Pimples UNDER the skin, anyone?

Ever had one of those huge, deep, under-the-skin pimples that feel more like a tumor than a zit? The ones that make part of your face look swollen, hurt like hell and are almost impossible to conceal? Worse still, the ones that take forever to heal since the pore is clogged so deep below the skin surface that medication just doesn’t work on them? I got one of these stubborn monsters on my lip line a couple of months back and couldn’t even drain it because the pea-sized bump refused to develop a head. Which became a huge problem, especially since I had a humdinger of a royal event to attend last weekend and did not enjoy the thought of going with swollen, lopsided lips that made me look like a clown. A mentally challenged clown. So, it was time to dig deep and wide, looking for remedies… and here’s what I found by way of drawing out the pimple and making it subside.

prid-drawing-salvePrid’s Drawing Salve

It’s black, greasy and seriously stinky but there is nothing else in the world like this old homeopathic remedy to draw out a pimple or a boil. Along with zit-busting and anti-inflammatory agents like Phenol and Ichthammol (which has a hefty dose of Sulphur), Prid’s Drawing Salve also contains Arnica for bruising, Calendula for healing and Echinacea for its antiseptic qualities. Basically, you dab it onto the bump at night and cover it with a Band-aid. This “draws the poison,” as they’d say in the old days. I did this for just one night and by morning the inflammation had gone down by about 60% and the pimple had formed a white head. Which I proceeded to pop and drain (yes, I know you are not supposed to squeeze a pimple but sometimes you just have to do it!). Seriously, all this in one night – after suffering for 2 months! And its a steal at $5.55!

Hot compress

The other thing that can reliably speed the healing time of a subterranean pimple is a hot compress. Dip a washcloth in water that’s as hot as your skin can stand. Fold it up and apply it to the pimple. As the outer folds of the washcloth start to cool, refold it so the warmer inside layers are exposed and reapply. After 10-15 minutes, when the washcloth has cooled off, run it under more hot water Keep doing this for as long as you’ve got time. The heat will draw bacteria to the surface and soften the pore. That way, the next step – a spot treatment with 2 percent salicylic acid plus a pain reliever like menthol – can penetrate deep down and zap the infection faster than would happen naturally, giving underlying tissues the opportunity to heal sans a scar.

Hot-and-cold compress

Alternate hot compresses (as hot as you can stand without hurting yourself) and icy cold compresses on your pimple every 5-10 minutes until you see it develops a whitehead or begins to harden. The hot and cold compresses will expand and contract your pimple, helping to draw out the fluids and bring the infection to the surface.

draw-out-a-pimpleHot poultice

A friend of mine swears by this recipe that’s been handed down from her grandmother: Crush half a tablespoon each of onion, garlic and ginger. Mix them together and apply this poultice on the spot, then cover with a Band-Aid. This should bring even the deepest cyst to a head in a few hours. (PS: I would strongly suggest doing a patch test before putting garlic on your face, especially for those with sensitive skin.)

Tea bag compress

A warm tea bag placed directly over the pimple doesn’t just help bring the pimple to the surface but the tannins within – particularly in black tea – also help reduce inflammation.

For the unconventional

Joey Green, author of Amazing Kitchen Cures recommends a dab of Kiwi White Liquid Shoe Polish to help dry out subterranean pimples and bring them to the surface. He also recommends dabbing on some Preparation H to shrink the spot.

The Hollywood Method

If the pimple is bad enough and hasn’t formed a head, ask your dermatologist whether a cortisone shot is right for you. It stings but is a surefire way to shrink even a massive under-the-skin zit within 24 hours.

Comments

  1. says

    OMG I cannot BELIEVE you just posted this. Been suffering from one of these for almost two weeks until just yesterday–and I never get these–which almost made it worse because I was so incredibly lost on what the heck to do about it. Thanks for the tips! I should keep that salve around just in case it happens again.

          • Terrie says

            I read this article and I had a quarter sized under the skin cyst. After reading about Prids I went to Walmart and bought a tin. I used it and over night it was almost completely gone. Unbelievable!!! I will never be without it and will buy one every time I visit Walmart. Thank you so much for the information.

  2. Bharti Bhandari says

    Hi, A few weeks ago there was an article about pimples location on the face and diagnosis of the cuase based on where the pimple was on hte face. Could please point me to hte article.

    thank you
    bharti

  3. Nathalia says

    So, I bought this drawing salve last week after reading this article, and somehow it is not quite working. Do you think it has to be one of those huge zits to make it work, or does a normal zit do? And how much of the stinky potion did you apply?
    Also, I bought the witch hazel today, and I am excited to try it out.

    • anubha says

      It normally works best for under the skin cysts… do you have one of those or one with a head?

  4. says

    It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Amanda says

    Where can I find prid? I’ve never gotten one of these things, NOR heard of em so when I found it on my face and it swelled literally the whole left side of my face I started to FREAK!! I’ve gotten a boil on my hip and it was the most painful thing even, not to mention that it left an ugly scar. The thought of that happening to my face was just right ing. I came upon this and I feel so relieved! The description is on point and I’d really like to try this!

    • anubha says

      Ouch… that sounds painful! Where do you live? I usually get my Prid’s off Amazon. Would that work for you??

      • Amanda says

        I actually just googled it. I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing that before. Lol they had em at Walmart for about the price you mentioned and also at Walgreens for $6. Mine was literally the size of a quarter! The hard part at least, and the redness and swelling was my whole cheek. I applied the prid last night. The next morning the swelling was practically gone! Still there, just no where near as bad! By the time I was out of work the swelling was COMPLETELY gone, the hard part is smaller than a dime. I’ll probably apply it again tonight and I’m sure that should do the trick! Thank you so much for your advice!

  6. corsica says

    I’ve just started reading your blog and love love love it! As you can tell I am reading all your past articles because it’s so intriguing :) In particular I love the organic, natural methods.
    I wanted to share my own zit remedy that’s simpler than the Hot Poultice you posted:
    After washing your face and drying, score a garlic tooth lengthwise, microwave for 12 seconds- careful, it will be hotter than you think! Open the garlic, and dab it directly onto the area. The garlic oil/juice will dry like a thin film sealing it in to disinfect. Now, you are ready to prep your face for the day or for bed.
    I do this at the earliest twinge to prevent anything from sprouting 9takes 2-3 times) and when I forget to do it and it has already started to grow to pause the pimple. It also flakes off scars that are left sometimes. Give it two to three days to fully flake of scars from already started ones.
    Keep up the awesome work! I am learning so much!

  7. Jenny says

    I just tried the mix of onion, garlic and ginger. I will never try that again. Whether that means I’m sensitive or not I don’t know. I don’t think I’m any more sensitive than an average person… Immediately after putting it on with the band-aids I could feel it stinging and throbbing immensely. I thought that meant it just worked really well. And in a way it did, my underlying pimples are now way smaller, they don’t protrude as much. BUT, and this is a big one… I have a huge rash now on my face. I woke up to awfully tomato-red skin and I specifically did this treatment because I wanted to look good in front of my boyfriend, which I will be seeing today. Suffice to say it made it ten times worse.

    Immediately upon discovering this, I slathered on pure shea butter as it has healing properties. I really hope my skin will recover more or less in time, if 90% of the redness is gone by the time I’m meeting him, then there’s no big deal because my concealer can hide a slight redness. It can’t hide this though and it’s understandable! I plan on using an ice cube to reduce the redness even further, I have to plan my whole day around how to minimize the redness now… I’m not blaming the author, just saying, use caution! I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients, still it hurt like a bitch. I didn’t know what to expect.

  8. Beth says

    Thank you so much for this advice! I have had these things all my life and never knew what to do about them. I currently had one for four weeks with no end in sight. I tried the Prid product last night and by today, it had softened and I was able to pop it. It is now half the size and it feels so much better! There is still some size to it; do you think I should do another treatment with the Prid or do a traditional spot acne treatment?

  9. Celadon says

    I hate these things. though of course, calling them “pimples under the skin” is inaccurate, but I suppose its less likely to freak people out. I mean, calling them Abscesses sounds a lot scarier. In any event… They are bacterial infections and any remedies should consider that.

    While most of the time you’re fine, and most of the time these things heal fine on their own… be careful. You don’t want it rupturing and spreading through your blood and becoming a systemic infection. Which likely will not happen to you. But it did to me.

    Skin ulcers are unpleasant.

  10. Shelley says

    Hi, thanks for the creative solutions. I am going to try Prid tonight! I have one on my lip and it hurts pretty badly. I am already so self conscious of my lip since I have hyper pigmentation (looks like I have a dirty mustache). So add a zit to it and it makes it that much worse! Thanks again, hopefully it will work! Shelley

  11. Angel says

    Never heard of Prid’s; and my family’s pretty “old school” when it comes to remedies. They swear by Vick’s…and the occasional Coke bottle bottom. Seriously.

    Don’t know why, but vapo-rub will help draw out a head. And my PaPa suffered from horrendous boils; usually on the back of his neck. Years of “tractor tan” tends to become more like “tanned hide”, so skip the wimpy washrags (lol); my Granny used to heat up the thick bottoms of those old green Coke bottles! (Boys and girls…DO NOT try this at home!)

    My doctor said zits are really just mini staph infections—and I have an auto-immune disease, so they spread like necrotizing fasciitis. Right now I have so many splotches on my face, and fluid blistered under my skin, I feel like one of those squishy water mats for babies.

    WHERE CAN I FIND PRID’S???

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