A blind pimple refers to acne that has developed beneath the skin’s surface. Although the pimple isn’t noticeable from a distance, you can feel the lump. It’s most often caused by a cyst or nodule.
This type of acne develops from a combination of sebum (oil), bacteria, and dirt that becomes trapped in your pore. The end result is a painful lump under your skin that doesn’t have a “head” like other pimples might have.
You might notice a large white area under your skin that’s painful to the touch. The area might also be red from inflammation (swelling) of the surrounding skin.
Blind pimples can be hard to get rid of, but they’re treatable with patience and care. Here’s how.
Squeezing or popping
As tempting as this may be, you should never try to squeeze or pop a blind pimple. You’ve likely heard this rule of thumb regarding acne in general, but it’s especially crucial to follow with blind pimples.
Because these pimples aren’t at the skin’s surface, they’re more difficult — and sometimes even impossible — to pop. The act of trying to squeeze out the pimple ultimately worsens inflammation, which can make the area more tender to the touch. It may even become more noticeable from increased redness and marks on the skin.
Attempting to pop blind pimples can also cause scarring.
The best course of action is to take measures to try to bring it to a “head” so that it can exit the skin via other treatment methods.
Warm compresses can help blind pimples in a couple of ways. First, they can help ease pain from the acne. The heat also helps open your pores, which can bring the pimple to a head. This can allow the bacteria to exit the skin on its own.
Although you can buy warm compresses to heat up in the microwave, you can easily make your own by wetting a towel with warm water. Apply the towel to the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. You may repeat the process daily as needed.
An acne sticker is like a bandage that you place directly over the blind pimple. In theory, the sticker helps remove bacteria, sebum, and dirt. Ingredients can vary, but most acne stickers contain an acne-fighting agent such as salicylic acid.
Acne stickers are usually available at your local drugstore and may be used daily until the blind pimple is gone. You can wear them all day, but be sure to change the sticker at least once every 24 hours.
Topical antibiotics can help get rid of any bacteria that’s contributing to the blind pimple. They also reduce inflammation. If you get recurring blind pimples, such products may be used around the affected area as a preventive measure.
The most common topical antibiotics for acne include clindamycin and erythromycin. These come in a gel formula that you apply twice a day. If you generally have sensitive skin, you may need to apply once a day and see how your skin reacts before moving up to twice a day.
However, topical antibiotics aren’t effective by themselves. You’ll need to use them in conjunction with another type of acne product such as benzoyl peroxide. The antibiotic gets rid of the bacteria and inflammation, while the benzoyl peroxide dries out the blind pimple.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil can serve as a gentle alternative to harsh antibiotics and over-the-counter (OTC) chemicals. You can find the oil at a natural health store, but there are also products with tea tree oil available at the drugstore.
For optimum effectiveness, you’ll need to use a product that has at least 5 percent tea tree oil. Apply twice a day until the blind pimple heals completely.
Pure tea tree oil can’t be used until you dilute it first. To do this, mix one part tea tree oil with one part carrier oil. Popular carrier oils include coconut, jojoba, and olive oils.
After dilution, apply to the affected area and leave on overnight. Rinse the area in the morning during your usual face-washing routine.
Tea tree oil is safe enough for daily use. It’s only harmful when ingested.
Raw honey is another natural alternative to OTC products. Honey has natural antimicrobial properties that help get rid of bacteria.
To use this method, make sure that your product contains raw honey — you’ll want to avoid the typical honey you can get from the grocery store. Apply a small amount to the affected area and leave on overnight. Raw honey can also be mixed with water as a cleanser.
See your dermatologist
Blind pimples are one of the most challenging forms of acne to treat. It takes time and perseverance to get rid of the pimple while also avoiding damage to your skin.
If a blind pimple doesn’t respond to at-home treatments, consider seeing your dermatologist. They may also offer solutions if you need a quick fix, such as cortisone shots to quickly reduce swelling and promote healing.
You should also see your dermatologist if you get recurring blind pimples on a regular basis. Oral medications and other treatments may be needed.