A blood-filled pimple usually develops because a person has picked, squeezed, or popped a regular pimple.
Up to 80 percent of 11- to 30-year-olds will experience pimples or acne at some stage.
In this article, learn more about the different types of pimples and the treatment options available.
Blood-filled pimples occur after someone has squeezed or popped a pimple
Squeezing a pimple forces out a yellow liquid called pus. The trauma caused by the squeezing can also cause blood vessels underneath to burst, causing the pimple to fill with blood.
Regular pimples occur when the skin’s pores become clogged with bacteria, sweat, or dirt. More severe acne can be due to hormonal changes in adolescents and adult women.
Most of the time, blood-filled pimples will heal on their own if they are left alone. If someone squeezes the pimple before it heals, they may spread bacteria to other parts of the face and body.
It is essential to keep the area around the pimple clean and wash twice daily, using a gentle cleanser or soap and water.
Blood-filled pimples that recur or persist may need to be treated with:
There are many over-the-counter treatments for different types of pimples and acne, including blood-filled pimples:
- Topical retinoids. These vitamin A-based medications reduce oil production in the skin and help prevent clogged pores. Stronger versions are available by prescription.
- Salicylic acid. This ointment removes dead skin cells. It typically works best on acne without inflammation, such as blackheads and whiteheads.
- Antibiotics. Usually taken daily as a pill, antibiotics kill the bacteria that are causing outbreaks. People can apply topical antibiotic ointments and liquids directly to the skin.
- Birth control pills. In women and teenagers, fluctuating hormone levels can contribute to acne development. Some women and girls may be prescribed birth control pills to regulate hormones and clear up their skin.
- Isotretinoin. This is a prescription oral retinoid that people typically take for approximately 4 to 5 months. It effectively treats acne in many people, sometimes permanently. However, it can cause serious side effects and is usually only given to people with severe cystic acne.
Less commonly, a doctor may recommend medical procedures to people with severe blood-filled pimples and other types of pimples and acne. Such procedures include:
- Drainage and extraction. This involves draining fluids and other debris from a cyst to reduce the risk of infection and ease pain and inflammation. A doctor may inject medications into the cyst to speed up the healing process.
- Laser therapy. Focusing laser light on the skin may reduce or eliminate acne-causing bacteria from the skin.
- Microdermabrasion. This treatment involves removing the top layer of skin to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads.
Medication or medical treatments are often not necessary for mild cases of blood-filled pimples. Many home remedies can alleviate symptoms, and some speed up healing.
Many people use the following home remedies to treat blood-filled pimples:
Use facial products sparingly
Many skin products can irritate sensitive and acne-prone skin and should be avoided. These include oil-based makeups and fragranced products.
Always look for cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens that are fragrance-free, suitable for sensitive skin, and “noncomedogenic,” which means they do not clog pores.
Basic hygiene techniques
Wash the skin twice daily with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser or soap. Between washings, ensure the skin is clean and dry and keep hair back from the face.
People should also avoid touching the face, keep mobile phones and other items that come into contact with the face clean, and change bedding and towels often.
Put some ice in a clean towel and apply it to the blood-filled pimples for up to 15 minutes.
This treatment aims to reduce pain and swelling. A person can repeat this several times daily.
Topical zinc treatments, such as zinc oxide, are popular home remedies for acne and blood-filled pimples.
Zinc may be especially beneficial when used in combination with other treatments.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil might help treat mild to moderate acne and blood-filled pimples.
One study found that 5 percent tea tree oil was as effective at treating acne as 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion, which is an acne medication. Although the tea tree oil worked slower than the benzoyl peroxide, it caused fewer adverse reactions.
There are many different types of pimples, which can be categorized as either non-inflammatory acne or inflammatory acne.
Picking or squeezing any of these pimples can lead to blood-filled pimples.
Non-inflammatory acne usually responds well to home remedies and over-the-counter treatments. These include:
- Blackheads. Also known as open comedones, blackheads result from pores clogged with sebum (the skin’s natural oil) and dead skin cells.
- Whiteheads. When the top of a clogged pore closes, the resulting blemishes are known as whiteheads or closed comedones. They are more difficult to treat than blackheads.
Red and inflamed pimples indicate inflammatory acne. These pimples may be classed as:
- Papules. Papules are caused by the breakdown of the pore walls due to inflammation. Symptoms include tenderness and pink skin.
- Pustules. These are similar to papules, but they are filled with pus and tend to have yellow or white heads.
- Nodules. When clogged and irritated pores get larger and occur deep in the skin, they form nodules. These pimples cannot usually be treated with home remedies.
- Cysts. Cysts are clogged pores that occur deeper in the skin than nodules. They appear as red or white lumps and can be quite painful. Cysts are the most severe type of acne and often lead to scarring. Usually, medical intervention is necessary to treat cysts.
The following tips can help prevent blood-filled pimples and other forms of acne:
- Never pick or squeeze pimples. This can cause or spread infection and contribute to blood-filled pimples.
- Avoid touching the face throughout the day.
- Keep the face clean and dry.
- Wash the face twice daily to remove dead skin cells, bacteria, and other impurities. Use warm water and mild soap or cleanser.
- Never use harsh scrubs or fabrics on the face, as this can irritate sensitive and inflamed skin.
- Wash bedding, towels, and other items that touch the face regularly.
- Choose gentle face products and makeup. Look for ones that are fragrance-free and noncomedogenic. Throw out expired makeup.
- Keep long hair away from the face. Hair that is greasy or contains oils, fragrances, and other products can irritate the skin and clog pores.
- Eat a healthful diet rich in fruits, vegetables, pulses, and whole grains. Limit consumption of sugar, fatty foods, processed foods, and alcohol. Dairy and other food intolerances may contribute to acne in some people.
- Reduce stress and anxiety by engaging in meditation, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Acne is a very common skin condition. Blood-filled pimples result from picking at acne and other types of pimples. Repeatedly squeezing pimples can lead to scarring and should be avoided.
See a doctor if acne is severe, persistent, or is accompanied by signs of infection, such as:
- redness around a pimple
Luckily, there are many treatments available for blood-filled pimples, ranging from home remedies to prescription medications and medical procedures.