Pimple Emergency Tactics for Prom Night

concealing acne

Use a concealer to help hide pimples in an “emergency” situation.

Pimples cause panic for millions of teens going on a big date for prom night. Many of the things teens do to get rid of pimples actually make them worse, but here are three pimple emergency tactics for prom night that really work.


  • Don’t panic about pimples. There are several good ways to keep them from ruining your prom night.
  • Your dermatologist can shrink a pimple overnight with a steroid injection. This method is expensive, is not covered by insurance, and cause permanent damage to your skin if you get an injection in the same pore a second time.
  • Pimples can be concealed with makeup—but if you are doing your own makeup, be sure you have practiced using concealer before prom night.
  • Benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil can kill acne bacteria and get rid of redness and swelling of pimples, but you have to start them at least a week before your prom.
  • Using Exposed Skin Care on a regular basis can stop pimple emergencies before they start.

What Your Dermatologist Can Do for Prom Night

Dermatologists can inject a steroid directly into a pimple to shrink it for prom night. The needle is thinner than a pin you’d in new clothes, and the injection doesn’t hurt much at all. The steroid shrinks the pimple down to the contour of your skin and takes the red out. You’d still need to use concealer (more about that in minute) to make the pimple invisible, but the steroid injection can make hiding the pimple a lot easier.

There are two major downsides to this kind of emergency pimple treatment. One is that it is expensive. Each injection will probably cost US $60 to $125. Because the injection is a cosmetic procedure, it will not be covered by insurance. You or your parents will have to pay cash.

The other downside to steroid shots for pimples is that it is a one-time fix. A second or third injection at the same site can cause permanent thinning of your skin, leaving you prone to bruising and spider veins. And when the skin heals, it may be pale compared to the rest of the skin on your face. Still, for a once-in-a-lifetime event, this might be a good option. Be sure to make arrangements at least a week in advance.

Using Concealer for Prom Night

Another pimple emergency tactic, that is a lot less expensive, is hiding your pimples with concealer. For this you will need at the very least a bottle of foundation makeup, yellow if you have fair skin or brown if you have darker skin. If you have fair, brown, or Asian skin, may also need a bottle of green concealer for your base.

Green does a great job of making the red of a pimple invisible on lighter skin. The problem with using green concealer is that you create green spots where you had red spots, and you need to conceal the concealer. You do this with one (and only one) layer of yellow or brown foundation makeup. You don’t want to add so many layers of makeup that they start to clump (if you have dry skin) or run (if you have oily skin). You want just enough makeup to cover the pimple and no more.

The best way to make sure you are not using too much makeup is to apply it with a feather brush (your own, not someone else’s). Place a small lump of concealer on the back of your recently washed hand, and use your other hand to coat your feather brush with the product. Then use the brush to apply just a tiny amount of concealer over your pimple. Use your thumbs to spread the concealer evenly around your pimple, but be sure you don’t squeeze the pimple. Then you would have an even bigger cosmetic problem to cover up.

It is best to practice using concealer before you are getting ready for the prom. Try wearing concealer all day to make sure you are using the right amount. And make sure you have the brown or yellow shade that matches your skin in the light that will be used at the prom. The only way to make the right choice of shade is to test several products and see how they work on your skin. You can’t do this the afternoon before your prom. Plan ahead.

Spot Treatments for Pimples

Another tried and true method of treating pimple emergencies is with benzoyl peroxide gel used for spot treatments. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne bacteria in about 48 hours. Your skin then stops generating inflammation to kill the acne, and the pimple heals in about a week. The problem with benzoyl peroxide is that it is easy to use too much.

Benzoyl peroxide gels come in different strengths. A 2.5% gel won’t irritate your skin, but it is not going to get rid of acne bacteria as fast as a 5% to 10% benzoyl peroxide gel. When the concentration of benzoyl peroxide is 5% or higher, however, there can be stinging, burning, itching, and peeling of your skin. So how can you be sure you get rid of your pimples without causing something worse in their place?

Either Clearasil (the cream that isn’t tinted peach) or Persa-Gel will knock out acne fast but they can cause irritation of your skin. If you have never used these products before, test just a small dot of the product on the skin of your forearm, leaving it there for at least 12 hours without washing. If that doesn’t cause irritation, try the product on just one pimple. If that doesn’t cause irritation, then the next day use it on all your pimples, but never spread it all over your face.

You have to start using these products about two weeks before the prom for them to remove most of your pimples. If you have a week or less, try Clearz-It Nano Hydra+ On-the-Spot Treatment Acne Medication. The advantage of this product is that it contains both benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil.

Benzoyl peroxide just kills bacteria. Tea tree oil removes inflammation and redness. The combination of ingredients makes the product about twice as expensive, but it also improves your complexion about twice as fast.

Other helpful hints for prom night complexion care:

  • Don’t rely on last-minute treatment with “zappers” that heat your skin. They may shrink a pimple, or they may enlarge it. You don’t want to find out how the treatment turned out on the way to the prom.
  • Don’t try to wash or scrub your acne away. Irritated pores repair themselves by producing even more oil.
  • Prom night might be one time to use Biore Deep Cleansing Strips, but don’t pull the strip hard. These strips only remove the “black” in a blackhead, and only for a few days. They can cause as many problems as they solve, but they might be OK in an emergency.
  • Never use Biore Deep Cleansing Strips on a pimple.
  • At least a month before your prom, start using Exposed Skin Care. Over 98% of users report that it clears up their skin in 30 days or less, and all products come with a money-back guarantee.

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