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Are Acne Painful?

a woman with acne problems is staring at her face in the mirror | Are Acne Painful?

Painful Acne

Blind pimples, or cystic acne, are deep bumps that form under the skin surface.

They can be large or small, red and painful, and almost invisible. While blind pimples are sometimes difficult to see, there are steps you can take to get rid of them.

Types of pimples

Blind pimples differ from other kinds of pimples. 

blackheads - an oil clogged in a hair follicle with an open head at the skin surface

Whitehead - a closed skin pore which is clogged with bacteria, oil and dead skin cells

papules - a raised, solid bumps caused by friction or  irritation, like shaving

pustules - inflamed whiteheads covered by a red ring

blind acne (cystic acne) - irritated painful bumps deep under the skin without an open head

What is a blind pimple?

Blind pimples are acne that forms under the skin’s surface.

While this pimple isn’t always visible, you can usually feel the lump which may be a painful pimple, or red and slightly inflamed.

Blind pimples are most often caused due to a cyst or nodule underneath the skin. They differ from whiteheads and blackheads, which usually form closer to the skin’s surface.

Blind pimples can be stubborn and they don’t have heads that you can pop. 

What causes blind pimples?

Blind pimples can develop when oil, dirt and bacteria get trapped deep within a hair follicle. The result is a painful lump under the skin with no “head” as other pimples might have.

People with oily skin are more prone to blind pimples than people with dry skin.

Hormonal imbalance can also sometimes cause an excess of sebum in the skin which usually occurs at specific times of your life, such as puberty or pregnancy.

Taking a few medications may cause blind pimples like oral corticosteroids and some contraceptives.

Blind pimples can be very hard to remove, but they’re treatable with the most care and patience.

How do you treat blind pimples?

Blind pimples can be very tough to remove, but there are several therapies you can try at home. Always make sure your hands are clean before you use any home treatment.

Home therapies

Don’t squeeze or pop. Blind pimples are very deep below the skin to pop. Trying to pop will only irritate them further, and may lead to infection or scarring. Instead of popping them, try to bring the pimple to the skin surface so it can be removed from the skin via other treatment methods.

Use a product containing benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria under the skin. It’s a very common ingredient in various over-the-counter acne treatments and cleansers.

Apply a warm compress. Warm compresses can help ease pain and they are also beneficial once a whitehead begins to form. Apply the warm compress for 10 to 15 minutes 3-4 times a day. This lets the pimple release pus and heal.

Wear an acne patch. An acne patch is a small medicated bandage you can directly apply to the blind pimple. They contain acne-fighting agents, like salicylic acid. Make sure you exactly follow the directions of use.

Apply tea tree oil. Tea tree oil consists of antimicrobial compounds and maybe a gentle option for antibiotics and OTC treatments. For optimum effectiveness, use a product containing 5 per cent or more tea tree oil. Apply it two times a day until the blind pimple heals completely. Always dilute tea tree oil first with a carrier oil, like olive oil. Tea tree oil is safe to be used daily.

Apply raw honey. Raw honey is also a natural alternative to OTC products. Honey consists of natural antimicrobial properties that help to get rid of bacteria. Apply a small amount of it to the affected area and leave it overnight. Raw honey can be mixed with water as well to use as a cleanser.

Clinical treatments

If you are unable to get rid of blind pimples easily at home, and are especially painful, or seem infected, seek out help from a dermatologist. In certain cases, prescribed medications including antibiotics can help you get rid of blind pimples.

Some clinical treatments include:

Topical antibiotics

These can help to get rid of any bacteria that’s causing the blind pimple and reduce inflammation. If there are recurring blind pimples, antibiotics may be used around the affected area as a preventive step.

The most common topical antibiotics for acne are clindamycin and erythromycin which come in a gel formula that you need to apply twice a day.

If you have sensitive skin, you may need to apply these antibiotics once a day and wait for any reaction to occur in your skin before moving up to twice a day.

But, topical antibiotics aren’t very effective by themselves so you need to use them together with another type of acne product, such as benzoyl peroxide. The topical antibiotic helps you get rid of the bacteria and inflammation, while the benzoyl peroxide dries the blind pimple.

Oral antibiotics

Moderate to severe acne of any type is often treated with the help of oral antibiotics.

If you have so many blind pimples or blind pimples that are infected, your doctor may suggest oral antibiotics in addition to or instead of topical antibiotics.

Cortisone shots

Very large, painful, or swollen blind pimples might be treated with a cortisone injection. Your doctor will inject a dilute cortisone solution directly into the blind pimple.

Take Away

Blind pimples, also known as cystic acne are formed deep within the skin and can be very painful to the touch.

While blind pimples are sometimes a very challenging kind of acne to treat, they can usually be treated at home to get clear skin. But for chronic cases, a dermatologist can help you with a personal treatment strategy to get rid of the blind pimples.