I used to have terrible skin; it was uncontrolable and constantly breaking out. When I realized that was due to the make-up I was wearing (cosmetic acne) I was able to manage it. Now, I have clear and even skin which breaks out occasionally but, is not cystic so they can be zapped in a day or two with what I have found to be the best method.
Tea Tree Oil (100% is best) costs about $10.00
Triple Action Polysporin (with Vitamin E) Ointment, also costs about $10.00
Soak a Q-tip in the Tea Tree Oil and then roll it over the “spot” a few times. Let that absorb for a few minutes, then when it has dried apply the Polysporin over top. Do this a few times a day for a really nasty pimple.
The Tea Tree Oil is an antiseptic and it kills the bacteria in the pimple, drying it out; while the Polysporin helps to heal the broken (if you have been picking) or red scarred tissue around the area. I have found sometimes that this method works overnight!
I also here is a great website that has some helpful and interesing things to say about acne: http://www.savvyskin.com/category/acne