The Best Overnight Acne Spot Treatments

Is there really anything that can eliminate a pimple overnight?

The answer is maybe, but not usually.

The absolute best advice I can give you is to not touch, rub, pick or sqeeze! The only exception to this rule, is taking two Q-tips to squeeze any visible superficial white puss. When you manipulate a pimple in any way, and especially if you squeeze it more deeply trying to get to its base, you set off a series of reactions that lead to even more inflammation and a larger more visible lesion. Every time. There are no exceptions!

The key is not causing more inflammation and reducing the existing inflammation at the same time. Over drying the acne spot will also cause it to get worse.

Options to dry up the pimple as quickly as possible are:

  • Very precicely, apply a toothepick to the spot (not the surrounding area) with a small drop of argan, vitamin E, or olive oil followed by toothpaste. This has to be very precise or you will end up with a bright red, irritated area wherever the toothepaste touched your skin.
    Applying ice is also helpful but not convenient to do all day. If you have any Duac, Tazorac, or another prescription topical, apply a dollop in the same way above. Always apply some oil first to reduce inflammation and prevent the skin from drying out. You will have to sleep on your back so you don't disturb the treatment.
  • You can see a dermatologist for a shot of steroids, but, this has three disadvantages. One, it doesn't always work and i can take two to three days to notice improvement. Two, it can lead to a little divot in the skin that can take up to six months to fill back in. Three, it can prolong healing in the long run. You sacrifice getting rid of the swelling and size for a persistent smaller acne lesion that takes a while to heal. This is because steroids delay healing.
  • We cannot emphasize this enough...NOT TOUCHING the acne spot is the absolute best, most effective treatment.

And if the acne spot has reached the point of infection, a little zap of your aesthetician's germicidal wand can be very helpful. 

What is Seborrheic Keratosis?

Seborrheic keratosis--or SK's as dermatologists call them--are superficial growths that look like little brown flat warts and normally start to appear in your 40s. They come in all colors: flesh, black, brown, gray, or even white. They usually start small and look like an age spot that is slightly scaly. They can stay small and flat or they can become very thick rough. Sometimes you can even peel them off your skin with your fingernail (or at least you feel like you can get your nail under it and peel it off).


These skin lesions can be the size of a needle point or grow to be the size of a silver dollar and half an inch thick. This is why they are commonly referred to as "barnacles." When you apply sunless tanning cream the SK's light up and turn very dark. This is because they are composed of thickened skin so just like your elbow, knees, and calluses on your feet turn brown with sunless tanning cream, so do the seborrheic keratosis.


Seborrheic keratosis spots are the vain of adult womens' existence. Because they take so many looks and shapes, they are often hard for a clients and regular doctors alike to diagnose, as they can resemble the appearance of skin cancer. While they are harmless, they are very difficult to treat.


Individual lesions can be cured with just one treatment. Some spots may require several treatments. New lesions will continue to come as you age, so be patient as time goes on. The most realistic goal is to stick with reserving treatment to just the spots that present themselves on your face and chest.


Using Retin-A to your face and chest can help prevent them from forming in the first place. Once they appear, though, they can be treated with laser treatments if they are very thin. When they mature and become thicker, they will need to be treated with liquid nitrogen, chemical peels, or ablative lasers like the Encore CO2 Fractional or Erbium lasers.


The best advice is to see a qualified dermatologist who can make a diagnosis and discuss realistic treatment options with you. Settling for treatment at a spa, with untrained skincare providers, will wind up costing you thousands of dollars in misdiagnoses!

Using Liquid Nitrogen to Treat Seborrheic Keratosis

Many clients are surprised to find that brown spots can be removed with liquid nitrogen instead of with a laser. While liquid nitrogen treatment isn't as isn't sexy as using a laser, but for isolated or just a few superficial age spots and seborrheic keratoses, it is a cheap, easy, and effective treatment.

If you have diffused age spots and photodamage, laser treatment is more effective since you cannot treat the entire face with liquid nitrogen alone.

Liquid Nitrogen is the most effective treatment for seborrheic keratosis which can sometimes be mistaken for age spots.  Unlike age spots which are merely an increase in skin pigment, seborrheic kerstoses are thickened layers of skin with increased or sometimes reduced pigmentation. You can suspect a seborrheic keratosis by seeing flakes when you scratch them. When you apply sunless tanning cream they get darker because of the thickened layer of skin. Age spots, however, do not darken with sunless tanning cream. Don't spend thousands of dollars on ineffective laser treatments for seborrheic kerstoses - come see our skin experts.