Blind pimples do not initially have a head like some other types of pimples.
Contents of this article:
What is a blind pimple?
A blind pimple will look like a bump on the skin and may be painful.
A comedo is a typical acne lesion. Someone who has mild acne has whiteheads or blackheads that are called comedones. A closed comedo that stays under the skin is a whitehead, and an open comedo that reaches the surface of the skin is a blackhead.
A closed comedo that develops deep within the skin is called a blind pimple. A blind pimple may be painful if it is particularly deep in the skin's layers.
The comedo may emerge as a whitehead as it rises through the layers of the skin, or it might disappear.
A simple blind pimple can be dealt with at home and will often disappear on its own.
There is a range of home remedies that can speed up the healing process, including:
Never squeeze a blind pimple
Blind pimples are usually not positioned near the skin's surface, which means that they cannot be "popped" like whiteheads.
Trying to pop a blind pimple can result in permanent scars, a more-noticeable pimple, the pimple becoming more painful, or an infection.
Squeezing the blind pimple also risks pushing the contents of the pimple — a blend of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria — deeper into the skin. This can lead to increased inflammation.
Apply a warm compress
Applying a warm compress can help to treat a blind pimple. The heat can open up pores, which may draw the pimple closer to the skin's surface and create a head.
The formation of a head enables the sebum, cells, and bacteria to exit the skin.
The heat from the compress can also help to relieve pain.
To treat a blind pimple with a warm compress, a person should:
- Create a warm compress. Soak a clean washcloth in water that is hot, but not too hot to touch.
- Apply the warm compress. Hold the warm compress on the blind pimple for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the application three to four times a day until the blind pimple comes to a head and releases the pus.
- Keep the affected area clean. Make sure the area around the pimple is kept clean, and avoid touching it. Avoid using makeup until the pimple heals.
Try a pimple sticker
A pimple sticker or an acne dot is a tiny sticker that can be placed over a blind pimple. The sticker usually contains an agent that treats acne, such as salicylic acid.
Pimple stickers are thought to work by drawing out sebum, absorbing excess oil, reducing inflammation, and significantly reducing the size of blemishes.
Pimple stickers are available from drugstores. They are discreet, barely noticeable, and can be worn overnight or throughout the day.
The length of time that a person should wear a pimple sticker varies, but they usually need to be changed at least once every 24 hours.
Try tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a popular ingredient in products that treat pimples because it has antibacterial properties.
Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that may kill the bacteria that cause blind pimples. Two clinical trials have shown that a gel containing 5 percent tea tree oil is an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne.
Another study found that tea tree oil significantly improved mild to moderate facial acne when applied to the face twice a day for 12 weeks.
Some people find tea tree oil helpful for treating blind pimples. However, the American Academy of Dermatology says there is not enough evidence to recommend treating acne with tea tree oil.
Use topical acne treatments
Numerous topical treatments for acne are available in pharmacies, supermarkets, and online.
If a person does not see an improvement in their skin while using one product, it can be helpful to add another product to the treatment strategy. Try a product that tackles a different cause of acne.
For example, if a person is using a product that contains benzoyl peroxide, the second treatment should include another ingredient that fights acne.
There are a variety of ingredients for acne, which each target different causes of acne:
- Benzoyl peroxide reduces P. acnes bacteria.
- Salicylic acid unblocks pores by removing the layer of dead skin cells on the skin's surface. It can also relieve inflammation.
- Sulfur suppresses P. acnes bacteria and unclogs pores.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) work by exfoliating the skin.
- Retinoids unblock pores and reduce oil.
These ingredients are present in many anti-acne washes, creams, gels, facial scrubs, lotions, and pre-moistened cloths.
A prescription is not needed for treatments that contain most of these ingredients, although many are available in prescription strength as well.
Relieve pain with ice
An ice pack can be useful for reducing redness, inflammation, and swelling after a pimple has emptied.
To use ice to reduce swelling and redness, a person should:
- Use a mild facial wash and warm water, and pat the area dry with a clean towel.
- Put ice cubes into a plastic bag or clean towel.
- Hold the ice pack against the affected area for 5 minutes, remove for 5 minutes, and replace for 5 more minutes.
- Repeat the ice application three to four times a day.
Washing pillowcases regularly will prevent bacteria from building up and transferring onto the skin during sleep.
Blind pimples may seem to appear out of the blue, but steps can be taken to prevent them. To reduce the chance of getting a pimple, a person can:
- Only wash the face twice a day or when sweaty. Skin that is prone to developing blind pimples can become irritated if cleaned more often.
- Avoid scrubbing facial skin. Pimple-prone skin may feel greasy or dirty, but it must not be scrubbed clean. Scrubbing can further aggravate the skin and worsen acne.
- Use skin care products that do not cause acne. Look for products that are labeled as non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, or oil-free.
- Regularly wash pillowcases and other items that touch the face. Dead skin cells and bacteria can build up on fabrics, which can block pores.
- Ask a dermatologist for advice. If blind pimples continue to occur regularly or become severe, a dermatologist can help.
What causes a blind pimple?
Blind pimples occur in areas of the skin with more oil glands, such as the face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest.
The oil glands in the skin are called sebaceous glands. The small holes in the skin, known as pores, are connected to sebaceous glands by a canal called a follicle.
Sebaceous glands secrete oil called sebum through the opening of a follicle to protect the skin and keep it moisturized.
If a pore becomes blocked with dead skin cells, then sebum is unable to reach the skin's surface. With nowhere to go, the sebum builds up in the sebaceous gland and develops into a pimple.
In severe cases, the mixture of dead skin cells and sebum allows bacteria that normally grow on the skin to accumulate in the blocked follicle. This bacteria is called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).
When this happens, the bacteria produce enzymes and chemicals, attracting white blood cells. This results in redness, swelling, heat, and pain — collectively known as inflammation.
It can be frustrating waiting for a blind pimple to clear on its own.
Warm compresses and acne stickers can help to bring a pimple to a head so that the sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria can exit to the skin's surface. Using ice can relieve inflammation.
If blind pimples occur frequently or are particularly inflamed and painful, a person should seek advice from a dermatologist.