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. 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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.