Ever had a huge, deep, painful pimple under the skin’s surface that feels more like a tumor than a zit?
The one that makes part of your face look swollen, hurts like hell and is almost impossible to conceal.
A pimple turned into a hard lump under the skin?
Worse still, the one that takes forever to heal since the pore is clogged so deep below the skin surface that medication doesn’t work on it?
I got one of these stubborn monsters just above my lipline a couple of months back and couldn’t drain it because the pea-sized bump refused to develop a head.
A huge problem, especially since I had a major event to attend and did not enjoy going with a blind pimple that led to swollen, lopsided lips.
It was time to dig deep and wide, seeking remedies from board-certified dermatologists to the American Academy of Dermatology and ancient wisdom. Here’s everything I learned about bringing a pimple to a head and making it subside quickly, sans side effects like scarring or hyperpigmentation.
Bookmark if you have acne-prone skin!
Prid’s Drawing Salve for pimples under the skin’s surface
It’s black, greasy, and seriously stinky. Still, nothing destroys a pimple that’s lodged under the skin like this old homeopathic remedy.
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.
You dab it onto the bump at night and cover it with a Band-aid (hello, acne patch!). This “draws the poison” from the hair follicle, 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%, plus the blind pimple had formed a white head.
Seriously, all this in one night — after suffering for two months with a pimple that turned into a hard lump under the skin!
And it’s a steal at $5.23!
A warm compress will bring the pimple to a head
Another way how to bring a pimple to a head in minutes? According to Medical News Today, a warm compress will bring a pimple to a head faster than leaving it alone.
Dip a washcloth in water as hot as your skin can stand. Fold it up and apply the warm compress 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 needed, preferably several times a day.
The heat will draw acne-causing bacteria to the surface and soften the pore, relieving the blind pimple quickly.
That way, the next step to treat pimples — an over-the-counter spot treatment with 2% salicylic acid plus a pain reliever like menthol — can penetrate deep down and zap the infection of acne-causing bacteria faster than would happen naturally, allowing underlying tissues to heal sans a scar.
Hot-and-cold compresses to treat pimples
Alternate hot compresses (as hot as you can stand without hurting yourself) and icy cold compresses on your pimple every 5-10 minutes until it develops a white head or begins to harden.
The hot and cold compresses will expand and contract the spot, helping draw out the fluids and rapidly bring the pimple to a head without side effects.
Hot poultice for pimple turned into hard lump under skin
A friend of mine swears by this recipe handed down from her grandmother for that under-the-skin zit: Crush half a tablespoon each of onion, garlic, and ginger. Mix them and apply this poultice on the blind pimple, then cover it with a Band-Aid (that’s how the acne patch was born!).
This should bring even the deepest pimple to a head in a few hours.
(PS: I suggest doing a patch test before putting garlic on your face, especially for sensitive or acne-prone skin.)
Tea bag compress for clogged pores
A warm tea bag placed directly over the pimple doesn’t just help bring it to the surface. The tannins within — particularly in black tea — also help reduce inflammation, thereby deflating the zit and minimizing the chances of scarring.
Shoe polish (Not. Kidding.) for mammoth zits
Joey Green, the author of Amazing Kitchen Cures, recommends a Kiwi White Liquid Shoe Polish dab to bring the pimple to a head.
He also recommends dabbing on some Preparation H to shrink a spot under the skin’s surface.
Cortisone: The Hollywood method for a blind pimple
It stings a little but is a surefire way to shrink even the most massive under-the-skin zit within 24 hours, sans major side effects like scarring and hyperpigmentation.
But what causes blind pimples in the first place?
Those painful bumps under your skin, also known as blind pimples, are a form of cystic acne. This is the most severe form of acne and goes deep beneath the skin.
They’re caused by hair follicles getting blocked due to a mix of dead skin cells and an overproduction of sebum, your skin’s natural oil. Excessive sebum production is triggered by hormone levels going berserk, stirred by events like puberty, hormonal fluctuations, your monthly cycle, or even stress.
PS: These blocked hair follicles are clogged pores in everyday English.
And there’s more — these blocked hair follicles create a perfect breeding ground for a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which can heighten inflammation and worsen acne. The result? A pimple turned into hard lump under the skin.
Don’t fret, though! Proper skin care can help manage cystic acne. However, if these unwelcome guests persist or worsen, it’s time to enlist the help of a dermatologist. Consider them the skin’s bouncer, ready to help restore order and keep your skin healthy!
Here are a few frequently asked questions about getting rid of a pimple sitting under the skin (also known as a blind pimple).
What is a blind pimple?
A blind pimple is a cystic pimple that develops beneath the skin’s surface and typically does not have a ‘head’ like other pimples. It’s deeper and more painful than standard pimples, usually showing up as a hard lump under the skin.
What causes a blind pimple?
Blind pimples occur when hair follicles become clogged by excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This leads to inflammation and swelling beneath the skin surface, resulting in a cystic zit full of pus.
How to bring a pimple to a head in minutes?
Pimples can take a long to clear up, especially under the skin. Here are a few steps that will help speed up the process:
- Warm compress: Apply a warm compress to the area for 10-15 minutes. The warmth can help to bring the pimple to the surface.
- Steam: Steam can also help to open the pores (hair follicles) and bring the pimple to the surface. You can do this by taking a hot shower or holding your face over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head to trap the steam.
- Topical treatments: Over-the-counter topical treatments containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur can help to draw out the infection when applied directly to the pimple.
- Hydrocolloid patches: These small patches can be stuck right on the pimple to help absorb the pus and oil, bringing the spot to a head more quickly.
How can I prevent a pimple under the skin?
To prevent blind pimples (pimple under the skin) from forming, it’s essential to maintain a consistent skincare routine. This includes cleansing your face thoroughly to remove excess oil and dead skin cells, using non-comedogenic products, keeping sebum production in check, and exfoliating regularly to prevent clogging of pores and hair follicles.
How can I treat a blind pimple at home?
Warm compresses can help to reduce inflammation and bring the spot closer to the surface, thereby reducing the hard lump under the skin. Over-the-counter treatments containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can also help to reduce the spot.
Can I use makeup on a blind pimple?
Yes, but it’s better to use non-comedogenic makeup products that won’t clog your pores. Also, thoroughly remove your makeup before bed to prevent further skin irritation or congestion.
When should I see a dermatologist for a pimple under the skin?
If a blind pimple is painful, lasts more than a couple of weeks, or over-the-counter treatments aren’t helping, you should consider seeing a dermatologist. They can provide more targeted and effective therapies, including oral medication, to destroy the infection-causing bacteria.
How can I remove dead skin cells to prevent a pimple under the skin?
Regular exfoliation can help remove dead skin cells and prevent them from clogging your pores. You can use a gentle facial scrub, a brush, or a chemical exfoliant such as an alpha or beta hydroxy acid. However, don’t over-exfoliate; it can irritate your skin and lead to more breakouts.