skin!

  18. I would advise people to NOT put raw garlic on their skin!! I have tried this before on a pimple and it resulted in a BLISTER! Garlic may be magical, but remember it is POWERFUL and has the ability to really do a number on your skin.

    The pimple is gone… along with a small part of my face….

  19. I applied garlic yesterday on the zit and it burned like crazy! I still didnt remove it thinking it moght be working. Next thing i notice is my entire left cheek is red!!! Though after 20 or so minutes the burning sensation was gone, i slept with the thing and it became as solid as ice and i had to scratch it hard and soak my cheeks in the ahower to remove it! The reault was a rashed skin with boils!!!
    I recommend pls use Deriva, available at chemists without a prescription. It dries out easily and the pimple with marks are gone too!

  20. I applied garlic yesterday on the zit and it burned like crazy! I still didnt remove it thinking it moght be working. Next thing i notice is my entire left cheek is red!!! Though after 20 or so minutes the burning sensation was gone, i slept with the thing and it became as solid as ice and i had to scratch it hard and soak my cheeks in the ahower to remove it! The reault was a rashed skin with boils!!!
    I recommend pls use Deriva, available at chemists without a prescription. It dries out easily and the pimple with marks are gone too!

  21. I’ve used lemon to help with breakouts. I simply take a slice and rub it on the affected area and its improved in the morning.

  22. ı tried garlic on my pimple too. also ı tried on swollen eyelid. it Works. garlic is an natural antibaterial and antibiotic. garlic is magical cure :)

    Love From Turkey…

    http://www.kelebekdiyeti.net

  23. I use olive oil for my hair (I apply a spoonful on the hair and after 2-3 hours I wash it) and yogurt and honey as a facial mask, it cleans and soften the skin.

  24. Garlic is amazing! It’s naturally antiviral, too. I had ringworm when I was about 13 years old, and my mum made me put a slice of garlic on it and wrapped it up. I remember it stung like crazy, but it worked really quickly!! I think it is also a great cure for warts. You may find this a little gross, but I have used it for yeast/vaginal infections. I still go to the doctor, but if I notice funny discharge, I will use garlic first, and usually it clears up. For pimples, which I am very familiar with, unfortunately, I find tea tree oil the absolute best for my skin. I use the Body Shop’s tea tree face mask now and then, and I use tea tree oil diluted in water on my face, nightly, after washing. I just put a bit of water in the palm of my left hand and add 2-3 drops of the oil… Oh, how I love the simple medicines of nature! :)

  25. I too was excited to try this on my slowly forming pimple. It did burn a little when I put it on initially but that didn’t bother me because I figured it was ‘doing stuff’. The next morning I woke up and it appeared as though some mini blood vessels burst. By the end of the day I had a large white head that formed. As odd as this may sound, I know how my zits evolve and this was a very different evolution of my zit. In short, I won’t be trying this again :-(

  26. Hi Jo :)

    Try Tiana coconut oil on your face, I heard the rave reviews so I blog tested it and have stuck with it since. VOILA! baby soft skin and no pimples. Hooray :)

    http://www.cleanbakerun.com

  27. A friend of mine tried this and she ended up with a burn and now has a scar instead of a pimple…

  28. Hi!
    I tried it last night. It didn’t work for my skin. bummer!

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  30. I don’t know how well this works on pimples, but for over a year I’ve had overly dry skin, red splotches, bumps, and even sometimes acne all on my chin. I’ve never had any problem with my skin before, but suddenly it went way out of balance. Nothing would help at all. My boyfriend told me to try apple cider vinegar one day (after reading a reddit post) so I did. Within a week my fave was back to its perfect self! I just dabbed it on a cotton wipe and smeared it all over my face. After it cleared up I started cutting it with some water.

  31. I don’t know how well this works on pimples, but for over a year I’ve had overly dry skin, red splotches, bumps, and even sometimes acne all on my chin. I’ve never had any problem with my skin before, but suddenly it went way out of balance. Nothing would help at all. My boyfriend told me to try apple cider vinegar one day (after reading a reddit post) so I did. Within a week my fave was back to its perfect self! I just dabbed it on a cotton wipe and smeared it all over my face. After it cleared up I started cutting it with some water.

  32. Wow this is very interesting. I almost want a pimple too. If only you posted this last week.
    I know garlic is really good for hair growth, if you take a garlic clove and rub it on the spot that starting to bald or on your head, it will increase hair growth.

  33. Hell no, not again. I put garlic on my skin once and it burned the crap out of it and the spot I used it on still hasn’t healed.

  34. Clay is drawing and drying; I treat pimples by slathering them with a bit of clay at bedtime. Any of the many powdered sorts any health food store will carry are great. For extra effectiveness, Instead of moistening the clay with plain water, you could use water with something antimicrobial — lavender oil is pleasant. I bet this garlic oil would be great.

    I often use diluted GSE, which I keep in an eyedropper bottle diluted properly for topical use. GSE is grapefruit seed extract — NOT grapefruit essential oil — which is a powerful antimicrobial agent some hospitals now use for laundry since the wee critters do not seem to develop immunity to it as they do other things so far. Topical dilution is 1/8oz GSE in 2oz water. In our house we use this GSE on all wounds; much milder for the body than Neosporin, which my dermatologist says is a common allergen.

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  37. Sounds good! My sister makes facial masks from honey, nutmeg and cinnamon. If you want to make it a scrub, you should add sugar. Feels so good!

  38. I use coconut oil on my face, in my hair, on my legs- everything! I even oil pull and I feel/look healthier than ever. It seems counterintuitive to put oil on your face when you have acne, but it really clears it up.

  39. I’ve never heard this but am intrigued!!! I’ve been exfoliating with baking soda and am liking my results so far…
    Thanks for the tip!

  40. I use almond oil as face lotion! It’s dirt cheap at the pharmacy, and all natural!

  41. Wow! I could’ve used this post 2 days ago… going to try it out next time.

  42. Thanks for sharing this, Joanna! Natural remedies are the best! When I was little I had a dry scalp problem and my mom would apply aloe vera on my scalp twice a week. It worked wonders! This winter has been pretty brutal on my hair. My hair and scalp are pretty dry so I’m gonna see if aloe vera gel works as well as the actual plant.:)

    xoxo Donna

  43. Ohhhh I wish I read this last night. I had a little demon on my forehead that could’ve used some vampire repellant.

  44. Totally filing this away for future use! :)

    Michelle @ ahealthymrs.com

  45. I put honey mixed with a little distilled water in my hair for an hour or so to lighten my hair and get highlights. You don’t need to be in the sun, but it helps a bit more! Honey has natural peroxides in it, and the distilled water activates it, but it doesn’t dry out your hair like lemon juice does.

  46. Watch out for burning your skin with garlic, I’ve heard of someone sleeping with a slice of garlic against a pimple and she ended up with a red welt.

  47. Diluted apple cider vinegar is awesome for clarifying hair. Rub it through wet hair for a few minutes then shampoo it out and your hair will be soft, clean and bouncy the next day! It gets rid of all that product and daily life grime. ;)

  48. Oh, and to an above poster – with all due respect to your hairdresser, the root cause of dandruff (not simple dry scalp) is not a dry scalp. Olive oil is actually less able to fix the root cause of dandruff than are shampoos made for the problem. It’s like thinking that the root cause of psoriasis is dry skin. Olive oil will soothe and temporarily fix the problem but is not a true cure for dandruff or anything other than temporary dry skin caused by the environmemt.

  49. Certain things like garlic work wonders on the “right” kind of pimple. I tried a mashed up aspirin once and it worked amazingly well, as it is anti-inflammatory. I’m guessing the garlic will work, especially in the early stages, on a standard “above-ground” pimple, as I call them. You know, the kind that go through the typical pimple stages, inflamed, swollen, and turn into a white head. Cystic and otherwise “underground” pimples are MUCH more difficult to deal with. (I never had the latter until my mid-thirties when all of a sudden almost any refined sugar consumption would lead to a nasty hard lump that took a month to disappear. I finally figured out it was sugar. (The idea that consuming chocolate will lead to pimples is an old wives’ tale, but apparently recently research does show a link between sugar and pimples… a hormonal thing, I guess.))

  50. Question, I can’t post under the shop bob sale post so I’ll ask here.
    For a person that lives in NYC, is a pair of $250 shoes expensive, middle of the way, kind of a splurge but not too bad?
    I’ve heard that food is super cheap and real estate is really expensive. I am unsure how money works in the eyes of New Yorkers.
    Anyone that can help shed light on this?

  51. I’ve tried leaving honey on a bump overnight and it is definitely dried up more the next day, but not completely gone.

    I just started using coconut oil this week around my eyes and where I had a dry winter rash near my hairline. Woke up and rash was gone!

  52. s says...

    tea tree oil works amazing for me!

  53. I use coconut oil on my baby’s bum when it’s looking a bit red.

  54. Raw honey is a great face wash – especially when it crystallizes (then it doubles as a scrub!) I’ve noticed an improvement for sure.

  55. I’ve used hemorrhoid cream on huge zits to take the swelling down overnight.

    Wash hair with baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and it will be soft and shiny.

    Use ACV as a facial toner, or also topically to clear up yeast infections. (Burns like fire on broken skin, but feels so good after).

    Natural products are so much better (easier, cheaper, multipurpose) than store bought stuff most of the time!

  56. raw honey works wonders, either on spots or as a full face mask. it has antibacterial properties that soothe and reduce an inflamed blemish.

  57. Coconut oil has been doing wonders on my face for sure.

    Also, oil of oregano for sore throats and if rubbed on the bottom of the foot can help ail chronic coughs.

  58. So funny that Abby mentioned garlic for diaper rash- my twin sister and I use diaper rash cream for pimples! The zinc seems to help dry them out, though I’ve never had complete overnight success.
    I also secretly love dicing garlic by hand for the lingering scent. Will report back after my next (inevitable) stress zit!

  59. Tape a piece of bacon fat to the pimple overnight. The salt in the fat sucks out all of the pus! I only use this when I have those awful hard and sore ones that I can’t get to (my cats end up licking me awake when I do it lol).

  60. Goodness! I’m certainly going to try this garlic thing — why not?! Thank your friend for the idea. Yes, everyone here in Santa Cruz, CA SWEARS by coconut oil for face cream, lip balm, hair shiner, everything! And some of the gals here look pretty youthful — and owe it all to coconut oil supposedly. So, I’ve starting using it on my face and so far so good :)

  61. I can’t believe no one has mentioned a tea bag!
    This helps for all kinds of bumps but especially those really painful pimples that won’t come to a head.
    Heat a tea bag (black tea is best) as hot as you can stand it and then apply it directly to the bump and hold it there until the tea bag has gone cold. I usually do it twice in a row with the same tea bag. The bump will be reduced in size by the next day and completely gone in a day or two if you keep applying a tea bag each day. It is amazing!

  62. I accidentally closed the car door on my thumb once (don’t worry, I was so shocked when I actually saw my thumb, I didn’t even feel it), so my dad took this remedy book he had and he read that onions were good for inflammation. He chopped some onion, put it on a small cloth and wrapped it around my thumb. I swear my thumb was brand new after like 20 min, but yeah, it was stinking of onions.

  63. I really enjoy DOTERRA essential oils. For acne I use the Melalueca oil on any pimples. It works great!

  64. The one thing I haven’t tried is garlic juice. I’ll keep that in mind. But I use coconut oil in my hair, as a makeup remover, shaving cream and I also put it on wounds and cuts. I never use it as a moisturizer though just because my skin is so sensitive and oil could lead to a breakout.

    Aleisha
    http://buttonforabird.blogspot.com

  65. I just blogged about a homemade deodorant that my husband and I started using. It works so well! I have less body odor, plus the skin on my armpits is soft and smooth. They used to always be irritated, probably from the combination of shaving and using harsh antiperspirant…

    Here’s a link to the deodorant recipe :: http://aannagreer.com/blog/diy-deoderant

  66. Garlic is indeed amazing – anytime i have an infection (sinus, soar throat, ear, etc) I just peel a clove of garlic and chew it up raw. It’s pretty intense, but it really does clear up the infection. One more lady-tip – clove of garlic overnight for yeast infections (instead of a monostat suppository.) I know it sounds frightening, but works ever time.

  67. I’ve mixed up coconut oil and sugar for a really nice shower scrub before!

    Have also made a hair mask out of one egg, a banana, some honey and a teeny bit of olive oil and my hair felt great!

  68. When I was pregnant I was sick as a dog throughout my first trimester. Of course when you’re pregnant you can’t take anything helpful in terms of medicine, and since I had a viral infection antibiotics wouldn’t help. I remembered reading that garlic had some anti-viral properties, so I began eating one raw clove per day. I don’t know if it was the garlic or just time, but the cold went away and I was healthy the rest of my pregnancy.

  69. I’ve started to use Calendula oil on my face. It’s wonderful in Canadian winters, in the past my chin was always dry, not now.

  70. I’ve started to use Calendula oil on my face. It’s wonderful in Canadian winters, in the past my chin was always dry, not now.

  71. We use a lot of these home remedies in India.. Some at the top of my head:

    * coconut oil as a moisturizer
    * ghee (clarified butter) for chapped lips
    * turmeric as an anti septic. Apply on minor cuts to stop bleeding and avoid infections
    * grind soaked sesame seeds and apply paste for baby soft skin. Can be frozen for longer shelf life. I apply this paste on my baby atleast twice a week, before his bath.
    * boil milk with turmeric and have it 2-3 times a day for dry cough. I add a little sugar for taste.
    * Tuck a clove in your mouth for tooth ache and chew on it
    * clove + dried mint leaves as breath freshner
    * soak fenugreek seeds in buttermilk and eat those fenugreek seeds for mild menstrual cramps. This has worked like a charm for me.
    * soak roasted omam seeds and drink that water to relieve gas.
    * Inhale Eucalyptus oil vapors for stuffy nose
    * grind hibuscus leaves and apply on hair as a conditioner. Super soft hair but beware of a messy blender and slimy bathroom :)

    Many many more..

    Love to Toby & Anton :)

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  74. be careful with home made recipes like this – the skin on your face is VERY delicate. some background reading, before any of you hurt yourselves…

  75. I did the same thing but with a dab of toothpaste. woke up with nothing there .
    Smells better than garlic :)

  76. I love different uses for garlic! Just be careful with trying it on your face if you have sensitive skin, it can burn.

  77. I would try it!

  78. Toothpaste for zits! Works like a charm.

  79. My mother puts clarified butter (ghee) on her face every day! She has great skin, but I always tease her about the butter. I use other oils (like coconut and rose oil) on my face, but there is something about the butter that feels like it crosses the beauty-food line.

  80. OMG.. This is right in time! $ just got 3 heinous zits all at once so I WILL be trying this tonight. I’ve heard good things about coconut oil too. Funny how food is good for nutrition and your beauty. 😜

  81. Yes! Keep a spray bottle of coconut oil (like you would use for cooking) in the bathroom. As soon as you step out of the show, and before you dry off, spritz it all over (face included) and your skin will be super soft.

  82. Apple Cider Vinegar! I drink water with lemon and a little honey, and about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in. It “cleans you out” and I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin – don’t need garlic because I don’t get ANY pimples now! I also use it as a toner and swab it all over my face twice a day.

    I also love the coconut oil!

  83. LOVE the magic of coconut oil. i’m going to pick some up tonight and try it out!

  84. abby, that is so interesting about garlic for diaper rash! seems so much nicer to use than medicinal creams.

  85. About the egg thing: you have to make sure the shower water isn’t too hot, or you end up with hair full of poached egg! (Ask me how I know…)

  86. E says...

    Garlic has amazing properties. Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I chop up a few cloves of garlic and swallow a handful with a big glug of water…it sounds gross, but it’s just like taking a (sort of smelly) pill, and it honestly gets rid of your cold!

  87. I’m prone to ear infections and have found that pouring garlic juice/liquid in my ear at night helps immensely.

  88. Mmmmm…..I don’t know.
    I guess I’ would try it if it was an emergency.

    But while I love garlic bread, smelling like it and getting the scent all over my bedding sounds like bad news…

    Manda from
    Eat Cake

  89. This came on the best day Joanna! Thanks, going to try this tonight!

  90. I’m a super big coconut oil fan, too! Face lotion, body lotion, makeup remover, oil pulling (although I’m still trying to work this in to my regular routine…). I don’t use coconut oil for shaving, as I find any oil clogs the razor. I’ve been using a dab of tea tree oil for pimples for years with decent results–I can’t wait to try this garlic trick, though!

  91. The things we put on our skin is just as important as what we eat. Our bodies absorb the lotions and creams and deodorants we use! If you care about eating healthy, you should also care about using natural beauty products. I make most of my beauty products, and it’s really simple and fun! You can customize things to your skin/hair type and scent them to your preferences. This week I’ve been making lotion, which is simply emulsified oil, water and beeswax. The type of oil makes a big difference – sweet almond oil is my favourite, but I’ve also tried coconut oil lotion, shea butter and coconut oil mixed, and sunflower seed oil. DIY beauty care has worked wonders for me.

    sunspotworkshop.com

  92. Tea tree oil for pimples works like a charm! Super cheap, too.

  93. I use tea tree oil whenever I get a zit and it works like a charm for me.

    I used to use coconut oil on my face but was told that it clogs pores, is this true?

  94. Totally going to try this tonight! Fingers crossed.

  95. I am going to try this tonight! Thank you for this post!

  96. That works for diaper rash too! My sister would take garlic pills and break them open my little niece and nephews bottom. They smelled like a pickle but the rash was gone! Garlic is magic.

  97. I have a mighty pimple/zit/I-dont-know-what-to-call-it on my chin currently and have been trying to figure out how to get rid of it! Garlic juice it is! Hope it zaps this right off. :)

  98. Absolutely 100% trying this. Nothing worse on your face than a scary zit.

    My favorite home remedy is avocado oil for dry hair – I tried it once as a mask on my dry, brittle, over-dyed hair and it was like magic.

  99. Coconut oil as everything – all-over lotion, eye makeup remover, shaving cream.

    Also if you have dandruff, buy some Aveda oil (or even olive oil) and massage into your scalp before bed two nights a week – then shampoo as usual the next morning. My hairdresser told me this, since dandruff shampoos work, but they’re not fixing the root problem, which is that your scalp is dry and flaky and needs moisture.

  100. I second the coconut oil. Also works for the ends of your hair.

  101. I also use coconut oil as a moisturizer. I actually use it all over and love it. I also use it on my toddler.

  102. I just read the same thing about ginger too. I’m happy to smell like garlic though.

  103. Can’t wait to try it. Get excited, husband!