- Blind pimples are painful cysts that are difficult to detect as they develop under the surface of the skin.
- These pimples form as a result of pores becoming deeply clogged with sebum, dead skin cells and other debris.
- Over-the-counter remedies and an effective skin care routine can help prevent their formation.
- Avoid popping these pimples as this can worsen inflammation and lead to scarring.
Blind pimples are a type of cystic acne that forms under the skin. While other forms of acne develop when dirt, oil and dead skin clog pores at the surface of skin, these pimples develop deep under the surface level of skin.
Although more difficult to address than most common forms of acne, there is a wide variety of options to address these pimples at home including over-the-counter (OTC) topicals such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, as well as natural treatments including tea tree oil.
What Are Blind Pimples?
Blind pimples are cysts that form beneath the surface of the skin. These cysts consist of a closed sac formed out of skin that contains sebum and bacteria.
While other common manifestations of acne—such as whiteheads and blackheads—form a visible head at the skin’s surface, blind pimples are fully sealed beneath the skin. This makes them difficult to detect visually, however they can cause pain and can feel hard to the touch.
In some cases, the skin above a blind pimple may also be inflamed, leading to redness and swelling that should not be confused for the cyst’s head.
Is it a pimple or a cyst?
Blind pimples are referred to as cysts, since they are sacs that are enclosed and contain sebum and bacteria.
Pimples are an umbrella term for multiple forms of acne. These are typically raised areas of skin known medically as comedones, pustules or papules, however other skin concerns, such as cysts, are sometimes considered to fall into the pimple category.
While blind pimples do not fit the typical description of a pimple as they are not raised, they are an exception to the rule and are usually considered to be both cysts and pimples.
What Causes Blind Pimples?
This form of acne begins as a deep clog of dead skin or other debris within a pore. This initial clog prevents sebum—an oily substance that moisturizes the skin and lubricates hair—from reaching the skin’s surface.
The buildup of sebum dries and hardens, fully clogging a pore. This attracts Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes), the bacteria on the skin that is responsible for acne.
The body’s response to this to the clog and bacteria is to grow skin over the clog, sealing in the C.acnes and forming a closed comedone, also known as a whitehead. If the clog occurs deep within a pore, the body also reacts by creating a closed sack to enclose the cyst beneath the surface of the skin. This cyst is then known as a blind pimple.
This form of acne can appear on the face, neck, upper back, shoulders and chest, however it is most common along the jawline.
Blind pimples are more likely to form when skin is very oily or when higher levels of sebum occur, as clogs are more likely to develop under these conditions.
While some people have naturally oily skin, sebum production can increase as a result of hormone fluctuations, particularly during puberty, pregnancy and perimenopause.
At these times, the body produces more androgens, which make the sebaceous glands larger and more productive, leading to excess sebum. These glands are also more productive during menstruation due to elevated levels of estrogen and a drop in progesterone.
Several common medications can increase the risk of developing these pimples, including corticosteroids, contraceptive agents and antidepressants. These drugs can impact the skin’s ability to properly shed, and can promote sebum production. This increases the likelihood of clogged pores, which can develop into blind pimples.
Will Blind Pimples Go Away on Their Own?
In most cases, blind pimples resolve on their own, but it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for this to occur.
Should you pop a blind pimple?
Blind pimples cannot be popped, as they are beneath the skin’s surface, and should not be squeezed. Popping a whitehead is at times a valid treatment method to extract sebum and clear a clog, but without access to the skin’s surface the enclosed sebum in a blind pimple can only be pushed deeper into the skin causing additional inflammation.
Attempting to pop a blind pimple can also cause increased inflammation, redness, and in some cases, lead to permanent scarring.
5 Ways to Get Rid of Blind Pimples
There are several methods to get rid of these pimples using OTC topicals treatments, natural home remedies and prescription medications. Some methods work by penetrating the skin and treating the cyst directly; others aim to draw out sebum, dissolve pore blockages or help propel the blind pimple to the skin’s surface to be more easily treated.
One of the best ways to treat a blind pimple is to apply a warm compress. The warmth can help soften the blockage and open up the blocked pore to encourage the cyst to rise to the surface and create a head. It cam can also help ease the accompanying discomfort and pain.
Soak a clean cloth in warm water and gently hold it against the treatment area for 10–15 minutes. Repeat this treatment three or four times a day until the pimple heals or until a visible head forms. If a head forms, OTC topicals can be used to greater effect than when these same topicals are applied on a deep enclosed cyst.
Topical OTC acne treatments
There are several topical OTC acne treatments that are designed to treat many forms of acne, and will clear up mild outbreaks. These include typical anti-acne creams, masks and other topicals that contain:
- Benzoyl peroxide which kills bacteria
- Salicylic acid an anti-inflammatory oil-soluble alpha hydroxy acid which is effective in unclogging pores
- Sulfur which reduces the amount of oil on the skin
Topical gel antibiotics are available in both OTC and prescription strengths to fight the bacteria that causes these pimples. They are applied to the affected area once or twice a day.
Generally, topical antibiotics are used in conjunction with OTC acne treatments which dry the pimple, or warm compresses to help bring blind pimples to the skin’s surface.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a known antibacterial product, and many find it useful for treating acne on the surface of the skin.
This oil is typically applied to treat acne on or near the skin’s surface. While it may help to improve blind pimples, this treatment is more effective once these pimples have been drawn to the skin’s surface using methods like a warm compress.
Tea tree oil is a pure essential oil and as such, must be diluted first before use. Combine 2 drops of tea tree oil with 12 drops carrier oil (such as olive, coconut or almond oil) before applying it to the skin. You may also purchase a product that contains diluted tea tree oil, typically with about 5% tea tree oil.
Acne dots, also called pimple stickers, are designed as a spot treatment to draw out the sebum from blind pimples. They are available from drugstores, and can be applied to the affected area for 24 hours at a time. Pimple stickers usually contain salicylic acid, which you’ll also find in many OTC acne treatments.
How to get rid of blind pimples overnight
It’s impossible to get rid of blind pimples overnight as the inflammation is deep beneath the skin and proper treatment requires several days to yield results.
Tips to Prevent Blind Pimples from Occurring
When preventing blind pimples from forming it is important to follow a regular skin care routine to help keep your skin clear of dirt, dead skin and other debris that can cause pores to clog. This routine should include a daily cleanser and frequent exfoliation.
Some additional blind pimple prevention tips include:
- Choose makeup and skin care products that are oil-free and noncomedogenic to reduce the likelihood of these pimples forming
- Keep your hands off your face to reduce the spread of dirt and bacteria
- Shampoo oily hair regularly to stop the transfer of oil to the face
Blind pimples are acne cysts that form under the skin. A buildup of sebum and dead skin cells deep within a pore causes a clog that draws in harmful acne bacteria. The body responds to this by enclosing the clog in a pouch of skin, called a cyst, resulting in a blind pimple.
While barely noticeable, these pimples can cause discomfort or pain and can feel hard to the touch. In some cases, they can also lead to inflammation on the surface of the skin.
Although they typically go away on their own, blind pimples can also be treated with a number of OTC topicals, prescription creams and natural home remedies. Topical options include benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics and tea tree oil that work to eliminate acne-causing bacteria. These treatments are particularly effective when combined with warm compresses that can help blind pimples move toward the skin’s surface.
To maintain clear skin, gently cleanse and exfoliate to reduce the risk of blind pimples forming. Avoid touching your face to eliminate the spread of bacteria and choose oil-free noncomedogenic makeup and skin care products to maintain clean and healthy skin.
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